Saturday, October 30, 2010

That Old Black Magic

When I arrived at my grocery store this morning, I wasn’t expecting to see a giant balloon of a black cat hovering above the fruit and vegetable aisles. But I can understand the need to promote Halloween in this larger-than-feline-life way. What child won’t delight in the smiling cat with the saucer-size eyes? Black cats have gotten a bad rap throughout history, and perhaps a whimsical balloon can help overturn stereotypes.

I have been fascinated with black cats for some time, although not one of our ten cats is pure black. Alvar is the only one who has a touch of that old black magic in his fur. The photographer Brassaï understood the magical mystery of black when he made this mesmerizing portrait of a black cat with fluorescent eyes. The photograph is among my favorites of felines in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (my employer that puts the Fancy Feast on the table at home).

My brother had a wonderful black cat named Squash who lived to the ripe age of seventeen. To the very end, she liked to stick out her tongue and show who was boss. Here is another of my black furry friends, Oliver, whose caregiver is my good friend and colleague Daphne. Rumor has it that Oliver will be perched on Daphne’s brownstone stoop tomorrow night to greet trick-or-treaters as only a black cat can.

I hope all of us who are Cat Ladies will ensure that our beloved cats of all color, and especially the black ones who are routinely maligned on Halloween, will have a safe night out.

Query of the Day: Is there such a thing as a Cat Lady Halloween costume?

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