Black cats: A ‘familiar’ topic for Halloween (plus, cats for adoption in Long Beach)

Several Samhains past, I wrote, with the assistance of my author friend Denise Dumars, an article about black cats, titled “The Black Cat: Devil or Angel?” The article addressed history, superstition, myth and the lovely, sleek reality of these beautiful creatures who aren’t any more foreshadowers of bad things to come than organizing your closet is of making you a well-adjusted human being. I know this for a fact either way—it took just a week after separating the jackets from the jumpers for the wardrobe to its old random ways, and my black cats—I have two of them—haven’t brought me any worse luck than the tortoiseshell and the tabby patch have.

In many parts of the world, people treasure black cats for the good attributed to them: lots of boyfriends for any young woman living with one, healing sick children, curing sties by rubbing them with a black cat’s tail (ewwww, and don’t try it at home). For tradition’s sake, I’ll touch on a couple of other myths and disbeliefs about black cats. Reports offer evidence that fewer black cats find homes than do other cats. One study on black-cat bias described in Psychology Today yielded superstition and the inability to read expressions on the cats’ faces as reasons for not adopting. However, when volunteering for cat adoptions, I’ve only seen a couple of instances of admitted superstition, but considerably more people have admired the shiny, black, pointy-eared creatures preening themselves for attention and others have asked specifically to adopt a black cat. True, their faces disappear when they close their eyes, but anyone who’s shared a life with any cat knows that it’s those eyes that tell us what they’re thinking. My 19-pound Duncan’s eyes generally ask, “You gonna eat that?”

brown tabby-patch cat and black kitten curl up on black bedspread shot through with gold thread

If it’s late at night and I’m hitting the sack, I also wind up lying on Shax, who regularly disappears into the bedspread like a phantom. Mildred sits in as a comparison.

Another worry about black cats concerns their own welfare. For years, stories about black cats sacrificed in rituals have made the rounds, blowing up in ways that make such tales become apocryphal. Snopes has examined the legend fully, without hysteria or indifference. You can come up with the following: First, legitimate rescues and shelters aren’t just going to give up a cat without a long list of questions (one reason that you’re subject to them when adopting, and it’s a good one), asking for ID and vitals, and charging an adoption fee. Second: if they do it at all, they grab them off the street, so please, please keep your cats indoors.

Virtually Pets

You can’t have a Halloween adoption feature without black cats, though, so I’ll double down on tradition and pair them with pumpkin spice, which you can’t avoid anywhere between now and Christmas.

 From Helen Sanders CatPAWS. Adoption application available here.

dark orange cat with lovely swirls on back and a white chest lies calmly on a brown bedspread

This beautiful orange and white Creamsicle little girl is Mary Kate. Check out the dark swirly markings on her cute little rump! She loves to play and cuddle, especially with her sister, Ashley, who’s also orange! Adopt them both to have a “Full House” of fun!


Black kitten with fluffy tail sits on marble counter staring at camera with big, green eyes.

Onyx is a rare gem! This sweet boy came to CatPAWS after enduring some serious hardship, but has come out even stronger and more loving. Onyx gets along great with other kitties, is a bit of a night owl, always meows his opinions, and dreams of a forever home that has an enclosed catio! He likes to expressively wave and twitch his fluffy tail. If you’re looking to add a stunning precious kitty to your family, Onyx is the perfect fit.


woman in face mask and wiht long, blond hair and wearing a light-blue-gray jacked holds little almost-black kitten

CatPAWS’ Deborah Felin-Magaldi shows off Matata, a domestic shorthair kitten with coloring just shy of black. Although Matata doesn’t quite blend with this week’s color palette, Felin-Magaldi pointed out her resemblance to a werewolf—Matata does in fact resemble Lon Chaney in full makeup. Felin-Magaldi compared her to a newly recognized breed (just what the cat world needs)—a genetic meowtation called lykoi, which is Greek for “wolf cat.” (Hit the link to see one of them.) Critics take swats at the development of breeds to exploit animals for human comfort—in this case, hypoallergenic qualities. Me, I’ll take Sudafed or allergy shots and then adopt someone like Matata, who’s just a plain ol’ adorable housecat.


Newborn Feline Rescue focuses on rescuing orphaned newborn kittens from shelters. To adopt, visit the link or email [email protected].

black kitten sits tall on white rug next to furniture

Axel is 10 weeks old. Newborn Feline Rescue pulled him from the shelter euthanasia list when he was just days old. He is sweet and playful.


unbearably cute orange kitten sits on brightly patterned quilted bedspread

Koa is 3 months old. He was just a week old when he was pulled from the euthanasia list. He’s a total love bug that loves human attention.


