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Column: In praise of Halloween’s spookiest animals

A+black+cat+named+Tito%2C+owned+by+a+family+friend+of+Zoe+Bush+%2722%2C+lays+in+a+sink.+Black+cats+are+unfairly+associated+with+witchcraft+around+the+time+of+Halloween.++
A black cat named Tito, owned by a family friend of Zoe Bush '22, lays in a sink. Black cats are unfairly associated with witchcraft around the time of Halloween.

A black cat named Tito, owned by a family friend of Zoe Bush '22, lays in a sink. Black cats are unfairly associated with witchcraft around the time of Halloween.

Photo credit: Zoe Bush

Photo credit: Zoe Bush

A black cat named Tito, owned by a family friend of Zoe Bush '22, lays in a sink. Black cats are unfairly associated with witchcraft around the time of Halloween.

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For most people, Halloween is a time of too much candy and chilling thrills. However, often forgotten in the excitement are the animals Halloween has labeled as “spooky.” Although Halloween is not the sole contributor to these animals’ negative stereotypes, it has certainly not boosted their reputations.

Take bats, for example. Bats are one of the first animals that come to mind when one thinks of Halloween. A person could safely assume that the bat’s evil reputation stems directly from vampires. The novel “Dracula” introduced the idea that a vampire can transform into a bat. This is possibly due to the fact that some species of bats, appropriately called vampire bats, are known to drink the blood of livestock and birds. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, I suppose!

However, only three out of over 1200 species of bats feed on blood—most bats prefer a diet of insects, fruit and pollen. Bats are also one of the leading pollinators globally, helping to ensure our fauna thrives. Bats deserve no hatred just because 0.25 percent of the species have unappealing appetites.

Along with bats, black cats are yet another culprit of widespread societal stigmas and are unfortunately tied in with Halloween culture. The fear of black cats started in the Middle Ages, when they were thought to be linked to the devil. People started spreading stories about witches turning into black cats. Because of this, many cats were killed alongside their supposed witch companions. The link between black cats and witches has lasted many centuries, and as long as people can market off black cats around Halloween, the stigma will remain.

Sadly, black cats suffer greatly due to these myths, and many shelters claim that black cats are less likely to be adopted. Additionally, many shelters will not adopt out black cats around Halloween in case the cat is tortured in an act of ritual sacrifice. I believe most of this would end if the stigmas around black cats were not so perpetuated by superstitions and scary stories during Halloween.

This Halloween, I urge you to befriend the bats and offer them a hand to perch on, and please don’t forget to pet any black cats that may cross your path.

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About the Contributor
Zoe Bush, Columnist

Zoe Bush became a columnist in the 2018-2019 school year. Her column focuses on nature. She hopes to share her knowledge and make readers laugh in the process. She is involved with theater at Archer and you may often find her chilling with her pet snake or proclaiming the injustices in the cow industry.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Column: In praise of Halloween’s spookiest animals”

  1. Caroline Ediger on October 28th, 2018 10:22 pm

    Zoe, thank you for this beautiful blend of fact and fun. I imagine the bats and cats of the world feel the same!
    To add on to your explanation of the history of bat marginalization: if I recall correctly, bats developed their vampiric reputation because of Vlad the Impaler’s military endeavors. During a battle (or possibly multiple), he led his army over a hill, away from his opponents. A huge colony of bats later flew over the hill toward the other army. From Vlad’s enemies’ perspective, it looked like the Impaler’s army had turned into bats. I believe he is also supposed to have been a major inspiration for depictions of vampires.

  2. Glory Chase on October 28th, 2018 10:36 pm

    This is incredible and I adore it !! This is so wonderful! Thank you for spreading awareness Zoe.

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