Are Black Cats (and Dogs) Actually Born Lucky? Science Says Yes.

In the wild, the darker coloring helps them hide from predators and live longer lives.

By: janicecullivan
Natural selection may have favored dark-colored animals because they were better able to hide from prey. By: janicecullivan

We’ve all heard the silly superstition: Black cats are bad luck.

It’s totally wrong. And now, science may have proved it!

New research published in the journal PLOS Genetics shows that black cats may actually have good luck — in the form of a longer, healthier life. At least in the wild.

The dark coloring didn’t arise by chance. It is due to melanism, a darkening of body tissues. In essence, melanism is nature’s camouflage.

A prime example of how melanism helps black-colored animals live longer is the dark peppered moth. As the moth blends easily into dark surroundings, it is able to disguise itself from hungry prey.

Don’t Miss: 7 Cat Myths and Superstitions — Debunked!

According to the researchers, “Our results demonstrate that some ‘black cats’ are black not by chance, but by selection for a mutation that provides increased fitness.”

An article on Discovery added that, like cats, “certain domesticated dogs may also benefit from darker fur colors, although breeding by humans now influences the process.”

Sources: Animal Planet, Discovery

Gayle Hickman

View posts by Gayle Hickman
Gayle Hickman has been researching and writing about pet behaviors since 2011. In addition to Petful, her articles have appeared on Reader's Digest, Yahoo Shine and WebVet, to name a few.

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