25

Celebrating Black Cats with Onyx

Greetings from Snoops and Kommando Kitty. Today we’d like to introduce you to our cousin Onyx, our favorite black cat.

Hello everyone, I’m Onyx. I’m usually not in the spotlight because my younger, more assertive, sister Thunder generally hogs the blog. However, in honor of Halloween and Black Cat Appreciation Month, I convinced her to let me write about black cats and how cool we are. Here are some interesting facts and information about black kitties to make your October a little more cat-tastic!

Melanism 

Black cats have a condition known as melanism. This accounts for our black furs, and in many cats, our yellow eyes. Melanism is an overabundance of pigmentation, making it the flip side of albinism. However, even though black cats have extra pigmentation, we are still prone to sunburn and outdoor cats should plan their sunscreen accordingly. 

Black Breeds

Although many breeds can have black coloring in their fur patterns, only 22 breeds of cats can be genetically defined as a “black cat”. The most common breed of black cats is the Bombay (I happen to be a Bombay). Other breeds include the Chantilly-Tiffany, the Cornish Rex, the American Curl, the Japanese Bobtail, the Sphynx, and several Short-haired cats (such as British, Exotic, Oriental and American). 

Genetics 

While black is considered a dominant trait for fur color, to be truly classified as a black cat, both parents need to have the black trait. Fun fact- tabby is the most common pattern of black fur! 

Color Changes 

Certain conditions can change the black coloring of the fur. As black cats age, their furs may fade to grey or white. Additionally, if black cats get enough sun, their fur will highlight to a brown or a red-rust color. However, the rust color will return to black when the exposure to sunlight stops. Once the fur ages to white, the change is permanent. 

Immune Systems 

Black cats are believed to have better immune systems than other cats. Although the reason why is unknown, research has indicated that black cats have a lower chance of developing feline leukemia and feline HIV. 

Pawsome Personalities 

Although all cats have wonderful personalities, some typical personality traits you’ll find in a black cat include playfulness, high intelligence, curiosity, and friendliness. Black cats also tend to be very loyal companions, and adapt easily to changes. We’re also quite aware of our surroundings, and keen to stress and emotions in our humans. Because of this, black cats are often sweet and compassionate- I happen to know when my human is about to have a panic attack, and make sure I cling extra close to her until I can get her calm. Black cats would make great therapy cats! 

Adoption Issues  

Every cat deserves a loving forever home, no matter what color fur they have. Unfortunately, black cats have the lowest adoption rating of any color out there- but we also have the highest surrender rate of any color. 30% of all shelter intakes are black furred creatures. Because of the high give-up rates and low take home rates, black cats are more likely to be euthanized when the shelter runs out of space or if they don’t adopt out quickly enough- how cruel! And while many shelters won’t adopt out black cats during the month of October (especially the later weeks near Halloween), that still leaves 11 months out of the year to consider making your new family member a furry black one- or, at the very least, encouraging your circle to adopt a black cat!

Celebrations 

There are four formal recognitions of black cats nationally in America; three days and a whole month! August 17th is Black Cat Appreciation Day, October 27th is National Black Cat Day, Black Cat Friday in November (typically the closest Friday to November 13th); and the whole month of October is Black Cat Appreciation Month. 

Myths

There are several myths surrounding black cats. The most common one is that black cats are unlucky (this is particularly common in America and Europe), although in Japan a black cat signifies good luck. In Germany, the luck of the black cat depends on which direction it is walking on their encounter with you- left to right indicates good luck is coming, but right to left means bad luck is ahead. The Italians believe if a black cat jumps next to someone while they’re ill, that person will soon pass away.

Some cultures tie myths of wealth into black cats- in Scotland, some believe if a black cat appears on your porch, money will be coming to you soon. On the other hand, in China, black cats are thought to bring poverty with them. An older myth is that black cats are witches, and that witches kept black cats to sneak around and cast spells. It was believed that witches could shape shift into black cats, and even in current culture, black cats are often pictured alongside witches. This may be why black cats are associated with Halloween so frequently. 

Black Cats in Society 

Perhaps the most famous black cat in American society today would be Salem, the companion of Sabrina from “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”. Other televised black cats are Luna from “Sailor Moon”, Felix the Cat (an animated character from when animation was becoming popular) and Snowball II from “The Simpsons”. Black cats have also made companions to famous people, including India, the cat of former American president George W. Bush, and Gladstone, the official cat of the HM Treasury in the UK. There is also Hodge, the kitty of author Samuel Johnson.

There are cats famous from literature, such as Mr. Mistofflees from “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S Elliot (and the musical “Cats); Pluto from “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allen Poe; and Behemoth from “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Buglakov. Some other notable black cats are Blackie, the cat who inherited millions of dollars; Homer, the blind wonder cat; Trim, the first kitty to circumnavigate Australia and who saved his human during the journey; and Oscar the bionic cat, a double back leg amputee with prosthetic paws. 

