To many, black cats are the most beautiful of felids, for their color shows their glossy coats to their best advantage and nicely emphasizes their eyes—most striking when blue or orange. I had a black cat, Pangur, for 18 years, and loved him a lot. Many readers who also love their black cats sent in photos for our special Halloween Caturday feature. Every cat submitted is shown below. There are, I believe, 72.
But first I want to dedicate this post to Fitness (in Polish, “Fitnes”), the black cat of Gosia, the upstairs lodger at Andrzej and Malgorzata’s house in Dobrzyn. Fitness was 13 years old when he wandered away from the house, never to return, only two days after I left Poland this fall. His staff is distraught and misses him, and it looks as if he’s gone for good.
As I explained a while back, “Fitness” acquired his name because he was found on a rainy day, a sodden kitten outside a fitness center (gym) in Poland. After adoption, he grew into a beautiful and loving cat, but one wary of humans (and cats) outside his family. Only Andrzej enjoyed the privilege of taking Fitness in his lap. Hili hated Fitness, but they arranged a truce so they never encountered each other outside. So here, in memoriam, are two pictures of the beloved and now vanished Fitness:
I’ll start the readers’ contributions with what I considered the most striking photo of all the cats (the close-up of Tiny’s eyes, below, comes a close second); this was sent by reader John O’Neall. Sadly, this cat is no more:
I don’t know if deceased cats are eligible. But this one is so present for us even two years after his demise, we feel as if we are haunted by him, so that should qualify some. Figaro was a lean (not mean), handsome, elegant, graceful, noble …. well, you get the idea. He was some cat. We miss him a lot, except in the wee small hours when he creeps up into our bed…
Here he is in his “Le chat noir” pose. Happy hallowe’en.
For those readers unfamiliar with the “Chat Noir” reference, that was a late 19th-century artist’s cabaret in Paris famously advertised with this poster by artist Théophile Steinlen. You’ve certainly seen this before; compare to the late Figaro above:
Reader Doris Fromage sent an unnamed and semi-feral cat:
Here is one for your Halloween collection. She does not have a name. When we bought our new house in May, 3 feral cats came with the property. The other two are a wild-type brown tabby and a medium-hair brown tabby who looks like a Maine Coon. This black cat is the dominant one, and once she gets to know you, she’s really sweet. Out here in the country, people often keep some feral cats around to keep the snakes away. It’s not like the cats go mano-a-mano with the snakes, but, rather, that in removing all the mice and rats around the house, the cats remove any reason for the snakes to come visiting. The previous owners wanted to leave the cats behind, as they’re all about 12 years old, and thus too old to capture and remove to a totally strange new place. We were fine with this arrangement – we have a tuxedo of our own who is that same age; he and the barn cats observe a discrete and respectful distance. Oh, and from the location of the box, it’s clear that she doesn’t have Maru tendencies.
Reader Pascal Nelson:
Here is a picture of my black cat named Albert enjoying the morning sun, on the Big Island of Hawaii. He is a pretty hefty cat – about 16 lbs, and is 10 years old. Our daughter dubbed Albert the “Lanai Puma” (lanai is the Hawaiian term for a covered porch). BTW, Albert has a sister (not black) named Victoria.
Charles Minus (who got two photos since I couldn’t resist the second):
Here’s my 14 year old Tiny, an affectionate female. Can’t imagine life without her. Happy Halloween!
Look at those eyes!
You might remember Theo, the Cat Who Drinks Espresso. Well, here’s his entry from staff members Laurie and Gethyn:
Here you go, Jerry! Theo, the non-conformist, has decided that instead of adopting the stereotypical “black cat with arched back” Halloween posture, he shall instead display a concave back. Besides, he feels this is much more conducive to belly rubs. “Somebody, please pet my belly!”
Robin Cornwell sent a photo of “the girls,” Artemis and Luna:
And reader Sharon sent her fluffy boy:
This is my cat, Ajax. He is a Maine Coon.
Reader Frédéric sent two pictures of his cat, and I’m using them both to show both larval and adult stage:
Please find pictures pics of our black cat Romeo at various ages, with my permission to use them for your forthcoming Halloween post. He’s now 5 years old and lives in Geneva, Switzerland with his sister Juliette (who looks a bit like Hili).
Romeo all grown up!
Readers Jeff and Nancy sent in a picture of their new black cat:
Daisy is the former shelter cat to whom we became staff just three weeks ago. She is a sweet cat known for her large, exotic eyes.
