The full moon apparently affected Bullwinkle.
The full moon apparently affected Bullwinkle.
Today, August 17, is Black Cat Appreciation Day!
Black cats are often feared, mistrusted and misunderstood. For centuries they have taken on a soiled reputation and are often thought to bring bad luck. This theory seems most prominent in the United States. Perhaps because of Puritanical roots, or perhaps because of the color black itself — these cats have long been associated with all kinds of willy-nilly superstition.
It is time to dispel these myths! In truth, black cats are loyal, affectionate, funny and fantastic pets. Historically, black cats have been celebrated and revered in many cultures. In fact, these ebony beauties were thought to bring good luck in many parts of Great Britain and Asia. Consider the following:
In Yorkshire, it was believed that a black cat kept in a fisherman’s home would ensure his ship’s safe return from sea. It was also believed that a black cat aboard ship would bring a bounty of fish. If the cat was banished from the ship, the supply of fish would run out as well. Cat ahoy!
In Cornwall, it was believed that passing a black cat’s tail over one’s eyes would cure soreness and headaches. In Wales, it was believed that a black cat could ensure good health. Modern day scientists have proven that keeping a cat can actually lower one’s blood pressure, so there may be some truth to these theories.
Wealth and Love:
“Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses of lovers will have no lack” — Scottish Folk Saying
In Scotland, it was believed that a bride seeing a black cat on her wedding day would ensure a happy marriage. Scottish folklore also states that a black cat found on your porch will bring financial prosperity. In Japan, a black cat was considered an all around good luck charm.
In Ancient Egypt, black cats were worshiped and revered because of their association with the goddess Bast. Many pharaohs and queens owned black cats.
21st Century Cats
In modern times, the engineer and professor of animal science Temple Grandin has spoken praises of black cats. Grandin claims that there is a relationship between fur color and animals’ behavior. Black cats, she says, are known to be more sociable and adaptable. A stray black cat is often more likely to make friends with strangers. In groups of cats, the black ones will often be more affectionate.
If a black cat has graced your life, you already know they are smart, with a great sense of humor!
Despite all of this, black cats are still the last to be adopted out of animal shelters. If you are in the market for a pet, please consider one of these dark lovelies.
Famous black cat owners include Frank Zappa, Marlon Brando, Joey Ramone, Morgan Freeman, Brigitte Bardot, Vincent Price and John Lennon. (And maybe even smart guy Groucho Marx…)
“A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” — Groucho Marx
Take time to appreciate a black cat today!
A few days ago I came across an amazing story of a remarkable cat named BenBen. I immediately fell in love with this little kitty. Because so many of my followers are cat lovers, I thought I would share his story. (Be warned, you might cry. Tears of joy!)
In April, 2016, BenBen was brought to a shelter in Canada with multiple wounds – a broken spine, broken paws, several lacerations and a damaged ear – called a cauliflower ear.
No one knew what had happened to him but veterinarians speculated he may have been attacked by a bigger animal. He was given several surgeries, but with little hope for a complete recovery. Because of his severe injuries, veterinarians said he would never walk again. If he remained alive he would need extreme care, and it was unlikely anyone would be prepared to help him. He was in fact, eventually deemed ‘unadoptable’ and scheduled to be euthanized.
BenBen was depressed, but to make things worse, he has a condition of excess skin on his face, which gives him a permanent mournful expression. (It is nonetheless, endearing!) BenBen was called the ‘saddest cat in the world’.
As the days passed, BenBen grew more listless and sulky. He refused to eat or drink. Shelter workers thought he was preparing to die. He was on death row and he knew there was no hope for him.
However, one kind-hearted soul met BenBen and could not allow his demise. Sandy Windover is an ER veterinarian who had assisted with BenBen’s care. She did not want to let him go, and just a few hours before BenBen’s scheduled euthanasia, arranged to adopt him.
BenBen went home to his ‘forever home’ with Sandy. Even as a passenger riding in her car, he already began to perk up.
