I have a weakness for black or part-black cats. I’ve had five of them (not all at the same time, of course) over the years. When I lived in San Antonio, TX, my little gray cat Billie whom I’d moved with me from New Hampshire, had died a few months back and I was missing her terribly. I began visiting the local shelter, ostensibly to bring food and donations, but I was looking for a new friend.
I fell in love with an adult female black cat in the *local shelter. She was over four years old, and had been in that shelter nearly all her life. Her name was Blackie. She had one crumpled ear (born that way) and two very long front incisors. The shelter owner said that no one wanted her because she looked ‘spooky.’
When I walked in to look around, Blackie was on a ‘cat walk’ just over my head. She bent down and bumped her head against mine and purred. I was sold, and asked to fill out paperwork for her. Unfortunately, it was the weekend before Halloween. Most shelters will not adopt out all-black or all-white animals during that time–let’s just say that some groups have some strange rituals around Halloween.
Because of the timing, I could not bring Blackie home yet. I certainly agreed with the shelter’s policy about Halloween, and left without my new buddy. After a week, I called to see if I could pick her up. The shelter owner told me that there had been a kitten virus (a lot like the common cold; sneezing, coughing, etc.), and for the health of all the animals, they dosed them all. This meant at least one more week to wait.
In the meantime, I bought cat food, cat treats, cat toys, a big round soft cat bed, a litter box, catnip and so on. My bedroom was huge and adjoined the master bathroom. I thought that Blackie might feel more comfortable staying there while she got used to the house and me.
Almost two more weeks went by, and finally I was able to bring Blackie home. It was absolutely wonderful to have a cat again, and Blackie was sweet, very shy, and ultimately very loving. For days she hid under the bed, so I kept her food, water, toys and litter box nearby, and gave her time. I talked to her each day, and petted her when I could. She seemed to enjoy the attention, but needed time to adjust from shelter life.
One day I came home from work and found her standing transfixed in front of the toilet. It was a sunny day, and the white porcelain acted as a mirror. Blackie was convinced that there was another black cat in the house! It took her a while to realize it was only her reflection.
Long story short, we became close and dear friends. She was a loving and sweet companion, and every night she curled up under my right arm. If I turned over, she pawed at me until I turned back to her. For some reason, she preferred my right side!
I had Blackie through the years featuring the end of my first marriage, a divorce, two moves; the final one moving back to New Hampshire. By then, the Crankee Yankee and I were engaged, and had rented an apartment in NH. In 2007, we moved into our present home, along with Blackie. By this time, she was quite elderly. Her long front teeth had fallen out, and she had developed harmless but large water cysts on her head (we would go regularly to our vet to have them painlessly drained). Shortly after that, she had a minor stroke and became blind. She could eat, use the litter box and walk, but carefully.
We moved things around in “her” room to keep her away from heights and out of danger. At night, I carried her into bed with us, and as usual, she cuddled up to my right side. She slept more and more, but still had her strong and hearty purr whenever I picked her up and patted her. I hated to admit it, but her time was winding down, and I didn’t want her to suffer another stroke or be in pain. She was declining rapidly, so I called my vet and asked her to come over to put her to sleep.
I held Blackie on my lap for the last time. I kissed her repeatedly and told her how much we loved her. When the drug loosened her limbs and closed her eyes, she slipped peacefully away. My dear old friend was 21 years old, and I like to think she had a good life with us. We certainly did with her.
Blackie was my first black cat. Since then, we have had Baby, a black and white “tuxedo” cat who lived next door to us. His owner had brought home three little yappy dogs, and Baby was not happy. He kept visiting us, and during the cold months, we began leaving food, water and a warm bed for him on our porch. Long story short, he ended up with us.
When he passed on, I adopted Pookie, an all black male cat, from a local shelter. Later on, we were feeding a big black and white cat with a fluffy crooked tail who kept coming to our house. After months of caring for him, we took him to the vet and found that he wasn’t neutered nor did he have a microchip. So we took care of both those things, and adopted him; this was Plumpy-Nut.
So, here we are today with Nala, a torti-tiger tabby who had been re-homed several times but has been home with us for years. We still have Pookie and Plumpy, and last year we adopted Tinker, a big yellow tabby whom we fed and sheltered outside for months before adopting. I never in my life thought I would ever have more than one cat at a time, but I have to admit that life is a lot of fun with the Fab Four!
I stand by what I said in the beginning: black cats bring good luck, not bad. Our days have been brighter, happier and more fun with black cats, as well as the others. When I see a black cat and he or she walks across my path, I consider that good luck. So if you are considering adopting a cat, give a black cat a chance. They have always been lucky for me!
*By the way, that shelter was of the nicest I’d ever seen; three tremendous adult cat rooms, a big kitten room, plus an indoor/outdoor room (fenced in wire of course) where the cats could come and go as they pleased. In the middle of it was a fairly tall tree (and yes, the wire mesh went over the top of it) where the cats could climb and perch.