Despite being as cute and loveable as the rest, black and black-and-white cats are the least likely to be adopted. In 2015, black and black-and-white cats made up nearly half of the cats coming into care at Cats Protection. Taking around 22% longer than other coloured cats to find a home, many cats and kittens waiting for adoption are left behind.

Research by the RSPCA shows the problem is widespread. At any one time last year, around 70% of the cats in their care were either black or black-and-white.

On National Black Cat Day – an annual celebration of our furry friends – we visited the Cats Protection homing centre in Mitcham, London, to find out more about the issue and meet some of the cats waiting for 'forever' homes.

"We get quite a range of different cats coming into the centre, we get different ages, colours. What we tend to find is that black and black-and-white cats tend to stay around for longer.

"On average, across the charity, it works out at around an extra week in care for black and black-and-white cats against the other colours of cats – the tortoiseshells, the tabbies, the gingers," says Jen Harris, senior cat care assistant.

Part of the problem is that black and black-and-white cats are more common - so people are more likely to adopt different coloured cats.

Black cats
Black and black-and-white cats are in need of adoption IStock

"There are colours that seem to be seen to people are more interesting because they are less common, but it's a real shame, because there are so many really, really friendly black and black-and-white cats in care. They make up about 50% of the cats in Cats Protection – which is about 5,000 cats across the whole charity. So it's a real shame they do get overlooked so much," Harris says.

"I think a lot of it as well is that there are a lot more black and black-and-white cats in general, it's just a more common colour and so it's quite easy to overlook them."

Cats with more unusual markings tend to be more popular – such as silver tabbies or tortoiseshells.

"Sometimes, for a really popular cat, we might get four or five emails overnight and come in the next day to find loads of people have shown interest," Harris says. "But the poor black cat next door gets nothing, even though the poor black cat might actually be more friendly."

Some people still believe black cats are unlucky, although this is less common.

"Superstition does come into it to a certain extent," Harris says. "It's not something I've personally come across one person over the course of working here who said it was a superstition but they actually adopted the black cat in the end."

Black kitten
Black cats and kittens are less likely to be adopted than other cats IStock