I have been in love with Bob ever since I read the British edition of A Street Cat Named Bob more than three years ago, and have followed the amazing journey of the pair since then. As far as life-changing cats go, Bob is in a league of his own.
Black cats have played a major role in superstitions, folklore and mythology for centuries. In the Middle Ages, black cats were believed to be witches’ familiars, and many even believed that black cats were reincarnated witches or messengers of witches or demons. The association of black cats with witches has become so ingrained in our culture that they’ve become synonymous with Halloween.
The cat wasn’t associated with witchcraft until sometime in the 16th century. A popular British legend claims that in the 1560’s, a father and son were frightened by a small creature darting across their path on a moonless night. After throwing stones after the creature, they saw that it was an injured black cat dart out of a crawl space and into the home of a woman suspected to be a witch. When the father and son saw the woman on the street the next day, the woman walked with a limp and had a bruised and bandaged face and arm. From that day on, all black cats were suspected of being witches, and apparently, the legend held. This notion of witches transforming themselves into black cats became a mainstay of belief during the Salem witch hunts in America.
Interestingly, the folklore surrounding black cats varies from culture to culture. In Britain and Japan, having a black cat cross your path is considered good luck; in the United States and several European countries, having a black cat walk by is considered bad luck. It even seems to matter from which direction the black cat comes from: 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 brings good luck.
Black cats are said to bring good luck to sailors, whereas most gamblers believe that when a black cat crosses a player’s path, they should not go to the casino.
Other black cat superstitions include the belief that having a black cat turn his back on your brings bad luck, while having a black cat greet you at the door brings good luck. Meeting a black cat early in the morning is said to bring bad luck, but meeting three black cats in succession is said to bring good fortune.
Thankfully, despite all of these superstitions, black cats have a large, loyal following of people who appreciate these sleek, gorgeous creatures in all their beauty.
I’m a writer, a psychologist, and a cat lover. And sometimes the three worlds mix. I created two fictional cats (Barney and Scout in the Dream Club Mysteries*) and I have eight adorable rescued cats at home. Both my fictional cats and my own fur babies have many traits in common; they spend their days bird-watching, playing and of course, sleeping. I always feel calm, centered and happy when I’m with my cats; there’s something peaceful and comforting about their presence.Continue Reading
Last Sunday, I got to meet Samantha Martin and the Amazing Acro-Cats. I had seen videos of their performances for several years, and I was delighted that I finally got to see the hour long show, featuring over a dozen beautiful rescue cats who perform tricks ranging from walking on tightropes and balls to jumping through hoops to bowling and ringing bells.
Even better, before the show, I had a chance to talk with Samantha, and to meet the cats.Continue Reading
When Elizabeth Moore went to her local veterinary clinic to buy food for her cat Toby, she wasn’t planning on falling in love with a little tortie kitten. Little did she know that less than a year later, Lucy would save her life. Here is Lucy’s story, in Elizabeth’s own words.Continue Reading
Those of you who’ve known me for a while know that I really dislike the term “crazy cat lady.” I feel that it diminishes those of us who love cats for the unique and wonderful creatures that they are by assigning a label that has a negative connotation, even if it’s used with humorous self-deprecation. Mayim Bialik and PetSmart Charities agree with me that it’s time to bust the stereotype. Continue Reading
Tashirojima is a small island off the coast of Japan. It has become known as “Cat Island” due to the large stray cat population: cats on the island outnumber people four to one. Cat Heaven Island is a feature documentary that will take a look into the lives of the people and the cats who live on this beautiful peace of land.Continue Reading
We live in a culture that doesn’t like to discuss death, let alone look at it, yet pet guardians who ask former zookeeper and Portland-based photographer Kristin Zabawa to take pictures of their dying pets say the photos are critical in helping them process their grief.
For the past five years, Zabawa has been quietly capturing the final moments between guardians and their pets during what she calls “SoulSessions.” Continue Reading
More than four years ago, on March 11, 2011, a devastating earthquake struck 40 miles off the coast of Japan. The quake tilted the earth’s axis and triggered a series of powerful tsunamis, which wrought destruction for more than 6 miles inland. Sixteen thousand people died. There are no statistics on how many animals died in the quake, but the number is sure to be staggering. The earthquake damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in the complete evacuation and closure of a 20 km restricted zone around the reactor. Many animals were left behind as a result of this evacuation.Continue Reading
An innovative Florida program that has been spaying, neutering, and vaccinating community cats since 1998 is about to share its successful model with the nation.
Founded by Dr. Julie Levy, director of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, the trap-neuter-return (TNR) program known as Operation Catnip has been running free high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter clinics for community cats in Gainesville for more than 16 years. Since its founding, the organization has cared for more than 45,000 cats. In 2014 alone, they helped 2,693 cats and prevented the births of a projected 6,142 kittens who might have been born to the now-sterilized cats in the first year following surgery.Continue Reading
Thanks to a new charity, you no longer have to feel guilty for watching cat videos online when you should perhaps be doing something a little more productive, like feeding your cats. Cats vs. Cancer is the brainchild of two Georgetown University graduates, Tom O’Connor and Eddie Peña. This innovative charity raises money through advertising; a portion of those dollars earned by Cats vs. Cancer, along with all direct donations, go to one of the non-profit’s cancer-fighting partners.Continue Reading