To certain animal groups, October could be considered their own personal Ides of March.
Turkeys, for obvious reasons, must feel an instinctive shudder once there's a little pre-Thanksgiving nip in the air.
And before a Halloween-time ban on adopting black cats, many a dark-coated feline was rumoured to find itself the target of nefarious activities — everything from cruel pranks and live party accessories to "ritual sacrifice or torture." The lucky ones would simply get abandoned come Nov. 1.
But in the last few years, animal welfare agencies have backtracked on these previous beliefs, suggesting that their endangerment fears may have been overstated. In fact, most black cat adoption bans have been reversed.
And in an even more pronounced bit of script flipping, the Canadian Press reports that both the Ontario and Nova Scotia Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) have gone as far as to promote the adoption of Halloween-coloured cats during the unofficial month of ghosts and goblins.
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Until the trick or treating is done, prospective pet parents can take home a black, calico or orange-furred feline for $5 off the original price.
"We always have a lot of cats in our care and really we're just going along with the theme of the holidays… It's just a fun way that allows us to promote these cats that are constantly looking for homes," Ontario SPCA communications manager Allison Cross tells the news agency, adding that their investigations department saw no increase in cat cruelty cases.
While they aren't following a similar marketing trajectory, certain Human Society branches across the country agree that lifting the ban was a wise move.
Instead, the agencies have put faith in their adoption screening processes.
"All this urban myth was doing was preventing us from getting black cats into homes and it wasn't actually doing anything to deter people who are trying to get cats for bad purposes," Windsor/Essex County Humane Society executive director, Melanie Coulter, told the CP.
"There's enough cats out there that are easy for someone to obtain. If you want a cat for a Halloween sacrifice, you can get one on Kijiji for free," she added.
Others aren't quite ready to throw caution to the wind.
"It still does happen where people are coming in and literally looking for an animal and it turns out what they're looking for is black cats to act as a Halloween party prop," Barbara Steinhoff, communications director for the Toronto Humane Society, told the news agency. "It's becoming few and further between, but it can happen."
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What actually does happen, however, is that black cats tend to be the least adopted among their fellow felines.
Myths that they're "unlucky" only serve to bring bad luck to the cats themselves, perhaps making an awareness campaign, however gimmicky, a good way to move them into happy homes.