I truly enjoyed writing this post, and I hope you enjoyed reading about the magnificent black cats of the world. Next time you encounter a black cat, please treat them with kindness (and soak in their good looks), and if you need a new furry member in your life, think about bringing one home!

Wishing you all a safe and fun Halloween, with furs and purrs, 

Onyx Katt

28

Cat Forum Interview with Chloe and Charlie

Today we are here with Chloe and Charlie from Insights from the Edge  (We are not sure what it is the edge of; it must be a human thing.) It is written by their mom Amy. She does not write about cats, but it’s pretty interesting anyway. Apparently she writes for a living, so that’s probably why it’s pretty good. It would be better if she wrote about cats.

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Tell us a little bit about each of you.
Chloe: My lady told me other humans found me under a dumpster at three weeks old. I was the only girl. I had many brothers. One was blind. He was a good guy. The rest were annoying. I met my lady when I was eight weeks old. She ignored me, so I liked her. All the other humans who came were so annoying. They picked me up and tried to poke me. My human wouldn’t look at me. So don’t you know, I had some things to say to her. I climbed up her arm and stuck my nose in her nose and that was it. I told her she was to be my lady. That was that. And oh, yah, Charlie. Well, that first night the lady put me in the bathroom. I said, “Absolutely, no way, lady. You will take me out of here right this instance.” She did. Then I met Charlie and he was so dirty I had to start cleaning him right there. 
Charlie: All my brothers and sisters died in a flood. Well, there was one other, my last sister. We were together a few weeks, then my lady came and took me. I heard her tell her man that my sister was adopted by a little girl. On her fifth birthday my sister ran into the street and was hit by a car. I’m happy with my lady. But she left me alone a lot in the beginning and when she got back I let her know how unhappy I was. She brought home a few friends for me. They weren’t any fun. One hid under the cold thing where food comes from. She took them away. All I wanted to do was play. Why does everyone get so mad at me? 
When my lady brought Chloe I liked her a lot. She cleans me and sleeps with me and when she thinks I’m not looking she puts her legs around me in the winter. 
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How many humans do you have? Do you live with any other creatures?
Chloe: I have two humans, a lady and man, and one cat, an orange Charlie. After he goes, I’ve called a moratorium on pets. Charlie is just too much. He whines all the time, sleeps on my human when I want to, and doesn’t even have the decency to cover his number one or two. Also, he almost never cleans himself, which means I have to. Exhausting. 
Charlie: I have a lady and there’s a guy that lives here, and another cat. She’s not very nice all the time. I like it when it’s just my lady and me. She loves only me. She feeds me treats and everything. I like that because it is just like it was when I was a little boy, before everyone else. 
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Do you guys always get along or do you get hissy once in a while?
 Chloe: (heavy sigh) I guess he’s all right. He’s big and warm. I do enjoy sticking my paws under his belly where it’s especially soft. But that’s all. Sometimes he really makes me mad and we fight and he’s huge and I end up under the piano bench yelling at him to go away. 
Charlie: I love her and love to play. Then she gets really mad. I don’t know why. Then mom separates us. I don’t know why. But then she comes upstairs, where I am, and she sits by the door until mom lets me out. So I think she loves me too. 
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Do you have a favorite place to hang out?
Chloe: The couch
Charlie: Ditto
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It says that your Mom lives in LA. Is that a good place to be a cat?
Chloe: It’s not. We don’t get to go outside very much. Too many humans and dogs and loud scary monsters roaring and racing by. We have a nice porch outside, but I don’t spend much time there anymore. I did when I was young, but I’m tired now. I do occasionally. I like to smell the smells.
Charlie: I’d like to go outside and explore, but mom says no. We play inside with the red dot. One day I’ll catch it. I  have a little bird that makes a lot of noise, but I’d rather go outside. I get bored.
(We like cat TV. It varies at the different windows.)
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Do you get to eat trendy food?

Chloe: Oh, we do. Venison. I’ve made my human spare no expense. And the most expensive treats I could find. You get what you pay for, after all.

 

 

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What’s your favorite way to spend time with your human?
Chloe: I think I speak for both of us when I say, when she’s at home, on our couch and it’s just us. (except it’s annoying when she’s tapping away on that board of hers. I always let her know it’s time to stop. She should be sleeping, like any sane cat.)
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If each of you had one wish, what would it be?
Chloe: To be well. I’ve been sick all my life. Mommy holds me and walks me around and I like that. She makes it better a lot. She tries to know what to do. And I don’t ever want to go to that place where they poke me and stretch me and make me so scared. I don’t ever want to go there again. I want to feel good.
(We agree. Those people try to be nice, but they’re not. Have you tried catnip tea? If it doesn’t make you healthier, at least you’ll be happy.)
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Charlie: To be with Mommy, alone.
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Don’t forget to check out Insights from the Edge. Even if it’s not about cats.
(We apologize if the formatting is weird. WordPress would not cooperate.)