Reader Sarah Crews sent a picture of one of her favorite semi-adopted cats, Lisette:
She is 1 of our 9 cats, and the only one that is all black. She has a big mane in the winter that disappears in the spring and everyone asks if we cut her hair. Likes: Playing with the Cat Dancer, walking on people while they sleep, purring. Dislikes: Meezles, Buster [two other cats].
From reader Tim Traynor:
Here is a picture Baxley, the smallest of our five cats, weighing about 6 pounds. Although he is the smallest he is also the toughest and most fearless. He also possesses the stereotypical feline bite neuron, the neuron that randomly and unexpectedly fires even when Bax is cuddled, content and purring in one’s lap. Baxley is the only one of our cats with this trait. This is likely why Baxley remained at the local animal shelter for many months before we found him. The staff at the shelter got a little emotional when we adopted him as they thought he may never find a home. Even with this flaw Baxley is sweet and has been an endless source of entertainment in the 6+ years we have served as his staff.
From Reader Rich:
This is our black cat Mia, doing one of things she does best – muscling in on a comfy spot! (I hope it’s not breaking da roolz to have a bonus bit of tabby in the picture!)
From reader Adrian J.:
Here is a pic of Tuppy resting his head on the legs of my fiancé, Kate. His act of Halloween evilness was to give me fleas, hence the sinister grin.
From Steve Obrebski (note the bird outside):
Our cat Minnie contemplating a snack.
Here we appear to have a note from the cat itself:
Ciao. My name is Lùlu, 1 year old all black she-cat and want to live at the top. Have a nice day
(the human animal, Alessandra Bacci from Firenze, Italia. http://obli.tumblr.com/)
Reader Phillip, who gave his black cat almost the same name as mine:
I know I’m late to the party on this, but I wanted to send you a picture of my three-year-old black cat. I found her wandering the neighborhood when she was about six months old. She’s all black except for about a dozen white hairs on her throat, and she’s already caught two mice in my house. I named her after the famous cat of the Old Irish poem, Pangur Ban, but “ban” means “white,” so I named her Pangur Dub (“dub” of course meaning
From reader Chris:
Twelve-year old “Lola” was a rescue cat, actually our daughter Julie’s rescue cat, but she lives with us, Chris and Mary King. She’s usually a reclusive cat around strangers, but for some odd reason enjoys meeting Trick Or Treaters at our door over the years. Is it the costumes?
From reader Jonathan:
Here’s a photo of Payback. My wife Veronica named Payback when she found her in a ditch, and took her home to live with her. As in “I saved your life, paybacks are hell.” Payback passed over the rainbow bridge a few years ago, but she was the sweetest cat ever. Not too bright perhaps, but absolutely loving. And, she enjoyed being the center of attention, hence the picture of her on top of the TIVO wondering why we were always looking at her.
I got this submission last night from reader Judy G, who sent a differently-abled cat:
This is Captain Olive the Malformed, Pirate Kitty. We just call her Olive around here though. She was adopted in Savannah, GA in 2008 but lives in Denver now. She was rescued from under a house when she was just a few days old. The whole litter and cat mom had contracted an upper respiratory infection. Her infection had moved to her eye [JAC: the eye was removed] and she was the only cat the VCA could save. Her hobbies include sitting on black things and subsequently surprising her humans, she also likes to punch her tolerant brother from another mother, Gus, in the face—over and over and over and over and… Sorry for the late submission but as with all black cats she is notoriously difficult to photograph (well).
From reader Leo:
This is our beautiful panther Guercino, asking if he could please go out onto the roof. He is named after Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, a 17th-century painter from my wife’s home town who, like him, was a bit of a squinter. Fortunately, his less than perfect eyesight does not stop our Guercino from making large jumps and playing like crazy.
Reader “majo” sent this:
I’m sending a photo of my cat Squid in response to your call for black cats. She looks a rich brown in bright sunshine, and sometimes I can see traces that reveal her as a tabby in disguise. When we adopted her, she ran around purring and hissing in the same breath – purring at anything human, hissing at the other two cats in the house (one was ours, another we were looking after for a friend). She made friends with our other cat a little later initially to please us, it seems, because she saw we were making a fuss of him: she insinuated herself between us and him when we were petting him, and started licking him. She’s smarter than I can tell you, is a devious food stealer, and likes to play fetch.
From reader Karin in Sweden, we get, confusingly, a Norwegian Forest cat:
This is Björn, a Norwegian Forest Cat who lives in Uppsala, Sweden, with my friend Mona and her family. He was about twelve years old when I took this picture, four years ago. Now an aged gentlecat, he does not forage as far as he did in his younger days, but still manages to catch the occasional shrew to bring home. When he deigns to let me cuddle him, I feel very privileged.
