Yes, that rich black fur does seem to hold a mystery, and the contrast of bright eyes like gems in that fur is positively enchanting. Each day a spell is cast upon me by one or more black cats, and I am helpless to resist their charms…
Certainly if black cats had some particular magic effect on humans I’d be experiencing the effects five-fold—even six-fold. I admit, I feel a great amount of creative inspiration. Feels like magic to me.
But perhaps other humans aren’t subject to their charms, or they need a greater dose of black cat charisma to get the full effect because black cats are often passed over for adoption at shelters and rescues. Friday the 13th of any month is one of those days when superstitions edge up a bit, and black cats have always been somehow related to it all.
It may be superstition, or fear of an animal whose shape and shiny black fur pricks our instinctive fear of wild animals who are black such as panthers, bears and snakes. Because they are black their bright eyes and white teeth contrast with the depths of their fur and their gaze may appear to be a menacing glare instead of a curious and intelligent expression, their yawn may look like a snarl. Seeing the reactions of visitors to me and my friendly cats over the years, the reaction to gray and white Namir’s slanted green eyes was usually, “Isn’t he handsome!” and an immediate affection session ensued while often the reaction to Giuseppe with the same expression was, “Why is that cat staring at me?” even from people who knew cats. Even now when up to five black cats greet visitors, eagerly reaching to touch them and make contact, I see a little hesitation and surprise, but perhaps that’s just the overwhelming effect of five black cats all at once!
Really, I think it’s because they are simply hard for our eyes to figure out—they are dark and we often can’t see familiar details like noses and cheekbones and even whiskers, and if they are curled we often can’t see the familiar shape of a cat’s body. Also, the human eye is drawn to color and pattern, and all those torties and calicoes and tabbies and spotted cats are visually interesting at first glance, where it takes a bit to look over a black cat and orient ourselves to that same feline shape beneath.
I’m not one to think coat color and personality have much in common any more than human skin color indicates personality. Many people say black cats are friendlier and more intelligent than other cats, bit I think that’s only because they’ve had a spell cast on them by a black cat, the spell of love from having shared their life with a black cat, and it’s only natural to elevate those we love to a higher pedestal than all else around.
Each day on The Creative Cat I do my best to present my five wonderful black cats, literally, in the best light. I love to show off my fur children and share my inspirations, but especially since these five have been with me I’ve found an opportunity to do even more, to show these wonderful cats in their everyday life. It’s been a challenge in the six years they’ve been with me, to use natural light and natural settings to share their beauty with anyone who will look and hope that any last vestiges of fear or superstition or a sense of unfamiliarity can be dispelled by seeing these five black cats simply being a bunch of happy, friendly cats. I do have a category for “black cats” which holds 1,489 posts of photos, art and stories, and in the category list you can also choose any of the black cats who’ve lived with me and see posts that feature them, or you can simply scroll through my posts each day and you’ll quickly get your fill of black cats—and you’ll want to adopt one immediately, I’m sure!
And that’s a good thing because shelters and rescues often have “black cat adoption” specials in the fall when we really do find many black cats still waiting for their forever home. In nearly every “cats for adoption” post I’ve entered here you’ll find at least one black cat or kitten who is looking for a home, often multiple black cats.
Also, if your black cat needs to be spayed or neutered, whether it’s your cat or a community cat you care for outdoors, spay or neuter is free for all black cats at the Homeless Cat Management Team clinic on October 27!
“The Black Cat: Myth, Mystery and Symbolism” by Sally Bahner outlines the black cat myth well—it’s my favorite article on this subject, and I can see Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine pulling Freya’s chariot, well, after they’ve had a bit of a nap in the sun.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
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