It is often said that black dogs and cats are overlooked by potential adopters simply because of their fur color. It is true that there are more black animals in shelters than other colors, but is there really a stigma that prevents them from being adopted?

Often referred to as black dog syndrome, one explanation for this problem is the fact that black dogs and cats are not photogenic. Their features are not always distinguishable in photographs. Graphic images of black animals have been used to portray an animal that is “scary” such as at Halloween. Superstition about the bad luck of having a black cat contributes to the number of homeless black animals.

The truth is, black dogs and cats are just as cuddly, lovable and smart as any other color animal. Therefore, shelters and rescues across the country are constantly coming up with creative ways to help their black dogs and cats shine.

Local cat rescue SpayMart has designated February “adopt a black cat month” and is celebrating with an adoption event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Custom Furniture, 6601 Veterans Blvd., Metairie. The “Midnight Express” event is a way for SpayMart to showcase some of its black cats available for adoption and to show that, while their fur may be black, their personalities are bursting with color. Dubbed their “ebony charmers” SpayMart will take their black beauties to the public so they can interact with them and see just how special they are.

“All of us in animal rescue know this is true, that black cats and black dogs routinely get overlooked by potential adopters. There are negative stereotypes about black cats and dogs that simply aren’t true,” said Lynn Chiche, Spaymart’s president.

Every day, approximately 9,000 pets are killed in shelters because they do not have a home. The challenges a homeless pet faces are plenty enough and being discriminated against due to their fur color should not be one of them. When looking for a new member of the family, keep your eyes open for that special black dog or cat.

In addition to adoptable cats, there will be door prizes, raffles and reduced adoption fees. For information, visit http://www.spaymart.org">www.spaymart.org.

EVENTS

  • AMAZING ACRO-CATS: The Amazing Acro-Cats are back in New Orleans from Feb. 26 to March 1. A portion of the proceeds go to Jefferson SPCA. For more info, visit http://www.circuscats.com">www.circuscats.com.
  • ARNO AT PALMER PARK: An Animal Rescue New Orleans, ARNO, Adoption Event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Palmer Park Arts market, South Claiborne at South Carrollton. ARNO’s booth faces Dublin Street. For information, email adoptfromarno@yahoo.com.
  • AL BRIEDE GOLD CUP RACE: Adoptables and a LA/SPCA information booth will be on-site Saturday at the Al Briede Gold Cup Race on the Lake Pontchartrain lakefront in Metairie. The 48th annual race is a 10k, 3-mile, and 1-mile and an NOTC Grand Prix Series Race (CCC qualifier) benefiting the LA/SPCA. For information, visit runnotc.org/races/2015/goldcup.
  • ADOPTION AND BAKE SALE AT CLEARVIEW: A Neighborhood Pet Adoption and Bake Sale, sponsored by the LA/SPCA will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Blvd. LA/SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help families select the right pet. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit la-spca.org .
  • WOOFSTOCK: Join the Jefferson SPCA at Woofstock, a mega pet adoption event put on by St. Tammany Humane Society, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Castine Center in Mandeville. Over 200 adoptable dogs and cats, $40 adoption fee. Low-cost vaccination clinic; $12 microchips. For information, visit www.sthumane.org.
  • LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to lostandfound@la-spca.org; in Jefferson Parish send to molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois@jeffparish.net; and in St. Bernard Parish send to cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com. For information, visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call (504) 571-1900.