Friday, August 17, 2012

Black Cat Appreciation Day

Toledo Cats
Some people are superstitious about black cats. I, for one, have never been a bit worried about one crossing my path. If I had been, I'd be in a world of trouble. Voodoo's favorite thing to do is wind around my legs. I can't tell you how many times I've stepped on her.

I think all cats are a little magical -- black cats are a bit more so. If you've ever seen one looking at something you can't see, that's because they have better eyes than you do. They can see the dark shadows of this world. If a black cat hisses, you'd better look twice. The cat is warning you that something's up. If a black cat purrs, you can be sure the world around you is at peace.

My cat Voodoo is black and is even more special than most. You see, Voodoo has been with me since 1905 or so. The first day I met Voodoo was also the first day I crossed over into the fairy realm. Voodoo was the runt of the litter -- last one born, tiny, and bedaggled. I was five years old and I watched her struggle to breath. I saw a flutter of bright blue wings. I thought it was a butterfly at first. It hovered over the stuggling kitten and I saw a whisp of something kitten-shaped follow it into Mama's lavender plants. I followed after it. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by colors -- more colors than I'd ever seen. People fluttered around me with bright-patterned wings. They were like giant butterflies, except with heads like people. I know now they were fairies -- or possibly goblins. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.
John E. Miller - one of the authors with their
black kitten Smidgeon
The kitten jumped into my arms.  I held it to me.

"Give it back," the fairy with bright blue wings tossed her purple hair. "Who are you, anyway?"

"I'm Toledo Cats and I won't give it back. This kitten is mine. Mama told me I could keep any of them I wanted and I choose to keep this one."

"How'd you get here?"

"I followed you through the lavender. But you were small then." I remember scowling at the fairy, trying to puzzle out the size change. Then I shrugged it off. Just because I'd never seen a person shrink and grow doesn't mean they can't when you're five. I decided to warn the person. "You'd better stay small when you're in the lavender. Mama will be mad if you trample it. What's your name, anyway?"

"Hyacinth." She glanced nervously over her shoulder. "Listen, you'd better get back. I hear goblins coming this way. If Grumwald knows your here, no telling what he'll do."

I looked around and didn't see anything familiar. "How do I get back?"

"Follow me."

I held tight to the black kitten and followed Hyacinth through a valley of rainbows to a familiar patch of lavender, holding tight to the struggling black kitten. I made my way through the lavender carefully, breathing in its fragrance. The kitten grew calm in my arms and started to purr. As I stepped onto the walkway, I noticed the still black shape of the kitten lying apart from the mother cat and the other three kittens. I held nothing in my arms. I started to cry and ran to it. I picked it up and held it to my chest. Suddenly, I felt a soft purring. The little kitten was breathing again. I named her Voodoo because that's what some people called the magic Mama did and I was sure that only magic could have brought this kitten to life.