From reader Mark, whose cat got alopecia from an unfortunate encounter:
Attached is a shot of my old black cat Missy. The bald spot was caused when she attacked a wall plug. She never did that again. She liked to drink out of the fountain and my daughter was her favorite pet.
From reader Maria W.:
This is my cat SALEM! She is my 14-year-old kitten.
From reader Gwyn:
If I’m limited to one picture, I’ll have to go for this one of both of them as kittens sitting on my spouse Damaris’ lap. They were about seven weeks old; they’re now nearly five years old and both thriving. Mindy (right, awake) is smaller, more acrobatic, and an opportunistic lapcat. She has a small kink at the end of her tail. She and Anya (left, asleep) are sisters from the same litter (they had two tabby brothers as well). Anya is a territorial hunter but when she wants human attention she demands it incessantly until it arrives.
From Andrea McCormick, a cat that, sadly, just died:
This is Mystra, trying to be not black by rolling in the dirt with vigor. So much for cats being clean creatures. 🙂 She died two weeks ago at the age of 18.
Andrea Kenner sent Gabby:
Here’s a photo of my black cat Gabby. She is almost all black. She does have a white blaze on her chest, and a few tortie orange hairs scattered about. I think she is quite a beautiful cat. I would be honored if you could post her on your blog.
From Al Blazo:
Meet Kiki. Last year at about this time while walking another of our cats around the property we heard a small cry for help. We looked around real carefully and discovered a hungry, thirsty, undernourished cat hiding in the bushes. One whiff of food brought her out! Here she is today. Warm, pampered, a cushy lounge next to my workbench and as happy as a kitty could possibly get.
Reader Anne-Marie sent a photo of a cat she saw in Turkey. No other information is available, but it’s a strange and fearsome-looking moggie!
Reader Denise sent a moggie with a Cone of Shame:
Here’s a terrible quality photo of my black cat, Willow, praying to the gods of fire on the first evening I lit my wood burning stove this year (UK). She is wearing a fetching homemade ‘Elizabethan’ collar, as she is recovering from an infected wound on her forehead. While healing, she spends her days and evenings in my lounge, as her collar freaks out my other cat who will not come in the house if he sees her.
From John Hunt:
I’ve attached a picture of my Pearl Mae. I wasn’t going to send one, because she died in June, and I’m still having a bit of difficulty even thinking about it. But It thought, “why should my broken heart deny others the pleasure of her beauty?” She was fifteen. I accidentally stole her from a neighbor when I was in graduate school–thought she was a stray, and I adopted her right out from under them. When they found I had spent hundreds of dollars getting her spayed and immunized, they decided that Pearl belonged to me. She had an attitude and demeanor fitting the queen of the household, and her surviving “brothers” and staff miss her dreadfully.
Reader David Siegel sent me a photo of his cat, which has distinct tabby markings, but of course all black cats are tabbies (you knew that, right?), with the markings often showing only under strong sunlight.
D.: “Hey Stinky, Jerry wants pictures of black cats for Halloween!”Stinky: “Your holiday fills me with incredible indifference.”
From reader Chris B.:
Here’s our black cat, Peppermint, posing with this year’s pumpkin. I have trouble getting expressive pictures of his face because he’s so black. He’s big, but gentle, and defers to our smaller, more aggressive, orange striped cat.
From John Mazrum:
Here is a pic of Sam the Second, a replacement for the original Sam–also black–who was my faithful companion for 20 years. Note the orange eyes:
In response to your call for photos of black cats, I am sending you one of our kitten. This is Fulmine (“Lightning” in Italian), a feral kitten we adopted via a local vet this past summer together with his tabby sister Lily. Never was a name more apt, as Fulmine is a cat of action and non-stop play, with a rather marked propensity for getting into mischief…
From reader Chuck:
Not a great shot, but sort of interesting in context. This is Maggie, contemplating a tropical cyclone simulation based on a climate model run (I do climate and geophysical hazard research). Had just pulled up the run and was looking at it when she jumped up on the desk, looked at it for a minute, then started screaming at me in that “you humans are idiots” voice cats do so well . . . I suspect she’s trying to figure out WTF is wrong with humans that they use the whole planet as their litter box.
From reader John S., whose first phrase is not endearing and who also can’t remember the names of the several cats he sent (I’m posting one):
I haven’t had time to follow the website much lately, but understand you need pictures of black cats. This is the blackest I’ve seen around here, one of multiple sets of kittens we fostered for a shelter over the last couple of years. I can’t remember all their names, even of the ones I wanted to keep. Crap phone photos in poor light, naturally.