Once they were home, Sandy reports that he immediately (within one hour!) began to get better. He was moving, purring and snggling up to her. Sandy got a special non-slip training mat to help assist BenBen’s recovery so he could strengthen his legs and learn to walk again.
Little by little, BenBen was rehabilitated. Now, not only can he walk, but he also plays and can fetch a toy! His appetite is great, and he is even known to sometimes snack on pizza.
The resilience of animals never ceases to amaze me. The story of BenBen touched me so much because in part it reminds me of my own cat Jasper.
Jasper, like BenBen, had been taken into Chicago Animal Care & Control by a good Samaritan who found him in an alley. It was the dead of winter (and Chicago winters are awful!) Jasper was half starved and suffering a respiratory infection that would have killed him if he had not gotten help. The veterinarians treated him, nursed him back to health, gave him all necessary shots, and within a few weeks Jasper was deemed ‘adoptable’.
However, no one wanted him. Jasper is a black cat and it is notoriously hard to get anyone to adopt black cats. Apparently, old superstitions die hard and many people still consider black cats to be ‘evil’ and bad luck.
Jasper had been sitting in his cage for six months when I walked in, specifically looking for a black cat. (My previous one had died a few weeks before.) Needless to say, it was destiny! The shelter workers were thrilled that I wanted him and confided to me that they would not have been able to keep him for much longer.
When I brought Jasper home his muscles were somewhat atrophied and he could not jump. I knew if I had to carry him around, or if he was less active than a normal cat, that would be okay. However, within two days Jasper became Supercat, able to leap tall counters and kitchen sinks in a single bound! He has a permanent soft voice due to his respiratory infection, and he rarely meows. We call him ‘the quiet man’ but in danger he has a mean hiss!
Although Jasper’s situation was in no way as severe as BenBen’s, both cats illustrate an important point – with a little love and care, animals can recover from horrendous situations and go on to lead happy, fantastic lives!
If you are thinking of adding a pet to your family, please consider a shelter animal. They are very loving and loyal, easily trained and resilient. Having seen the worst and overcome great hardships, your shelter pet will be so happy to have you!
Many people were moved by BenBen’s story. Here is one video to celebrate his new life!
A trusted familiar, reflected still eyes
Luxurious elegant free
“I hold strict conditions, but YOU, gentle human
are certainly worthy of me.”
Loyal, faithful, tenacious,
He teaches the meaning of friend.
“I hold no conditions, for YOU are my world,
steadfast and true till the end.”
The world is flat The natives are savages Sexual preference is a choice War is necessary Hang ’em high The stock market fluctuates Pink is for girls and Blue is for boys He died for your sins Because you are Evil Lobotomy is good Hysterectomy is better and YOU are hysterical The End is near You just need to work harder Authority knows best and Animals do not have a soul
Daily Prompt False
Do you say ‘White Rabbit’ on the first day of the month? In my family we have this tradition. We do it as a fun competition. The first one to say it wins. (We don’t actually win anything, we just Win — if you remembered first you are the smartest smart guy. )
I got to thinking about this tradition and wondered if anyone else practiced it, where it came from, and if it make any sense at all. Actually, it always made a lot of sense to me, because as an Alice in Wonderland fan, I knew Alice found all her adventures by following the White Rabbit!
I did some sleuthing and found out that the rabbit utterance apparently started out as an ancient Celtic tradition. It was used at the beginning of the lunar month to honor the sacred animal. This animal was not exactly a rabbit, but something other-worldly that resembled a rabbit. The image of this rabbit-like animal could then be found in the full moon.
In some parts of Scotland and northern England, children are still taught to say ‘White Rabbit’ at the beginning of the month as a magic charm to attract money through unexpected means.
This quote comes from a ‘Notes and Queries’ book dated 1909:
“My two daughters are in the habit of saying ‘Rabbits!’ on the first day of each month. The word must be spoken aloud, and be the first word said in the month. It brings luck for that month. Other children, I find, use the same formula.”
