for National Black Cat Day
& of course Halloween
#164 Sleek & Sinuous
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originally published October 2021 for National Black Cat Day
October 27 is National Black Cat Day
This year’s National Black Cat Day is very special to me.
I’ve had black cats for the past 45 years, starting with a kitten who I named Blackwolf, my best buddy for 16 years. There were also Amos & Andy (brothers), Briquette (tiny, light as a piece of charcoal), and another kitten, Jeepers Creepers, who I lost last year at the age of 11.
Since then there have been several strays of various colors — Lil Lion, Mr. Gray & Chirpy (who chirped rather than meowed, very cute). Lil Lion died of leukemia (what a heartbreak that was), the distinguished Mr. Gray tuxedo disappeared in the recent storms, and Chirpy shows up every once in awhile for a good meal. Just a couple months ago a beautiful black cat — sleek & sinuous & very affectionate — started coming around for food. I learned she was left in a cage for five days because her human parent had an accident and is still in the hospital. He was a nearby neighbor. I took Jet in (that was her name, but I call her Jet Black) & she knew this was her new home. It’s uncertain if her former parent will pull through; if he does he can take her back or we can share her, or most likely this will be her forever home…so I thought.
Two weeks ago another neighbor knocked on my door and handed me a tiny black kitten, only 5 or 6 weeks old. I had no idea what to do with him; I was unprepared for a kitten. I have one senior cat (not black) who hisses at all other felines. Fortunately she has welcomed this little one and they even sleep together, when the kitten isn’t sleeping with me, cuddled up next to my face.
I wasn’t sure if I’d ever have another black cat, let alone a kitten. Now I have two black cats…sort of. Jet doesn’t stick around much anymore except to eat and get a good petting and cuddling, then takes off. She might be put off by the kitten, although they have been playing together lately. (Jet is still under a year old, a kitten herself.)
I have wanted to name a black cat something very special, after the signature song of one of my favorite performers, Jimmy Durante. His song is Inka Dinka Doo, and you can listen to it below.
I named the mini monster — he is a kitten, after all — Inky (he’s black) Dinky (so tiny) Doo & sing it to him all the time.
The last two lines of my version goes like this, and he purrs when I sing it:
Ink a dink a dink, a dink a dink, a dink a doo
Ink a dink — I think, I love you
Here’s Jet Black & Inky Dinky Doo, already dressed for Halloween:
About National Black Cat Day
National Black Cat Day was created by Cats Protection on October 27th 2011. When the campaign was launched, statistics revealed that black and black-and-white cats took, on average, seven days longer to find a home compared to cats of other colors.
Thousands of people backed the UK’s first-ever Black Cat Awareness Day – as it was known then – on October 27th, which drew attention to the hundreds of homeless black cats in Cats Protection’s care and the apparent reluctance of people to adopt them.
In most Western cultures, black cats have typically been looked upon as a symbol of evil omens, specifically being suspected of being the familiars of witches, or actually shape-shifting witches themselves.
Most of Europe considers the black cat a symbol of bad luck, particularly if one walks across the path in front of a person, which is believed to be an omen of misfortune and death. In Germany, some believe that black cats crossing a person’s path from right to left, is a bad omen, but from left to right, the cat will bring good luck.
October is Black Cat Awareness Month
A whole host of superstitions surrounding the feline with sable fur have been developed over time, and the one stating that your luck is going to have a downward turn if you have one walk in front of you is the most prevalent.
This should serve as a reminder, however, that it’s probably more likely that Groucho Marx knows what he is talking about. In truth, all it really means when a black cat walks in front of you is that the animal is clearly going somewhere. In this case, perhaps it should either be pet, be given treats, or left well enough alone. None of these choices is going to have an effect on your luck, one way or another.
But that’s just one message being touted by International Black Cat Awareness Month! The month of October – all thirty-one days of it – is all about being aware of those interesting creatures, the black cats.
History of International Black Cat Awareness Month
The superstition about black cats being bad luck is believed to have started sometime around the Middle Ages in Europe through folklore. Some people think black cats are a sign of death, others believe that they are witches in disguise. An association with the color black probably comes from the same ideas that relate black crows and ravens with things of the darkness.