From reader Joshua Lincoln:
My sister Evelyn has three of them. Two of which (Rupert and Electra or Callie – I can’t tell two of them apart) are pictured here plugging her new book “Brilliant Discourse”.
From Anthony Valcic:
Taken on holiday this summer on the small Dalmatian island of Ošljak, this is “Spooky” the name I gave to this adorable (probably) feral kitten.
From reader Brady Duga:
This is Sabrina, a well-read cat (she likes her bookshelves). I didn’t have a picture of her on my back, but she has been known to climb up there when I brush my teeth and curl up. If you straighten to dislodge her she clings on for dear life. She would also like you to know that she “is not happy with her reputation for being evil and devilish and dislikes her association with halloween as it perpetuates negative stereotypes about her coat color and if you disagree SHE WILL NOMS YOUR FACE OFF!!!1!1!” Sorry, her words, I am just the scribe here.
Reader Howard Stambor (whom I let slip in another photo) sent these:
Her name is Annie, named after Aung San Suu Kyi. They are both Burmese. For many years, we had five Burmese, three sables, one “red,” and one tortie. I have attached another picture that shows 3 of them looking out a high window.
These sables were the best. Extraordinary brains, warmth, energy, and social skills. Annie died several years ago from ailments of old age. The pumpkin is a rouge vif d’Etampes, now known in the grocery stores as a “Cinderella pumpkin,” grown in my backyard in Seattle. The painting is by a young Northwest artist named Emily Wood.
From Connor Holmes:
Attached please find a picture of our cat Blackjack (or just Jack to his friends and staff). Jack is a most beautifully natured cat. He’s quite a muscular boy, but also a bit too much of a pussy, letting his tabby sister push him around.
From reader “redlivingblue”:
Here is a pic of my bouncing baby boy Dillinger (aka Dilly Bean, aka Dilly Bunkus). He is about 10 months old and loves to eat! Happy Halloween!
Reader Cassie sent a cat who shares some characteristics with Hili:
Little Kitty only drinks running water. However, it has to be from the tub faucet, and I have to lift him into the tub even though he is perfectly capable of getting in on his own.
From reader Pete Smith:
Spook: Bad tempered three legged pigeon scourge. Currently an exCat.
From Rachel Wilmoth:
Please find attached a photo of my black cat, Lucy, begging for belly rubs. She is one of three of my black cats, the other two being Sadie and Eleanor (who are uncooperative photo subjects). They are named after Beatles songs. They were dumped as kittens, and found by my mom when she was walking her d*gs, on June 23, 2012. I took them with the intention of fostering them until there was space at a no-kill shelter. At that time, a major wildfire ripped through part of the city, and with shelters full of evacuated pets, I ended up keeping them. This past January, Lucy, her sisters, and my four other cats made the move from Colorado Springs, CO to Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Nederland with me.
Robert Boulton from Australia sent several photos of Something, but I chose the one below because, although it doesn’t show Something very distinctly, it’s beautiful:
I thought I would send you some photos of our black cat, “Something” for Saturday. We were slow in naming him and during that time everyone around us were telling us that we should call him something and so we did.
From reader Steve Kern, forwarded by the apparent staff, Janie Malless:
Today, Vincent Van Gogh is regarded as an artistic genius; however, during his lifetime, he was a poster boy for tortured starving artists. Similarly, the starving feral, “Vinny”, made his way to my home with a clipped ear to show that he had been neutered and released. We hope his genius will someday soon become apparent.
From reader Kimberley:
This is my black cat Dash, so named because she started life two years ago as a feral kitten who hung out in my back yard (sans mama or littermates) and dashed away every time I tried to get near her. I set out food for her, eventually captured her with a humane trap, and adopted her. She’s grown into a sweet, lovely beastie, although she’s still a bit of a wild child. She happened to be resting near my Kindle as it was showing an ad for a book named “Heartbreaker,” which isn’t a great description for her but I’ve yet to see an ad for a book named “Troublemaker”!
From reader Rachel:
You requested black cat photos for Halloween, so here’s my boy, Lloyd. He’s named for Lloyd Alexander, my favorite childhood author and certified crazy cat man. My Lloyd enjoys bird watching, sitting in boxes, snuggling, and picking on his sister. He’s the best kitty in the world. In the photo he’s looking at me kind of askance because I was trying to encourage him to sit in the pumpkin, for Internet Fame and Glory. He wasn’t having any of it.
