At my house, every day is Black Cat Appreciation Day. In my lifetime I’ve been blessed to have 13 amazing black cats cross my path, and I thank God every day that I’ve been lucky to know them.
So in honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day, I want to introduce you to my Lucky 13, plus three more black cats who have touched my heart.
My first cat arrived compliments of my Grandpa Guy when I was five. Like Herman, Frosty was a white Turkish Angora. Then we adopted a stray white short hair named Seymour. Two white cats that shaped my early love of cats.
After I moved into my own apartment my sister Janice decided I needed a cat for my birthday. Um. Late December isn’t exactly kitten season, but Janice found a tiny black kitten that I named Whisper. Whisper turned out to be a very sick kitty and almost died within days after I got him, but through persistence he lived to grow into a beautiful sleek and totally destructive little brat. The true fault was mine, keeping this spunky man cat in a small apartment. After two years I came to the conclusion he would be happier in a larger home, and I found him a new family. He went on to live Happily Ever After, but not without first leaving me with a true love of black cats.
Shortly after I moved into my Florida home, a feral stray by the name of Angel gave birth to numerous litters and would always dump them in my yard to feed and get vetted, while avoiding my attempts to have her spayed. One of the litters produced a spunky little girl that I named Sami. A true tomboy with a great sense of humor, Sami came with us when we moved to Kentucky. She was an outside cat, but decided one year to spend the winter inside. Buddy my tabby always slept draped over my left arm. I recall Sami wanted to sleep there, but Bud was adamant about not moving. Instead of giving up and sleeping at the bottom of the bed, Sami crawled onto my pillow, turned around and backed her bottom down between Buddy and I, where she snuggled in happily.
The same year I moved to our Kentucky home on five acres, I acquired two more black cats who already lived on the property. They clearly knew each other and they weren’t buddies. Nicholas was big and brash and stunk to high heaven from whatever he’d been eating to stay alive, while Cookie – a tuxedo – was timid and quirky and ran around with his tail between his legs.
These two started out enemies in 1999 but became friends and co-alphas by the time their lives ended in 2012 when we had black mold in our current home and they didn’t survive. I use both of my angels as a reminder to share their story with everyone in hope they get their air ducts checked periodically to avoid the same tragedy.
My current home outside of Memphis has a nearby cat colony, and over the past eleven years I’ve been blessed to meet several more black cats who have brought me great joy.
In 2009 a stray torbi named Peaches gave birth under my neighbor’s deck. After the neighbor gave away most of the kittens she closed the opening under the deck, forcing Peaches to find another home for herself and her two remaining kittens. That was my yard (of course!) and Peaches, Jack and Jesse have been a major part of my life ever since. Jack is a tabby and Jesse is pure black with beautiful gold eyes who desperately wants to be an alpha cat, but has only one member of his gang.
In 2010 we had a horrible storm roll through our town and Jesse went missing. He was gone for a long time and I feared the worst. Then one day he showed up with a tiny black female in tow. She was a friendly little bit and after my vet worried she was small enough to be swept up by a hawk, I brought her indoors and named her Gidget. It took 7 years for Gidget to stop lurking in the background and demand equal share of my time. She now sleeps with me, and will gently nip my arm to remind me to rub her bottom…even while I’m asleep!
In 2012 a feral by the name of Charlie rolled into the hood with an attitude. Big with a deadly glare and huge paws, he was truly intimidating, but I fell in love anyway and over the next three years I made him love me in return. Charlie made the decision that he would touch me, but I wasn’t allowed to touch him in return. That was okay by me. I respected his need to keep his mystique as a warrior in tact.
In 2013 a family of six arrived in early January. Mom and Dad were both black, and they had two tabby daughters and two black sons. Mom Annie had eye problems and a distant nature that made me think she would leave the very day I released her after spaying. She proved me wrong. She left three days later. But the dad cat was a joy and loved playing with his kittens: Dori, Patsy, Kepurr and Kopea.
I named him Nikolas after my beloved Nicholas. They shared similar silly personality traits. Nik would have been a great indoor cat, but my home didn’t have an indoor vacancy at the moment, so he went outside and befriended Jesse. Today they’re still friends. Nik is the member of Jesse’s gang, and good naturedly allows Jesse to act out his alpha fantasies.
Meanwhile I found homes for the two boy kittens that I called Kepurr and Kopea. Kepurr was a bit more tame than Kopea who embraced the feral lifestyle, but the family that adopted them were huge black cat lovers.
Just when I thought I was done adopting cats…all cats, not just black ones…along comes Noah. At first he let me know he was feral and wasn’t a cuddling kind of dood. But then he realized that maybe I deserved a chance to prove myself. Once he let me pet him, our mad love affair took off. My goal was to get him to let me pet his belly, cuz we all know showing the tummy is the most vulnerable position a cat can give you, and when he did, after about a year, I felt very honored.
I must have impressed Noah because within a few months he brought a friend to meet me. A pretty little calico so utterly sweet…I named her Candy.
And then…a mere handful of weeks after that, Noah brought me another friend. A little black angel named Elly who would become Lucky 13. Elly applied for the position of helping Ray over his heartache of losing Cookie, and won Ray over within days.
In the world of Anipals, Herman and Dori have both fallen in love with black cats. In June 2013 Herman married the lovely Belle @Frankencat1, a Norwegian Forest Cat mix, and in 2014 Dori was swept off her paws by the handsome tuxedo @HRMeownessWills whom Dori calls her “Pwince Honeysmoochies.” Wills has two lovely sisters, Kate is a torbi and Abby is a svelt black princess. And then my bestie Janeson Keeley, mom to @ThatStripeyCat, has welcomed a sweet little princess named Leia into her life. I got to meet Leia in January and she stole my heart!
I never understand the stigma of black cats. In the Dark Ages superstition ran amok, but in this day and age, the fact that black cats are usually the last to be adopted, if at all, is just plain stupid. Black cats have always struck me as one of the most intelligent of cats. They just get it. They catch on fast. The ones I’ve shared my life with have had silly personalities and once their trust is won, it’s forever.
I didn’t start writing this post already realizing I had known 13 black cats, but after I finished I counted them and…voila! How ironic that the number 13 is considered as unlucky as black cats. To me, the number 13 represents the number of blessings God has put in my path.
The next time you are in the position to share your life with a cat, please consider adopting a black cat. I purrrsonally can’t imagine my life without one.