DEAR DR. FOX: Halloween will soon be here, and every year around this time, I read about black cats being caught and tortured. Black cats are considered the least adoptable by some rescue organizations because of superstitious beliefs that may, indeed, go back to Europe’s Black Death pandemic, when cats were blamed and destroyed in many communities. Even today, as you rightly point out, reports of black cats’ mistreatment are all too common. But in Japan and a few other countries, black cats are associated with good luck! Worst hit are Latin America and the Caribbean, where the animal population dropped by an average of 94% during that period.