The Little Lion Foundation, adoption application available here

orange tabby relaxes on a white bed

Little orange Newton and black kitten Darwin are both 3 months old. The two adorable boys came to Little Lion from SEAACA in Downey after the rescue received a plea for help.

Black kitten with big ears and green eyes looks pointedly at camera. He sits on a fluffy, white bed.

They came in as singletons and were suffering from severe worm infestation, which required a week of supportive care to get them feeling better! They became best friends during their short stay at the Long Beach Little Paws Kitten Nursery and are loving life in foster with their adopted sister, Marie Curie!


 Wrigley Kittens, contact [email protected] to adopt from this foster

Latek, the tuxedo, was rescued from a warehouse when the manager threatened to poison him and the small colony he was in. He spent seven weeks under the couch in his foster’s home office and has now been a family member for 8 months. Shrimp, the orange tabby, was rescued from the street two weeks ago. He had a puncture injury, which has now healed. As you can see, they love to play together (watch for your own cat’s reaction when you turn on the video!). The foster said that it would be a great achievement to find a home for both of them together if someone would make a 20-year lifetime commitment. They’re both neutered, vaccinated and vetted. However, they have different personalities with humans. Latek will not allow himself to be touched—he’s what’s sometimes called a house feral. Shrimp is a love boy, purring when you pet him and giving kisses.

Last week, The Scratching Post featured cats from our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services. Here are Fandango and Cap’n Crunch, saved for Halloween. Adoptions are conducted through appointment only; email [email protected], or call 562-570-7387.

Things that go bump in the night (fear not—it’s the cat knocking the phone off the nightstand again)

Howloween Hoedown: 4-9 p.m, Saturday, Oct. 23, Sparky and the Gang Animal Rescue, 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, suggested $25 donation.

Bring your doggies, bring yourself, and have a great time in absolute hounds of Hellish fashion!

Vegan goodies—sorry, zombies, but no brains—and a dessert bar, sounds from the great Corday, trick-or-treat (mainly treat) swag bag for you and your costumed pooch, and a live marionette show! What’s scarier than clowns but people dancing on strings into your face! Reserve a table by contacting [email protected].

 Little Lion Foundation Halloween photo and adoption event: 11 a.m.–3 p.m, Sunday, Oct. 24, Pet Food Express, 4220 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, suggested $20 donation per photo; adoption fees vary.

Long Beach cat rescue The Little Lion Foundation offers a great get-together for you and your willing pet! You can adopt a Little Lion kitty at the event and begin your cell phone full of cute-cat photos right away! A separate area for photos is available so that only one family will be there at a time and the models aren’t distracted by the other dogs and adoptable kitties—and vice versa! Remember to bring your costumed pal.

Haute Dogs Howl’oween Parade: 12:30 p.m. until the last pumpkin drops, Sunday, Oct. 31, Marina Vista Park, 5355 E. Eliot St., Long Beach, registration and seat-purchase information here

Oh boy! The world’s largest Halloween pet event, according to those in the know, is back—and it’s on the actual Halloween, yet! There are all kinds of prizes for humans and dogs (you can probably get by dressing up a cat or a pig) along with an adoption fair, a vendor fair and of course, the parade, in which over 450 dogs, including floats, are expected to participate! Spectators are welcome—you can bring your own chair and watch for free or reserve one for $5. This event also has the world’s largest set of details, so please click the link above for all of them. Note: Haute Dogs’ policy is to treat people with honor, dignity and respect regardless of their beliefs, gender, age, race, creed, sexual orientation, special needs and ethnicity. In this respect, no Native American costumes will be permitted.

Just fur fun and fur-ther education

Live KTLA-TV “Your Doggie in the News” opportunity: 6 a.m., 8 a.m., and 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 26, Marina Vista Park, 5355 E. Eliot St., Long Beach

Readers voted Justin Rudd Best Community Leader in the Best of Long Beach Post 2021 Readers Choice Awards and placed him in a few other categories. Now, Justin’s going for Best Stage Parent Enabler! He’s looking for people to doll up their doggies for Halloween and bring them to Marina Vista Park, where they’ll star in live KTLA-TV morning-news segments to preview the Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade (remember to sign up!) Each hour has a “tease” about 25 minutes past the hour and an “interview” about 40 minutes past the hour. RSVP to [email protected] today and include which segments you can attend with your costumed dog and a photo of them in costume. Justin will respond with details. About 10 to 20 dogs will star in each hourlong segment.

Best Friends’ Strut Your Mutt fundraising event: details and events here

Ready to start building a team or just strut your stuff solo? Best Friends, a nationwide organization whose intent is to save every animal life possible, has started its registration for its Oct. 23 Strut Your Mutt Day virtual walk. The goal is to raise $2 million for both the organization and animal shelters and rescues nationwide. Access this link for instructions on how to build your team or register yourself, and participate in virtual events such as pig yoga and meeting the animals at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary as you move along the time line. Mutts and all manner of mammals will thank you!

Meatball Fundraiser for Lulu: 10:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 30, Seal Beach Animal Care Center, 1700 Adolfo Lopez Dr., Seal Beach, donations of any value gladly accepted

Meatball lunchies both regular and vegan will be served in the SBACC parking lot, rain or shine! The proceeds will support Lulu’s trip to Pennsylvania, where she’ll surely enjoy at least one Philly cheese steak, or the doggie equivalent. Read Lulu’s story on the graphic—it’s a worthy paws cause.

Comedy and Cats: 8-9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15,, Feline Good Social Club, 301 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, $25, reserve your seat here.

Here we go again! The Salty AF crew of comedians and the Lounge cats will wrestle for the microphone and spotlight in which the only competitive element is who’s funnier, cats or comics. The group cannot wait for another bout with the kitties.

Calendars: 365 days of furry love

2022 Seal Beach Animal Care Center Calendar Contest: entries and votes accepted through 11:59 p.m., Oct 22, enter here

Only $1 needed to enter your cat or dog into SBACC’s contest! Votes start at $1 (5 vote minimum). You enter and vote for your best friend and then encourage your family and friends to cast votes for them. People can vote as many times as they want! Two separate calendars, one for the cats and one for the dogs, will feature your pets, and the top 13 dogs and top 13 cats (with the most votes) will be showcased in the calendars, with the first-place of each species as the cover guy or grrrrl. Thumbnail photos of all entrants will be featured in the calendars, even if the pets are not in the top 13! Here is the link to get started:

Help wanted, help given

Bark-tober Specials: throughout October, office hours through appointment, Fix Long Beach, 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, prices vary.

Check out the specials on the graphic—cherry-eye surgeries have been added for Tuesday, Oct. 26, $650 per eye. All appointments must be booked and completed within October, so book one here. Open to residents of all cities.

Volunteers of many stripes needed at Helen Sanders CatPAWS

Want to spend a few hours playing with cats? How about brightening the day of a bunch of senior citizens with kitten visits? Fostering cats because you aren’t sure you want to keep one but wish you could have one ever so briefly in your life (and yes, you could change your mind and keep them forever). Delivering pet food to needy shelters? Assembling do-it-yourself newborn-kitten-care kits, and maybe bottle-feeding a few? Kennel cleaning (whee!)? Lend a paw to CatPAWS—fill out the volunteer application at this link.

Volunteer walkers needed for senior citizens’ dogs

Ida’s Walkers is a program of The Heart of Ida, a 501c3 nonprofit organization serving the older-adult population in and around Long Beach. Ida’s Walkers offers dog-walking services to low-to-moderate-income seniors who are hospitalized, have limited mobility, or are at risk of falling. If you want to help senior citizens keep their beloved pets as long as they are able to live at home, call 562-370-3548.

Fix Long Beach low-cost pet-services clinics: selected days and times, 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, services available by appointment at

Fix Long Beach is taking appointments for low-cost spay/neuter, dental, vaccines and other vet needs for cats and dogs. Vaccination clinics take place on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. Visit their webpage or Facebook page for details.

DIY Kitten Care Kits available free at Long Beach Animal Care Services

Kitten season is still in bloom, and shelters and rescues are scrambling to save little lives, get them fixed, get them adopted. It isn’t unusual to find nests of young, seemingly abandoned kittens during kitten season. It is a natural reaction to want to help, to save them.  If you are interested in obtaining a Kitten Care Kit made possible by Helen Sanders CatPAWS, please email [email protected].

Spay/neuter vouchers available at shelter

Long Beach Animal Care Services has spay/neuter vouchers available. They’ll take a healthy nip out of the cost of a procedure. Residents of any of the five cities served by the shelter can telephone the general number at 562-570–7387 to request a voucher.

Spay/neuter appointments available at SNP/LA

The Spay/Neuter Project of Los Angeles (SNP/LA) offers free and low-cost spay/neuter services, and they’re extending the hours of their vaccination clinics. The San Pedro clinic will give shots between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. every third Thursday at 957 N. Gaffey St. Call 310-574–5555 to see if you qualify for services.

