As Halloween approaches, many of us are gearing up for thrills and dying to share our most bone-chilling scary stories. But there’s one tall tale that should be six feet under: the false notion that black cats are in unique danger during the 30 days leading up to and on that notorious night.

You may have heard tell that around Halloween, black cats are targeted by people with the worst intentions. You may have also witnessed warnings against adopting out black cats throughout October because of the worry that these cats will be abused.

It’s enough to send a shiver down anyone’s spine, but here’s the thing: It’s not true. Here is what you should know:

Black cats are NOT in more danger on Halloween

There is no factual evidence that black cats are in greater peril at any point in October. At least, not any more than cats of all fur colors are at any time of the year.

More adoptions of black cats is a GOOD thing

As a society, we are rightfully shaking free from the icy grip of the “black cats are bad luck” myth. After all, black fur is a dominant gene, so black is a very common coat color in cats. But many black cats in shelters are still overlooked because of their coats, so it’s important that we don’t further bury their chances at adoption.

If a rescue or other organization is keen to run a Halloween special on black cat adoption, that could mean finding the right homes for even more beautiful black cats who need them. We just need to ensure every adoptable cat is spayed or neutered, incorporate best practices to sufficiently screen potential adopters, and provide those adopters with the right information to care for their new family member.

The real horrors cats face are YEAR-ROUND

Alley Cat Allies defends cats from unspeakable cruelty in our country and around the world. All cats—including black cats—are still at risk from the real-life horror of archaic, lethal policies that are being implemented by governments and public institutions worldwide.

The true number one threat to cats, of any coat color, is being killed in animal shelters that lack humane, nonlethal policies. Nationwide, more cats are killed than any other animals who enter shelters. It’s truly terrifying that killing is being carried out at institutions meant to protect.

To save black cats, look beyond Halloween and at the big picture in your community:

Does your city or county’s animal shelter have humane, nonlethal policies in place? You have a right to know what happens in your local shelter, and you can request that information. We will walk you through how. With that knowledge in hand, you have the power to advocate for critical, lifesaving change and sensible, evidence-based programs like Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR).

Does your city or county have laws that negatively impact cats and kittens, like feeding bans or licensing laws? Alley Cat Allies’ online resources can help you identify those laws and advocate to reverse them.

If you suspect animal cruelty in your community, learn how you can successfully report the incident and advocate for animal cruelty to be investigated, prosecuted, and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Raise your voice on behalf of cats, who cannot speak for themselves, by joining our Speak Out Against Cruelty campaign.

You CAN help protect cats on Halloween

Urban legends aside, there are many actions you can take to help your feline family members have a safe and happy Halloween. Alley Cat Allies has Halloween Cat Safety Tips you can follow to ensure the tricks and treats of the night don’t harm or stress your cat. Find them at alleycat.org/Halloween.

Our top three tips are:

  1. Be mindful of your decorations. Fake spider webbing isn’t only harmful to the environment, it can pose various health hazards if ingested by cats or other animals. Jack-o-lanterns with real, lit candles can quickly become dangerous if knocked over, and decorations like corn or pumpkins can cause stomach trouble if cats nibble on them. Place your décor strategically or opt for other tricks.
  2. Keep cats in a quiet area of your house. Cats can be easily spooked by errant trick or treaters at your door or loud party guests, so identify a room they will be most comfortable in and provide a litter box and any food, water, and toys they need.
  3. Make sure your cats are microchipped. Should your cat or kitten dart out the door while you’re handing out candy, her microchip can ensure she is reunited safely with you.

Alley Cat Allies wishes you a thoroughly thrilling—and safe—Halloween!