Another tradition holds that ‘Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits’ should be spoken as the first words and the beginning of the month, and ‘Hares, hares, hares’ as the last words at the end of the month.
Interestingly, the tradition was also adopted by RAF bomber aircrews in WWII, who believed uttering ‘white rabbit’ as their very first words upon awakening would keep them from harm.
I found this quote from the 1922 novel ‘Solomon in all his Glory’ by Robert Lynd:
“Why,” the man in the brown hat laughed at him, “I thought everybody knew ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.’ If you say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’—three times, just like that—first thing in the morning on the first of the month, even before you say your prayers, you’ll get a present before the end of the month.”
So this month I am going to be the first to say White Rabbit. Maybe I will even get a present 🙂
Try it and let me know if it works for you!
“Never underestimate a great superstition.”
When I was a kid, I used to love the Circus. I admit it. I mean, it was so exciting! All those great animals performing tricks for our entertainment. The Circus came to town every year, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey. It was the greatest show on earth. And who could resist that junk food? Candy apples were my favorite. I loved the three rings, the wide elephants, the smell of hay and peanuts. Plus there was the Freak Show, and I could definitely relate.
The Circus, to me, was a real treat.
When my nieces and nephew were little, I also took them to the Circus. Why not? This was FUN, a kid’s paradise. Truthfully I never gave it a second thought. Until one time we went to the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey, and I noticed something disturbing.
The tigers came out in a parade. Oh, they were magnificent! Bengal giants with their coats of orange and black.. The tigers paraded in a line, then a circle. But something was peculiar. There was this one tiger. He would not go with the rest. He backed away, snarled, would not walk in the circle. I don’t remember the trainer being particularly cruel. Just that the animal was stubborn. I watched. The tiger clearly was NOT going to perform his stunts. He rumbled, backed up, growled, shook his head. This big cat was definitely NOT okay.
I know enough about animals to know that if one does not want to do something, you should not force him. An animal can be coaxed, loved, persuaded, even bribed to do your bidding, but not forced. The tiger was then taken out of the line and put somewhere. I don’t know where. It had to be a solitary confinement. I remember saying, “That tiger is gonna blow. Oh yeah, he is gonna explode! Mark my words.”
I realized something was very wrong. Then, all of a sudden, the whole Circus was wrong. There were stunt people. I remember a woman who got locked up in a glass box, flexing and folding her limbs until she somehow perversely fit in this tiny cage that could not even hold a kitten.
There was another woman who twirled by her teeth on a rope. I remember her spinning around, long hair flailing. I worried about her neck snapping, her teeth becoming dislodged.
Grandma asked the nieces if they wanted dolls. There were these plastic dolls for sale, souvenirs that actually resembled the dangling tooth woman. The girls did not want them. They looked at me with wide morose eyes. Yep, the kids knew better. In that moment it all became creepy. Dear god. Who ran this place? Could it be? The Circus was actually – an institution of cruelty? This was exploitation, blatant and unmitigated! Why hadn’t I noticed before? What the heck were we even DOING there?
Most revelations in my life have come like this – big flashes where all of a sudden I realize:
EVERYTHING I KNOW IS WRONG.
This was one of those moments.
That night on the News we heard a report that the Ringling Brother’s tiger escaped. Not only did the animal blow his temper, but he apparently blew the entire pop stand as well 🙂 Goodbye PT. He escaped your cages, busted out of your Alcatraz traveling show.
What happened to that tiger? I do not know. Somehow I could not bring myself to learn the follow up. He was, no doubt recaptured. Probably hit with a stun gun. Personally I liked to picture him in the wilds of Africa, roaming the plains. But I am sure that did not happen. Even I am not that naïve.
After that we boycotted Circuses entirely.
But I gotta admit — I still love candy apples and a great Freak Show 🙂
This post is in response to the Daily Prompt, pingback: