Friday is the 13th and with it comes those familiar superstitions. Some people are also suspicious of black cats, so to capitalize on day’s notoriety, the Animal Care Center of St. John will hold a Friday the Thirteenth Black Cat Celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the shelter located near the Elaine I. Sprauve Library in Cruz Bay.
The event casts the spotlight on the 30 black cats and kittens available for adoption at the shelter.
Shelter animal care technician Kimber Marnen said the shelter has about 50 cats needing homes, but the Friday event is an effort to find homes for just the black cats. She said that 60 percent of the cats on St. John are black. It’s harder to find homes for them because there are so many.
“The others stand out,” she said.
The cats range in age from 3 weeks to 5 years. If someone takes a shine to a kitten too young to leave the shelter, Marnen said the shelter will do the paperwork and the new owner can pick it up at a later date.
Those adopting black cats on Friday, even if they can’t take them home that day, will pay a $13 shelter fee instead of the usual $25 for cats over 6 months and $50 for kittens. All shots are included. There is an additional $50 charge for cats that need spaying or neutering.
Black cats get a bad rap. According to the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, in Western history, black cats have often been looked upon as a symbol of evil omens. They’re often associated with witches so most of western and southern Europe considers the black cat as a symbol of bad luck. Should a black cat cross paths with a person, it’s believed to be an omen of misfortune and death.
That’s not the case in other cultures. In Great Britain and in Ireland, black cats are a symbol of good luck. The Scottish believe that a strange black cat’s arrival to the home signifies prosperity. In Celtic mythology, a fairy known as the Cat Sìth takes the form of a black cat. Black cats are also considered good luck in Japan. And some believe that a woman who owns a black cat will have many suitors.
It’s a triple trouble this year for folks with worries about Friday the 13th. There are three this year. The first one fell on Jan. 13, the second on April 13 and the last one comes this Friday.
People with fears about Friday the 13th suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia. Frigga is the name of the Norse goddess for whom Friday is named, and triskaidekaphobia means the fear of the number 13.
There are several theories as to why people are superstitious about Friday the 13th. According to Wikipedia, one theory indicates that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions – that 13 is an unlucky number and Friday is an unlucky day.
In numerology, the number 12 is considered the number of completeness. This is reflected in things like the 12 months of the year and 12 hours of the clock. The number 13 was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having 13 people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
While there are lots of suggestions on how to avoid the bad luck that comes on Friday the 13th and from black cats crossing your path, the Animal Care Center hopes that the two combined will convince people with room in their family to adopt a black cat on Friday.
For more information, call the Animal Care Center at 774-1625 or visit www.stjohnanimalcarecenter.com.