#164 Sleek & Sinuous

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:

Jet Black
Inky Dinky Doo

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


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, deposit​pho​tos​.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 Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

Visit DesimoneDesign.com

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 chaz@​desimonedesign.​com to dis­cuss your project, pick his brain, or just talk shop.

Chaz sez...

Who banned the ampersand?

Whoever thought up the syntax for Universal Resource Locators (URLs) was 100% coder & 0% copywriter. No foresight whatsoever! We can’t even use common punctuation in a URL except for the hyphen & underscore. It sure makes my AmperArt URLs ugly and hard to understand. 
This is just one of the rants on my blog, chaz sez.
Rants & raves mostly about design, sometimes about the universe.
An occasional bit of useful advice.
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