Ed Neubaum sent Max:
I got your black cat right here: I give you Max or Luci-Purr
From reader Merilee:
Freddie McPusser, DFG ( Distinguished Feline Gentleman ). RIP
From reader Jacques Hausser, whom you might remember as one of our great insect photographers:
At the moment, just a picture of my black cat for your collection. Sorry, not a very original one, I don’t photography family usually. And to be honest, he HAS a tiny plume of white hairs at the end of the tail, so you can exclude him if you want. His legal name is “Domino”, which he doesn’t know because he’s usually called “Lapin bleu” (“Blue rabbit”) by my wife (for unknown reasons), “Couillon” (1) by myself and “Mister Cat” by my late father-in-law and my daughter.A good bird hunter (unfortunately)—not bad for field mice either, eats his prey but is very choosy and demanding about his official food. Quite independent, highly territorial regarding other cats, but very sociable with humans except children under 12: he definitively distrust these noisy, exuberant animals. He deeply dislikes travelling in the car – what usually means “veterinary”. Totally addicted to any kind of ladder – can’t resist climbing them. Eleven years old.
Reader Trevor H from South Wales, UK sent Scrappy:
A picture of my black cat. He is called ‘Scrappy’: about 2 years old now, and was called that cuz he used to steal scraps…
From Keira McKenzie:
I tried to find a spooky one of my Plushie, but she is way too sweet. However, she doesn’t *always* look it 😀
From reader Largeswope:
Here is a photo of Tonks, a neighbor’s cat, who has decided we are her staff. She is graciously supervising my husband working on a fiddle case whilst kindly making sure the felt is properly furred.
From Tubby Fleck:
This is Orson helping with the laundry.
From reader Mark Kautzmann:
These are pictures of Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, helping me in my home office. Ever since I adopted her from Cat Welfare here in Columbus about 6 years ago, her constant need to be near, beside, or even on top of me has convinced me that she is a succubus, a demon from Hell, sent to annoy me in the most cuddly way possible. Annoyance is having a 19 pound cat sleep with you at night not lying on the pillow next to you, not curled up on the pillow nestled against your head, but resting her chest ON your head and wrapping her paws around your neck and chin. And then kneading vigorously. I have been trained to not let that keep me awake when that happens.
From Peter Welch:
These are our two black cats, Panther and Zorro.
Reader Randy Extry had two black cats, but I picked the best photo:
This one, sitting on the floor, is named El Chupacabra (Chupa for short).
Reader Rich Wilson sent this:
This is Ginger, nomming some wheatgrass. Ginger has a white smile on his belly, which I can also send if you like. When he was younger a couple of his nipples made eyes to go with the smile, but the noms have made them a little less visible.
Stephen Q. Muth sent a cat named “October,” so called because he was adopted on Halloween:
Here he is, looking fierce. Though October is really cool towards other cats, Butter & October don’t get along.(Butter will not stop being territorial, even when on October’s turf.)
Joan Faiola sent photos of three cats, and I’ve let the tuxedo cat slip in as well as allowing two photos:
Do deceased cats count? I have had the misfortune recently of losing all my beloved cats in a period of two years. In the photo of three cats, they are from left to right, Felix (‘tuxedo’), Pedro (locket) and Indira, who was a Bombay, and that’s why she was called Indira.
Felix and Pedro were both rescue cats and came home together from the SPCA in November 1999, but Indira was bred. A Bombay, if you did not know already, is a cross between a Burmese and an American Shorthair. I don’t know how I ended up with three black cats, but the two rescues must have been in very bad condition at 8 weeks old, because they were both grey. All the cats were born in 1999 but I only know Indira’s birthday (6th March). It seemed that Pedro, who became very close to Indira, tried to change himself to look like her. (Fanciful!) Even though they were actually quite different I sometimes had difficulty telling them apart.
The single cat photo is of Indira. She is in a Hill’s snuggle bag (note the Hill’s colours), which I was given at the vet practice (I suppose because I was a ‘frequent flyer’!) I brought it home and put it on the bed. Ten minutes later Indira was inside it. The other two never used it, but perhaps Indira would have stopped them anyway. Although all my cats were neutered, of course, Indira was still a lady, and always bagged the best positions.
Anyway, over the years they gave me lots of joy, so I guess the grieving is in proportion to that joy. They are a hard act to follow – I have not yet seen the cat that will take their place.
The very last submission I got was from reader Diane L., and is appropriate to close a Halloween cat post. There was no information save “black cat photographed in Montmartre Cemetery.” I’ve been to that Parisian place, the burying ground of many famous people, and it’s absolutely crawling with stray cats. Here’s one:
Finally, Breaking Cat News has a really nice cartoon strip about why you should adopt shelter cats, which includes this panel about black cats—often spurned at adoption time because they’re considered bad luck. Be sure to read the whole strip—and if you have a black cat, keep it indoors on Halloween: