Black Velvet

August 17th is  Black Cat Appreciation Day – and it’s a reminder that black cats are often born to sad fates. Why are they left behind? Why are they unloved? Why are they feared or abused? Why do they wait forever for an adoption that never comes? It is not them… it’s us.

This is an invitation to all enlightened people to give black cats a chance… and a second look. They not only deserve us; they need us.

I invite all of you – far and wide – to pick August 17th to celebrate your black cat’s birthday. This is especially wonderful and handy if, like me, your cat came to you later in its life and you don’t know the actual birthday. Let’s celebrate something good… something happy!

BL4My black cat is named Shadow. Shadow joined our family 4 years ago at the age of about 5. We don’t know how old she is, but she looks the same as the day she arrived. She could be any age really.

Shadow was trapped by animal control in a town about 1.5 hours away from our home. She had been living rough in the streets – declawed. Abused, frightened, and terrified of men, she wouldn’t even make eye contact. She had a broken tail (which has nerve damage, doesn’t work properly, and will never heal), a weepy eye, and big sorrowful eyes that tell tales of hurt and fear. She sat there – catatonic and disengaged when we met her.

There are dozens of black cats looking for homes nearby. So many kitties are in desperate need. So why this one? Why drive 3 hours round trip for a stray? Well, we’d seen her on Petfinder and were captured by those eyes. Never underestimate the power of a good adoption photo! She was so scared and miserable… resigned to a sad fate. In her month in animal control, no one was interested in her. We had to get her.

Shadow is now our funny girl. An enigma. She runs from us daily… if you move too quickly she’s gone like a flash of sable lightening. She won’t even eat with another cat around or if we’re watching her. She watches most of the action in the house from a distance. She is suspicious of everything. And if there is a new person in the house, she’s less than a shadow… a ghost. Yet – she always has a hopeful part of her.

She wants so much to be loved… but it’s tentative and timid. Every day when we sit still, she’s on us immediately. She’s come a long way with slow courage to get to this point. She wants to come and sit on our laps to be petted… but she won’t come unless you put a blanket or throw on your lap first. Then she will curl up and purr forever if you don’t move. She will push her head into your hand to be petted. And drool like a dog in happiness. If you move, twitch, or try to change positions she’s gone in a blink. She longs to be petted – rolls like a fool and sometimes falls off the couch in her bliss of being loved.

She’s got an awkward acceptance of Mouci. She does get terrorized by Nuala who wants to chase her and play. And she has us… to give her the security, love and petting she needs.

Every year we see more of her sweet, gentle nature. She is the most gentle-natured cat I’ve ever met. I’m so glad I gave this black cat a chance and reason to hope!

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