Greg Littlejohn/Courier Entrance of the Neely Cat Center in Pasadena on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. On the 13th of every month visitors can adopt any black cat for only $13.
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Since 2012, The Pasadena Humane Society and Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has held the Lucky 13 black cat adoption on the 13th of every month. The event aims to increase adoptions of black or black spotted cats by discounting the cost of adoption and basic health services.

The organization also hopes to dispel any myths or preconceptions about black cats, sometimes regarded as the “black cat syndrome”.

“Black cats are the least likely to get adopted in shelters across the U.S.,” according to ASPCA’s website.

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a survey of 189 current or previous cat owners to get a better understanding of typecasting and fur color prejudices. Despite inconclusive evidence that certain, distinct qualities are inherent in specific fur colors, the perception can have an adverse effect.

“There are serious repercussions for cats if people believe that some cat colors are friendlier than others,” Mikel Delgado, lead author of the study, said to Berkeley reporters.

Jamie Holeman has worked as community relations associate for the Pasadena Humane Society for six years. She guided people into the temporary homes for the cats, where visitors seeking to adopt can talk, pet, and play with the prospective companions.

“Black cats are often overlooked,” Holeman said.

To offset this, the cost of adopting a black cat on the 13th has been discounted to $13 from the usual cost of $70.

“The adoption costs includes spaying and neutering, first set of vaccinations, a microchip, and the first visit free for a health checkup,” she said.

With the price reduction and bundling of additional services, the Pasadena Humane Society hopes it will make it easier and more appealing to adopt a black cat.

“Right now there are about 20 cats available,” Holeman said. “Between the late spring and early fall there can be 160 to 170 cats.”

Holeman explained that it’s typical for there to be fewer cats available for adoption during the winter time. Of the 20 cats currently at the adoption center, five were black.

The newly expanded Pasadena Humane Society stands tall over the south side of Central Park. Located at 391 South Raymond Avenue, banners of cats and dogs serve as the face of the organization hang on the building’s outer surface.

A major portion of the 2015 expansion was a $3 million home in the Neely Cat Center. According to a report by the Pasadena Star-News, the facility was funded almost entirely by Bill Payden by way of a $2.5 million donation from the William R. Payden Philanthropic Trust and named after Neely the cat, Payden’s companion for 18 years.

The 4,000 square foot space accommodates up to 200 feline friends and is designed to create a stress-free environment while cats of all kinds await their forever-home. The organization hopes that the expanded facility and promotions such as Lucky 13 can help reduce euthanasia to zero.

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