We share a lot of stories online about people living with exotic animals, maybe after a rescue and recovery period that left the animal unable to live in the wild. While these stories may seem inspirational and make you want to welcome a wild animal into your home, it’s always important to remember that wild animals, no matter how tame they are, present much greater behavioral problems than animals bred to be domestic, and the people who care for them are most likely not showing the struggles that go on behind the scenes.

If you want a pet with all the majesty and grace of the real kings of the jungle, you don’t have to look far when a simple domestic cat from your local shelter would do. Here are some photos showing how much black cats have in common with their distant relatives in the wild.

They have fearsome fangs

Image credits: Youted

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They’re great athletes

Image credits: achoirofcritters

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…in more ways than one

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They look fierce when on the prowl…

Image credits: inmyelement

Image credits: Getty

…or on the move…

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Image credits: Giri Cavale

…or just hanging out

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Image credits: Getty

Beware of sharp objects

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Image credits: Project Survival’s Cat Haven

But they also have a soft side

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Image credits: Dheeraj pach

While it’s a common anecdotal belief that black cats take longer to get adopted in shelters, as artist Jenny Jinya highlights in her viral black cat comics, the relationship between coat color and adoption rates is unclear. In one ASPCA study, black cats indeed made up 30% of cats euthanized in shelters, but also an impressive 31% of adoptions, suggesting that they may be simply among the most common coat colors born to mixed-breed cats and the most common to end up in shelters in the first place.

It’s also commonplace for shelters not to allow the adoption of black cats leading up to Halloween, due to the widespread belief that black cats are especially desired for ritual sacrifices. However, despite being treated as common knowledge, official reports on whether this is a confirmed practice or an urban legend are fuzzy, and some shelters have been dropping the policy in the 21st century, as the modern adoption application and interview process are deterrent enough for people who may have violent intentions. Shelter workers are more worried about cats living on the streets becoming targets for abuse.

The Guardian published tips for taking good photos of your black cat after British shelters blamed Instagram culture for low black cat adoption rates, saying that potential adopters don’t find them selfie-friendly, but do we really need tips? Surely the fact that they show up in pictures like amorphous black shadows with eyes is part of the appeal. It’s like having a cryptid for a pet. Do you have a house panther you’d like to share pictures of? Comment below!

Commenters voiced their appreciation for these creatures of the night