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For Black Friday, this Chesapeake cat cafe wants to send black cats home

A black cat sits for a photo
Smidgen, a resident at Kitty Kingdom, is 50% less likely to be adopted because of the color of their fur. (Photo: Laura Philion/WHRO)

Smidgen the black cat and Deedra the tuxedo cat, who both live at Kitty Kingdom Cat Cafe, are 50% less likely to be adopted than cats of other colors.

Kitty Kingdom owner Julie Easterbrooks doesn’t think that’s right.

A tuxedo cat
Wally, a tuxedo, watches from a cat tower in the cafe. (Photo: Laura Philion/WHRO)

“If you put an orange kitty and a black kitty, chances are almost eight to two that that ginger kitty will go home before the black kitty goes home,” Easterbrooks said.

At a cat cafe, customers can come in and pay to spend time with the cats living there. Kitty Kingdom, which is located in Chesapeake, works with shelters to foster cats. All the cats at the cafe are adoptable.

Kitty Kingdom is running a “Black Friday” special on all black and tuxedo cats – adopters get one free hour to hang out with cats.

Two cats play
Smidgen and Helia wait for treats from Julie Easterbrooks, Kitty Kingdom's owner. (Photo: Laura Philion/WHRO)

Easterbrooks said she hopes it’ll change the fortunes of cats like Smidgen. He was returned to the cafe by someone who decided to adopt puppies.

“Instead of doing things the right way, … the adopter just came to the cafe and plopped the kitties on a table just like she was returning t-shirts,” Easterbrooks said.

A cat with sandy orange fur
Cats like Simon, who has feline immunodeficiency virus, are harder to adopt. (Photo: Laura Philion/WHRO)

 

Smidgen’s partner, who was returned with him, was soon adopted by another family. But the all-black, snuggles-loving Smidgen is still here.

“He really deserves a good home,” Easterbrooks said.

A cat with a marbled brown coat
Nora, a cat at Kitty Kingdom, is older, meaning she's less likely to be adopted. (Photo: Laura Philion/WHRO)

Black cats aren’t the only ones who are hard to adopt.

Older and shyer cats, like Nora, aren’t as popular with prospective owners. And FIV-positive cats, like Simon, face stigma around their condition, though it can be managed.

Kitty Kingdom has adopted out almost 600 cats since October 2020. 

Roughly a quarter of those have been black cats.

Read the original story on WHRO's website.