If you are an owner of a black cat, you may have noticed a white patch of fur located around their chest area. It may be in a place that could be openly spotted or a bit hidden, nonetheless, the distinguishable white spot is there, but why do they have it? Is it a mutation? Is it a trait for a specific breed? Or is it a result of unnatural selection?
The quick answer to why so many black cats have a white spot
The reason many black cats have a white spot on their chest is, that most black domestic cats have the white spotting gene. It is rare to find cats without the white spot, because the pure black cats used to be tracked down and put to death.
Black cats and their origin
The Ancient Finikia people brought the black cats’ ancestors out of Egypt and wandered with them throughout the Mediterranean coast. During this time, black cats were popular and known for their colors. Their dark fur made it easier for them to hunt at night, catching mice and rats, which protected their owners’ food stock. This trait of theirs was the reason behind their popularity and had a sudden spread of black cats stretched out the entire European region, that is, till the Middle ages.
Religion, myth and superstition
During Medieval times, women who owned black cats were believed to be witches and underwent a whole lot of persecution. These alleged witches were burned at the stake and often their cats were tossed into the flames with them. The Christian Church dedicated a yearly ceremony of burning black cats on the holiday of St. Johan. The dark felines were then branded as “The devil descendants” thrown to the fire alive, and punished.
Although, there was one saving grace and that was the white patch on their chest. It was believed that if a black cat had a white patch of fur on it’s chest that they were saved from being possessed and the presence of white fur, no matter how small, was a representation of holiness. The people in history believed that if the patch was present the cat was kissed by angels or was touched by God. Since then this white patch often found in black cats was named “An angel’s kiss” or “God’s thumbprint.”
It was a form of unnatural selection, a result of the prosecution of a large number of jet black cats. Their numbers grew thin while the population of their white marked relatives increased over time.
Following the executions, a new danger towards completely black felines arose. There was word that black cats were the secret cure to a number of different illnesses. Superstitions were spread that a black cat’s tail dug into the ground in front of a household can protect your family from a range of illnesses and bring upon you good health.
An English naturalist once wrote the treatment of blindness and other eye illnesses as “The head of a pure jet black cat burned and grinded into powder.” in the ingredient list.
These myths and superstitions lasted for many years before it was debunked, which is why most black cats with white fur are the only ones that were saved from execution and prosecution.
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Common questions about black cats
Can Bombay cats have white patches?
Occasionally a Bombay kitten can be born as saber colored or with a few white spots in their chest, tails, or ears. A domesticated Bombay shorthair is a crossbreed between an American Shorthair and a Burmese with the intent of imitating the likeness of a small black panther.
What type of cat is white with black spots?
If the white spots or chunks are random, they are called bicolor cats or piebald cats. There are a ton of variations to a bicolor cat depending on the location of the color patches. Samples include the tuxedo cat, the American short hair, the snowshoe cat, and a whole lot more.
Why do black cats have random white hair?
Like humans, a black cat’s fur turns grey as they age. It is a natural phenomenon and is not something you as an owner should worry about. Some cats start turning gray earlier than others; it all depends on their genetics, much like us humans. Although you may notice a few random gray hairs on your feline friend, it is unlikely for them to turn completely gray.
Do all black cats have a white spot?
Not all black cats have a white spot, but since most black cats without a white spot were hunted down, and killed in history, most black cats have the white spot gene in them. You can still find all black cats, but they are rare.
Black cats have been part of society for a long time. They’ve been praised as gods, treated as family, and prosecuted as the devil’s descendants, all because of the black pigment on their fur. In the early years jet black cats were killed and burned alive due to the misconception of them being the devil’s advocates while black cats with white patches were believed to be “touched by god”. Religion, superstition, and myths played a role in this unnatural selection. The number of jet black cats diminished and the population of black cats with white patches rose. This is the reason why most black cats you see today have a white patch of fur on their chest.