If you can see the bottom of the kibble bag

Pets of the Homeless’s home page gives a self-description as the only organization focusing only on providing food and care for pets belonging to homeless people. Businesses and other organizations across the country receive in-kind donations of food and other needs that the dogs and cats’ human families can pick up at outreach locations. The following businesses will accept your donations:

Trendi Pawz, 3726 E. Seventh St., Long Beach

Belmont Heights Animal Hospital, 255 Redondo Ave., Long Beach

Paw Shoppe Pet Center, Inc., 6416 E. Spring St., Long Beach

Food and supplies are available Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. at Beacon for Him Ministries, 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach; and Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m. at Christian Outreach in Action, 515 E. Third St., Long Beach, Donations will be gratefully accepted at these locations as well.

Adopt, adopt, adopt

In-furson events

Pit Bull Appreciation Day: 10 a.m.–3 p.m, Saturday, Oct 23, Marina Vista Park, 5355 E. Eliot St., Long Beach, free to attend

Blockhead Brigade presents this great day for an underappreciated dog breed that’s actually gaining more and more love every minute! Check out Blockhead Brigade’s Facebook page to see the neat prizes, activities and other features. Have fun with raffles, good food, merchandise that’s sure to appeal, and great coffee! Get your adora-bull’s handsome mug photographed at the photography booth, watch agility events, and adopt your first pittie or a buddy for a dog you already have—Long Beach Animal Care Services’ Adoption Waggin’ will be at the park with adopta-bulls! They will check for microchips as well. And remember to enter the Pose with Your Pittie photo contest by emailing a photo of you and your bubbie to [email protected]. (Remember to include your name.) You’re invited to bring your own pal to the event no matter what breed or breeds they are, but please, no dog intros! The event has a lot of stimulation, so social distancing for doggies is required. Pit Bull Appreciation Day is open to dogs of all breeds and mixes and focuses on advocating for the blocky of head by celebrating our love for them, promoting them for adoption, discouraging discrimination, and encouraging good stewardship and treatment. An apprecia-bull effort!

Long Beach Animal Care Services’ Adoption Waggin: 10 a.m.–2 p.m., second Saturday of each month, Pet Supplies Plus, 2086 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach; 10 a.m..–2 p.m., last Saturday of each month, VBurger, 420 Cherry Ave., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

 The shelter’s favorite glamping vehicle for cats and dogs has been making the scene twice a month. Adopt at the locations and find either everything you need for your pet or a fine vegan lunch.

 Pet Food Express Cat Adoption Center: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays, and 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Sundays., Pet Food Express, 4220 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

This adoption center is a much-needed satellite operation of Long Beach Animal Care Services. Julie and her team pull adoptable cats—”adoptable,” to these guys, means any cat in a shelter kennel! The team socializes the kitties until they’re adopted, which takes less time than you could imagine!

Helen Sanders CatPAWS adoption centers: viewable daily during store hours, playtime Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 3 p.m., PetSmart, 12341 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach; Petco Marina Shores, 6500 Pacific Coast Highway., third Saturday of every month between 1 and 3 p.m., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

Window-shopping’s a neat pastime and likely has become more common during the pandemic. Helen Sanders CatPAWS has applied window-shopping to cat adoption; you can peer at several of the fine felines through the windows of the PetSmart adoption center in Seal Beach, and now, you can finally visit with them, scratch their little ears, and rub them under their chinny-chin-chins on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. Visitors to Petco  Marina Shores every third Saturday of the month can see them running around their playpens and cuddle them, too. Volunteers will answer questions and provide you with adoption information! Be sure to wear a mask. You can find adoption applications and all the kitties here.

Nota bon-e—fosters are needed everywhere!

two dogs and a cat on one border, two cats and two dogs on other. Caption says, "May we couch-surf at your place?"

May we couch-surf at your place?

If you’ve always wanted a pet but aren’t sure if you’re ready for a lifetime (the animal’s) commitment, or if you’re past the pet-roommate days for any reason, fostering might be a great way to go, especially with one or more of the kittens popping up during kitten season. Every one of the organizations listed below is in desperate need of fosters who’ll social them and help save their little lives. Who knows—maybe one of those lives will change your mind about the not-ready-for-roommate thing!

These nonprofits also regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions. As of now, adoptions are mainly by appointment. Fosters are needed for kittens as well. Click on the links for each rescue in case of updates or changes. These organizations operate through donations and grants, and anything you can give would be welcome. Please suggest any Long Beach-area rescues to add to the list.


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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”