The creation of International Black Cat Awareness Month came about after its creator, Layla Morgan Wilde, noticed that while there are two days dedicated to black cats in the world (one in the UK, one in the US) there wasn’t anything dedicated to them on a national level.
Wilde realized that such an observation was desperately needed. This was because superstitions surrounding black cats had gotten so out of control that shelters wouldn’t even adopt them out during October any longer! Too often the cats were being adopted as part of the Halloween holiday mystique, and would later be abandoned (or worse) after the holiday passed. So Wilde wanted to do something about it.
Throughout the rest of the year, it can often be more difficult to get black cats to be adopted. How much more difficult? Black cats are adopted at a rate 50% lower than any other color of cat, which is very difficult for a cat lover of any sort to understand at all. A sable furred cat is perhaps one of the most beautiful animals to walk the earth!
So the month of October has been designated as the time to pay heed to black cats with the aim of giving a loving home to those that need them.
How To Celebrate International Black Cat Awareness Month
Consider these ideas for celebrating Black Cat Awareness Month on your own or with a group of cat lovers:
Dispel Myths About Black Cats
The first and best way is to do your part in dispelling the myths surrounding black cats and their supposed luck-altering abilities. In fact, one interesting tidbit to share is that in ancient Egyptian times, black cats were often viewed as divine creatures in whom the gods lived. At one point, the Irish believed that finding a black cat on the porch was good luck, and the Japanese also tend to hold black cats in high esteem – as symbols of prosperity!
But, really, any cat lover knows that black cats are not witches in disguise or evil in any way. In fact, they’re absolutely no different than any other color cat. They’re adorable, lovable creatures that need love and attention from kind humans!
Adopt a Black Kitten from a Shelter
For those who are thinking of going to a shelter to adopt a kitten, consider adopting a black kitten to ensure they find their way into a good home. And if it’s a black kitten with special needs, it’s even that much better! (Special needs cats get adopted at rates below that of even healthy black kittens, so special needs black kittens are especially in need of love!)
Bringing the love of a new black furbaby in your life, or helping another one get adopted, is the best celebration they could hope for during Black Cat Awareness Month.
Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
Not just for this month but for all the year-round, get started volunteering to help out at a local animal shelter. Many shelters take in cats and dogs and need help with cleaning cages, taking care of the animals, and giving them the love and attention they so deserve.
They might also need office staff or help with arranging to adopt out the animals to new homes. Check with a local pet shelter to see what kind of volunteer help they might need.
Raise Awareness for Black Cat Awareness Month
Share the plight of black cats with friends and family members who might be interested in adopting a black cat or kitten of their own. In fact, one of the reasons that many people like to adopt black cats is the fact that black cat shedding is less obvious than cat hair of other colors. Plus, it’s a great way to be sure that black cats are kept safe during the Halloween season!
Get excited about Black Cat Awareness Month and help out these creatures that are otherwise helpless – but completely loveable!
Other days of celebration for the sleek & sinuous black cat (& fluffy fat black cats too) are:
Black Cat Appreciation Day August 17
All cats are celebrated on these days:
Hug Your Cat Day June 4
Global Cat Day October 16
National Cat Day October 29
Cat Herders Day December 15
And if you love big cats:
World Lion Day August 10
RIP BLACKWOLF, AMOS & ANDY, BRIQUETTE, JEEPERS CREEPERS, & ALL MY FRIENDS’ & NEIGHBORS’ BLACK CATS WHO WILL BE CELEBRATING NATIONAL BLACK CAT DAY IN HALLOWEEN HEAVEN
Production notes for #164 Sleek & Sinuous:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Photoshop
Font: none; Maryam
Ampersand: cat just showing off his awesome tail
References & images:
Illustration: deslns, depositphotos.com (modified by Chaz DeSimone)
Text credits as noted
Note: “&” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11x17-inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.
Chaz DeSimone is the creator of AmperArt and owner of Desimone Design. He was adding serifs to letters when he was just a little brat scribbling on walls. Now he’s a big brat and his entire career is design, so long as each project requires the most sophisticated, logical, captivating results. Contact him at email@example.com to discuss your project, pick his brain, or just talk shop.