Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Black Cats

Have I mentioned our black kitty Cuddles? Not really? Ok...let me fix that for you. 

Cuddles came to us with her sisters and brother back in May. Their mother left them on our back porch. In hopes that she would stay with the kittens, we quickly fixed up a shelter box--minus the Styrofoam--and placed the kittens inside. The next morning Mama wasn't to be found, but we had hungry kittens. We did what any sucker would do when confronted with hungry babies--we took them in.  

They were loaded with ear mites and covered in ringworm. Now most vets say to use a 10% bleach solution (10% bleach to 90% water) to help kill ringworm. These kittens couldn't handle the bleach and neither could I. We used red cider (apple cider) vinegar solution instead. It took a bit longer may be--but it actually worked. 

Except on Cuddles. In fact, Cuddles had ringworm so bad that she quickly lost her fur.  She required medication to help heal her. We were still using the cider vinegar on her to help deal with the itching. Poor baby--she itched every where and the vinegar baths helped soothed her skin for a few hours.

Jump forward a few weeks. Now Cuddles and her siblings are growing healthy and have new coats. We are still dealing with ear mites but it's getting better.  Her personality is starting to bloom.

I start telling my husband "She's a Black Cat." He looks at me like I'm completely color blind or stupid--take your pick. One afternoon, after I informed him that "She's a Black Cat" he blurted, "That's rather obvious!" I then realized I had to explain what I meant by "She's a Black Cat." 

 Black cats are a completely different breed apart from other cats. They remember that they were descended from gods and at one time, treated better than royalty. (This is according to them--I'm merely repeating what I've been told.) Some people say they are more stubborn than other cats, but I believe they are more intelligent. They behave in the perfect "Cat" manner--meaning they will only do what they feel like doing and when they feel like doing it. 
Here's the perfect example. My husband grew increasingly worried about Cuddles. She was not blending well into our household of older cats. She seemed intent on becoming the house queen and do so in a rather aggressive manner. Ok--to put it in other words--she was beating up the older cats and creating havoc all around.

D figured he could reason with her. I laughed and went along my merry way. He's never been around a black cat before. Not while they were young at any rate.  So D talks to Cuddles--explains to her that he wants her to make one new friend a day. She blinks at him sweetly. When he tells me she will do this, I asked if he was explicit with her. *chuckles in memory*

The next day, my husband is completely ecstatic. Cuddles is befriending Merlin. She's cleaning him, letting him clean her, and sleeping next to him. They share their food out of the same bowls. She listened to him! My husband's happiness didn't last past the next morning when Cuddles walked up to Merlin and slapped him for simply breathing.  

"D--you told her to make one friend each day. You did not tell her she had to keep those friends throughout the rest of time. She's making one friend per day," was my explanation, followed by "She's a Black Cat."

Another example. D talked to Cuddles about staying off the counters and the stove. He reasoned with her. She blinked in agreement and did so very prettily. Twenty minutes later, my husband walked into the kitchen to get a coffee refill and found Cuddles sitting in the windowsill above the sink. He didn't tell her she couldn't use the window sill--he told her to stay off the counters and stove. You have to be very explicit with black cats.  

A couple of ladies came over, in hopes to meet our adoption standards and take home a kitty. One of the ladies liked the looks of Cuddles, proclaiming that she was " a panther--a black panther. Look at how she moves just like a black panther!" Cuddles shot that woman a look of pure disdain and moved farther away from the woman. The woman wanted to hold Cuddles and pet her, but our little black cat was staying completely out of reach. That was enough for the rest of the cats to get all het up. Meanwhile, I'm listening to this woman screetch. "What did you say her  name was? Cuddles? Oh no--when I take her home, her name's going to be 'Panther' because she looks like a black panther." 

(Go ahead and lift a brow here. Or blink in utter disbelief. We get the crazies sometimes when we have cats for adoption.)

The other lady asked some questions and I didn't keep my eye on the first woman like I should have. Suddenly I heard Cuddles snarl in warning and then scream. I flew into the living room and found the woman pulling her hands back. Turns out she wanted to pet Cuddles so badly, she was forcing Cuddles into a defensive situation. Most cats will run away when confronted with a human that feels dangerous to them. However, if they are backed into a corner, like this woman backed Cuddles into a corner, they will defend themselves. The lady was lucky--she didn't get bit or scratched. The scream scared her. Suddenly, she was eager to go and she no longer wanted the kitten that "looks like a panther--a black panther."

Go figure.  

So when we took her in for her spay a week ago, we were given the usual post-surgical advice: Keep her calm and quiet, don't let her jump or run for a few days until she heals. We understood that, having been through several spay/neuter surgeries with other cats. We know they can get the
hypothermic chills, the aggressive fight or flight instinct, or they just are groggy for the rest of the day. 

When she came home, the first thing Cuddles did was pounce on her sister Lacey. Of course it was an attempt to pounce since her back legs were not quite functioning properly yet. Then she tried to run the gauntlet with her brother Harley. D and I looked at each other and said, "She's a Black Cat." We contained her in the bathroom. She literally bounced off the walls. We decided to put her in the kennel until the anesthesia wore off. She bounced around so much in the kennel attacking the gate that we had to release her.  We tried to keep her calm. We tried to keep her quiet.  

We ended up taking her back in a week later because she had this bulge where her incision is. Doctor J said it looked like she ripped her internal stitches before she had a chance to heal. We told him of her reaction to the anesthesia.  That's when he told us that she fought him and his staff very hard. We apologized like any parent of a wayward child would do. Yes--we apologized to our veterinarian for our cat's misbehavior! He said he could fix it and to bring her back after the holiday. 

Luckily for her (and for us!) she healed up on her own and didn't require the surgery to fix anything. They still had to knock her down because--well--she's a black cat and she was most uncooperative. She was awake when we picked her up, but we didn't have to keep her confined. We gave up trying to keep her quiet. She still bounced all over the house until after midnight. 

The next morning she walked up to Merlin and slapped him for simply breathing, snarled at Chile because...well because. She ran the gauntlet with her brother Harley, wrestled with both Lacey and Tilly. She won the growling contest over Ava. She sat in the kitchen window sill--still not touching the counters or the stove. 

All because she's a Black Cat. And Black Cats are a different breed apart from other cats!  

 The only time she's angelic...


  1. Oh Cuddles, I have a calico diva I'd like for you to meet! Great story!

  2. HAHA! I can't stop laughing. My son Matt had a black cat named Spooky. She truly was one of the greatest cats! She really acted more like a dog than a cat. My daughter's new little kitty is named Harley.

    If I keep reading your blog, I know I am going to end up with a kitten one of these days. They are so darn cute.

  3. My sister had a black cat named Lightning when she was little. I swear that cat did not have any nerves - none. My sister would carry her around by the tail and she'd get slammed in the screen door, never once making a sound or attempting to scratch. Lightning was a remarkable black cat.