Oct 30, 2009


As a little girl, I remember, black cats depicted in story books were meant to be scary. But, the pictures of them with their arched backs, fluffy tails, midnight fur, and wild eyes fascinated me. I had never seen a cat like that. My own Tabby was mild, plain looking, and she never took on that arched back pose. By the time I was seven I thought I knew everything there was to know about cats until my best girlfriend's cat gave birth. There, among the calico and 3 tabbies was one little helpless coal black kitten. Suddenly I realized that black cats were just like all the other kittens. This little Blackie was soft and purring, kneading it's mama's belly, and mewing with milk on it's chin. Oh, how I wanted to adopt that kitty!

When Blackie came to live with us and grew up into a shiny blue-black velvet cat, I learned very quickly that some people were afraid of him, or said he was bad luck. I remembered the childhood storybook, but didn't understand how that story could make people feel that way about black cats. I was sad for these people that they didn't know how loving and special Blackie was. He had never brought me bad luck. He was good luck!!!

We had a special friendship Blackie and I. He was more than my cat. He was my friend. He knew all about my most secret things, because I told him, and I knew he always listened. Even if he was asleep, he flicked his ears to show me he was hearing what I said. Sometimes he would look deep into my eyes as if he wanted me to know that he would always be there for me. And if you can believe this, he gave me other special messages in my dreams.

If I overslept for school, he would appear in my dream running ahead of me to school. Then, I realized I was going to be late and I woke up. Another time I had spent the day ice skating at the local outdoor skating rink with my friends. It was very cold out, and most kids left early. I loved to skate so much, and even though it hurt to breathe in the cold air hurt, I stayed until the sun went down. Blackie was there at the driveway to greet me switching his tail back and forth as if scolding me. I was so tired when I got home I actually went to bed early and fell asleep. Unfortunately, I still felt like I was breathing in that brittle cold air. I had bad dreams that night. I was so sick with fever. Blackie ran to my mother jumping on her bed and pestered her until she followed him to my room.

It hurt to breathe and I was so sick my parents took me to the hospital. I had pneumonia. The whole time I was in the hospital Blackie walked back and forth between my room and the front door giving a mew each time he reached the door. When I came home he laid down on my bed with me and didn't get up unless I did. Not only did he save my life, but continued to care for me until I was well.

When I was a teenager, we moved to a farm twenty miles away from town. We began to worry about Blackie when we were unpacking boxes. He kept going to the door and meowing loudly and insistently. We tried to be careful Blackie wouldn't get out by keeping him in one room with the door closed until he was familiar with our new home. But, that night, he had found a loose screen, and before we knew it, he was gone! Next day, we hunted all over the farm, calling and calling. We told our new neighbors to watch out for a big black shiny cat with a yellow collar and tag. But no one had seen him. Some were surprised we had a black cat. I set them straight right away. It was good luck to have a black cat. I told them. Blackie had saved my life! Some people's attitudes changed hearing the story. Blackie was a good ambassador on behalf of all black cats because of that.

Sometimes you read unbelievable stories about animals finding their way back to their homes when they are lost. Those stories seemed so incredible to me. I don't know why Blackie left us. After about two weeks I dreamed he was back at our old house. I kept telling my parents that is where he was. They knew about our "dream connection". So, we drove back there, and there he was sitting on the front porch of our empty old house, looking pretty miserable. He was so glad to see us! I'm sure that is why he decided the farm was the best place to stay.

Sometimes Blackie would send me dreams of chasing down mice. Thanks a lot Blackie! Next morning there was his mousie gift left for me on the doorstep. I guess he figured if we dreamed of hunting together, I should get a part of the spoils. One time I had such a real dream, it was like I was there, like Blackie and I were one. It was a scary dream and I couldn't wake up. Blackie was being chased by a big dog. He ran so fast twisting and turning in every direction trying to get away. In the dream I was running with him fearful and stressed and scared. You know how in dreams you feel like you can hardly walk fast or run? Like you are trying to run under water? But in this dream I could keep up with Blackie as the vicious dog chased us. Sometimes in the dream I felt like I was Blackie, and not myself anymore. When we found him on the front step that morning I knew the dream was his last desperate message to let me know we still had our special bond. He had helped me in the past, and now I had helped him. Blackie licked my fingers as I petted him, and then he went to sleep forever. But he didn't stop dreaming with me for a long time. Happy dreams with him purring as we cuddled. That's why he was so special to me, and now it gives me good luck every time I adopt a new black cat.

There's a certain mysterious beauty in the dark presence of a black cat. I have had more than one in my life and even though they all had their individual personalities, they have taught me to not be afraid of the dark, as they are a part of it. If you ever walk at night and your black cat is nearby, you cannot see them in the darkness, and if they are walking toward you and you trip on them it may seem a bit frightening to think you might have hurt them. I learned to walk more carefully at night, to look around to peer into corners, to look and see if my cat is nearby. My black cats have taught me to carry no fear in the darkness. If I observe the darkness carefully, I can learn things about my own dark side. Normally I would not have wanted to look at the darkness without fear. My black cats have helped me to understand if I look into the dark and see them, I will always be comforted and I can be reassured morning will arise. When you look at things that were frightening at night, the light of day changes your outlook. Life has a dark side and a lighter side, and we must embrace them both.


Anonymous said...

That is an amazing story. I never thought of black cats as bad luck, as I love every cat I have ever met.
One of my cousins had a black cat named Cinder. I am not sure if it happened on Halloween or not but someone got a hold of her and sliced her stomach open, I am pretty sure it was an occult thing. Cinder somehow managed to get away from them and got home and was taken to the vet to be taken care of. I couldn't believe that people could be so cruel...

Elizabeth Munroz said...

Oh, that is so sad! I hope Cinder is okay now and living out the rest of her 9 lives peacefully and in good health.