We've all heard the saying that a black cat running across your path will bring you bad luck, but no one really takes these silly superstitions seriously, do they?

Well, apparently they do, as animal charity Cat's Protection has revealed that it takes 40 per cent longer to find a home for stray black cats than those of other colours - and it seems to be because superstitious people associate these moggies with witchcraft.

According to Get Surrey, roughly a quarter of the cats at the charity's Crawley, Reigate and District branch are black, but a survey commissioned on behalf Cat's Protection revealed that nearly 60 per cent of potential adopters in Surrey would not choose a moggie with black fur.

Mark Campbell-Blake, treasurer at this branch, told the website that although some people believe black cats are lucky charms, others seem to be put off due to spooky connotations with the colour.

"We think the problem is around superstition, the Halloween kind of thing. Although they are classed as lucky, there is a superstition around them," he said.

"Black cats are no less loving than any other cats we have here, but for some reason people always go for the patterned cat. Unfortunately people don't want to go for a black cat."

In the Middle Ages many people believed that those who kept black cats were witches, and the superstition seems to have continued to the present day, with these felines seen to be an unlucky omen if they cross your path from right to left.

However, with rehoming centres having to foot the bill for cat food and care while animals wait to find new homes, it seems that these age-old superstitions could be becoming seriously damaging.

"The longer they are with us in care, the more it costs us as a charity and the less money we have to spend on other cats," Mr Campbell-Blake added.

Written by: Hannah