Sorry, Folks, Black Panther Isn't Actually Improving Black Cat Adoptions

Black Panther pounces for justice in a scene from Black Panther.
Black Panther pounces for justice in a scene from Black Panther.
Image: Disney

A Tumblr post has been making the rounds of the past few days where the author claims their local pet shelters have seen a monumental surge of black cat adoptions in the wake of Black Panther’s release. While that would be awesome, especially given how many cats are in need of homes, it doesn’t appear to be true.


Tumblr user gallusrostromegalus recently shared how they’d learned their local pet shelters had gone from 50 to 60 black cats to having none, because people were adopting them and naming them after characters from Black Panther.

The user has since given a clarification, saying it was actually 15 or 16 black cats that had been adopted out of animal shelters in Durango, Colorado. However, the user did reiterate that most of those adoptions “were people looking to adopt a cat in general, then picked out a black cat specifically [because] of Black Panther.” But that too looks to be questionable.

I reached out to La Plata County Humane Society, the only shelter with cats in that county, who said that they’ve only seen six black cats adopted in the past month, out of around 30 total cats. The shelter employees we talked to said it was a pretty normal number, and didn’t see any indication that black cats (as a whole) were being chosen specifically because of the movie. That doesn’t mean it’s not true, of course, but it does mean Black Panther probably isn’t inspiring the major changes previously claimed.

For comparison, I also reached out to Lulu’s Locker Rescue, a Chicago-based animal rescue service that focuses on black dogs and cats. They too said they haven’t seen any change in black cat adoption rates or interest since Black Panther came out February 16. Both shelters found the whole thing to be kind of funny, and Lulu’s employee added that she’d love to see it actually happen.

There are those who believe it’s harder for black cats to be adopted, although a representative for the ASPCA recently told BuzzFeed that’s actually a myth. All the same, there are still plenty out of black cats out there who need homes, and they do face obstacles. We still see claims even in 2018 of people refusing to adopt black cats because they’re harder to take selfies with. Plus, there’s that whole “They can’t be adopted around Halloween because crazy people might try to sacrifice them” thing.


As a black cat owner myself (named Ezio), and a fan of the film, I’d love to see more Killmonger and Nakia kitties out there, but it doesn’t appear Black Panther’s success extends this far yet. If you’re looking to adopt a black cat of your own—or any cat for that matter—there are plenty that could use a home. Just make sure you’re not doing it for a trend: That happened with Huskies after Game of Thrones, leading to a rise in surrenders to adoption centers.

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.


Beth Elderkin

As mentioned in the post, here’s my Ezio, fighting with sister Veronica over the top of their kitty tower. The battle may be over, but the war goes on...