Monday, November 1, 2010

More musings on black cats . . .

Last week, our Fundraising and Events Director Danielle talked about black cats in her blog, and they've also been on my mind.

Last year I finally adopted my small black foster cat "Missy" (short for Mischief
Monster) from our adoptions program. She had been in our program for almost a year, and still had not found a permanent home of her own. As she is such a great cat, I was surprised that she had not been adopted out. Then one day I took her to an adoption event and noticed that she looked just like all the other pure black cats that were there. Though each had a distinct personality, none had markings that made them stand out. Even when she was at adoption events, Missy has an outgoing, playful and fun personality--but she seemed to blend into the scenery so much that passersby just didn't see her. Sometimes even now in my home she will become part of the shadows and I will not see her until she opens her sparklingly pretty large green eyes.

Back when I noticed all those black cats up for adoption, I wondered if superstition might also play a part in why they get over looked at adoption events. Surely not everyone believes they are bad luck!

In some countries like the United Kingdom or Japan black cats are considered to bring good luck. Others believe petting one will bring you good health and wealth. So not everyone looks at them like they are a bad omen.

But the other day a neighbor of mine stopped by our house. I invited her inside. She started to enter our home until Missy startled her at the top of the stairs. After seeing my friendly and inquisitive black cat, she quickly backed out the door and refused to come back inside -- even though it was raining heavily outside! She's usually quite cheerful and talkative, but this time she looked at me like I had offended her somehow.

I was really surprised at her reaction, especially since Missy has become such a great little family member and best friend to Penelope, our 6-month-old daughter. They seem to have a mutual fondness for each other. Missy can't leave Penny alone and insists on sitting right by her when ever she can. Penny giggles and grins any time Missy comes over. At one point, I even saw Penny trying to suck on her ear -- and she actually succeeded for a moment! But Missy was such a great sport. In fact, we were at a toy shop recently and found a small black stuffed animal for Penny to pack around with her. She loves her mini Missy and sucks on her ear as well.

But Missy isn't the exception to all those black cats out there; she is the rule. Since I was young, I have seen so many other black cats love and be loved tremendously by family and friends.

When I was a kid, a small and sick black kitten found its way into our window well one cold winter morning. She was barely alive, but we were determined to make sure she thrived -- despite her tiny size and severe breathing problems. My brother decided her name was Eekers, and it seemed to fit her perfectly. When we first found her, we weren't allowed another pet -- we had a full house of strays that crashed at our place. So my brother hid her in his room until she needed to be looked at by a vet. At first, the vet recommended putting her down because her lungs were small and deformed. But my brother insisted he would care for her and slept with a humidifier in his room. The moisture seemed to help. He took care of her every day and ran home after school to see her.

She needed regular vet treatment, which was an expense that my mom was concerned about, so my brother did odd jobs for neighbors like raking leaves and mowing lawns to help out with the cost. Eekers, but then a funny little string bean looking kitty with spindly legs, would follow him around or wait for him on the porch like a dog.

They were inseparable until one day she finally took her last breath in his arms. She only lived for 3 years, but her little life meant so much to my brother. She was his best friend for those years, and a beautiful black cat. Clearly, there's no reason to reject these cats simply because of their color.

Like Danielle mentioned, there really are some great black cats in our program waiting for a loving home, and you can see them all online. If you're looking for a new feline friend, don't overlook them!

Maranda Hawkes
Volunteer Coordinator


  1. We should do our top 5 favorite black cats! Here's mine:
    1. Salem (my cat)
    2. Sheba (rescued from hoarder, adopted by my friend)
    3. Missy (Maranda's cat)
    4. Alice (Lydia's foster)
    5. David (adoptable cat in our program)

  2. That cat looks EXACTLY like mine! She blends in too. Sometimes I'll start talking to some black socks on the floor thinking it's her...

    I love my Lulu cat. She's by far the best cat I've ever had.