October 19, 2017
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All About Pets

Mickey Zeldes
Friday the 13th brings out spooky things
October 13, 2017

I’m sure it’s happened before, but I think it’s terrific that October has a Friday the 13th in it. It fits in perfectly with the theme of ghosts, witches and black cats! Spooky stories, haunted houses and tales of mystical powers - ever wonder how the black cat superstition got started?

Black cats were thought to be the pets of witches during the middle ages. Some even thought that black cats were the reincarnation of witches. Depending on where you lived and when, black cats either brought good luck or bad.  Black cats in Europe had it bad – witch-hunts and cat killings were accepted activities in the effort to keep the devil away – which ironically resulted in the proliferation of rats and the spread of the bubonic plague. In Egypt, however, the cat was worshipped and treated royally. Unfortunately for the black cat, it seems that only the superstitions around them bringing bad luck have stuck. An interesting bit of trivia is that the Cat Fancier Association recognizes 22 different cat breeds that can come with a solid black coat.  That’s a lot of unlucky cats! And the fact that black is genetically a dominant color explains why we see so many in animal shelters. Having superstitions about them adds to the reasons that these cats are more difficult to find homes for.

Perhaps what we need to do is put them in a costume! For some reason people really respond to an animal in clothing. It has become a multi-million dollar-industry! Not just Halloween costumes, although that is very popular -- I’m talking about everyday outfits, raincoats and sport logo clothing. You might think we (the shelter) would be above all that but, nope, what the public wants, we’ll deliver! This year at Bark After Dark (a dinner and auction fundraiser on Oct. 28) we are incorporating a parade of our adoptable dogs in Halloween costumes! It should be adorable and might just find someone a home! Hope you will join us for the fun.  Go to for event details and ticket information.

In the meantime, there is still time to get your pet in the spirit of the season. Costumes for dogs, cats and even rats and guinea pigs are now available at most pet stores and other retailers (Walmart, Target and others have jumped on the bandwagon). They offer matching outfits for you and your pet and great duo outfits like a lion tamer and lion, cowboy and horse, police officer and convict, etc. That assumes you can take your pet with you to wherever you are showing off your holiday spirit. If that’s your goal, be sure to take the time to get your dog used to the costume piece by piece, especially if he isn’t used to wearing clothing. If you’re lucky you might get him to stay in it for at least as long as it takes to get a cute picture!

Speaking of superstition and mystical coincidences – what would you think if I told you that while I was writing this story Stevie Wonder’s song, Superstition, just happened to come up on the radio? Just a coincidence? I don’t think so!



Upcoming Events: 

Bark After Dark – Dinner and Auction for the Animals, a fundraiser for the Animal Shelter League, Sat, Oct. 28.  Pasta dinner, delicious desserts and no-host beer/wine bar.  Get a start on your holiday gift buying and bid on over 100 auction items!  Tickets now available at   

No More Lost Pets – free microchips and pet ID tags for residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati City.  Stop by the shelter during our open hours with your pet to get one!  The shelter is open Wed 1-6:30 p.m., Thurs.-Fri-Sat 1-5:30 p.m. and Sun 1-4:30 p.m.

Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents.  Call 588-3531 for an appointment.


Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at