Blackie’s Story – A Special Guest Post by Liz Wyman of Cats Love Naps in Honor of National Black Cat Appreciation Day

Black-Cat-Day

For whatever unfathomable reason, shelter workers will tell you that statistically black cats are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. The reasons vary, but the ill-conceived superstition that they bring bad luck is at the top of the list. Other reasons are more superficial, such as that their black fur is harder to see in shelter cages and they are difficult to photograph. People have a tendency to fall in love at first sight with pets, so the more colorful pets have a far better shot at getting adopted. To help create awareness about this plight, today is National Black Cat Appreciation Day and in honor of that, I would like to share a special post from a friend of mine I introduced you to a few weeks ago, Liz Wyman of Cats Love Naps who has made it her personal quest to help get me on the Ellen DeGeneres Show! Liz knows firsthand the unjustified prejudices black cats face in shelters and makes it her mission to help dispel the myths so that more black cats are adopted into loving homes.

Blackie’s Story by Liz Wyman -

A few months ago I met a black cat that would change my life forever. I was volunteering at our local animal shelter, matchmaking, helping cats and humans find each other and I was always surprised when people would decline meeting a black cat, perpetuating the myth that they were bad luck, which could not be further from the truth.

On this particular Saturday I was getting ready to leave for the day when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a black cat lying on his side in the back of his cage with his tongue hanging out. I opened the cage and began to pet him gently. As he purred ever so softly, I could feel how weak his little body was. He was estimated to be 8 years old and had been in the shelter for a month which causes many cats to deteriorate from boredom, depression, and loneliness. Many also get upper respiratory infections and he was on his third round of antibiotics for the URI without any success.

Tiny-blackie

Just look at this precious little face… it’s no wonder Liz fell in love and took this darling home with her… Photo courtesy of Liz Wyman.

 

I have fostered many cats over the years and as many times as I promised my husband that, “this would be the last one,” somehow it never was, and I found myself on my way home with him. The shelter had named this cat “Lucky,” which I quickly changed to “Blackie.” It turned out that he had many medical issues, which I discovered the first night I had him. Over the first 3 days I had been fostering him, I had accumulated $500 in debt for his emergency care and had gotten into my first car accident on the way to an ER appointment with him, ending up totaling my car. At that point, after all I had gone through emotionally and financially those first few days, I knew that I couldn’t let him go. I adopted him three days after I took him in – quite possibly the shortest foster “fail” ever.

I fell in love with him and his little quirks. Despite his pain, he was a happy cat. He loved to go to the vet and his visits were frequent, as no one could figure out what was wrong with him. Without getting into all of the details of his medical journey, he ended up having Caliciviris (the “C” in the FVRCP vaccination). He was antibiotic resistant and needed a full mouth extraction of his teeth – he had severe periodontal disease and the roots from his teeth were affecting his nasal passage and ability to breathe. As fate would have it, I heard from a friend about an organization in Richmond, VA called “Helping Hands – Affordable Veterinary Surgical and Dental Care,” a self-proclaimed “bare bones” clinic offering affordable care to prevent euthanasia due to high cost surgeries and off Blackie and I went to get his surgery done.

Blackie-hotel

Blackie at the hotel with Liz awaiting his extraction surgery. Photo courtesy of Liz Wyman.

He was always curious, even when we first got him, and he couldn’t stand being isolated from the other animals and immediately bonded with our 2 cats and 2 dogs. As for the surgery, it appeared to be a success – he was toothless, but happy, and had no problem eating and was finally beginning to act like a “normal” cat. Then, three weeks later he took a turn for the worse—apparently a side effect of a full mouth extraction can cause esophageal damage. Blackie could no longer eat. He would choke on anything and hurl his little body around the room to try to recover. I knew in my heart his life was close to its end and there was nothing else I could do. Our typically playful and happy boy began to look lifeless and the next evening my husband and I took him to our vet who put him down.

Happy-at-home

Blackie during happier times as he snoozes on his favorite cat condo. Photo courtesy of Liz Wyman.

A few weeks prior to Blackie coming into my life, I had watched a Woody Allen film and in one scene Alan Alda’s character said, “Comedy is tragedy plus time.” Well, this set the stage for my journey with Blackie. During the first 2 weeks we had him, in addition to the car accident, our heater broke and then a water pipe. Then I fractured my tooth and needed an emergency root canal on one tooth and an extraction on the tooth next to it. The first few weeks were rough, one of the roughest financial periods of my life. During that time I spent about $2,000 on his care alone, not to mention the additional unexpected expenses.

As a way to raise money for his procedures I began making cat beds with all profits going toward his medical bills. I had never made a cat bed before, but being an amateur artist, I quickly taught myself. To my surprise, people were buying them, sometimes in multiples!

While some might think this perpetuated the myth that black cats bring bad luck, that was not the case. Blackie did not bring bad luck at all. We were in each other’s lives for about three months and during that time, two lives were transformed. I look back now and see how much joy and inspiration Blackie brought into my life. I continue to make the beds and with each bed I make, I am reminded of his beautiful spirit and in his honor I donate 10% of all profits to different animal rescues monthly.

with-liz

No matter how long or short the time we have with our beloved pets, the most important aspect is to love and cherish each and every moment we have with them. Seen her is Liz with her precious Blackie during happier days. Photo courtesy of Liz Wyman.

It really is true that we are always given what we need, even if we don’t know it at the time. He taught me many lessons, but most poignantly he forced me to strengthen my ability to handle multiple “mini disasters” at once, with ease (most of the time). And in the end, he taught me how to grieve, to be vulnerable, and to cry; something I rarely allow myself to do.

wedding-aisle

Liz is a beautiful woman, inside and out. Not only is she an advocate for black cats, she is an animal advocate in every sense. Case in point, here she is on her wedding day – a wedding that just so happened to have a pet adoption theme! Who is that walking her down the aisle? That would be Tovi, one of her beloved dogs! Photo courtesy of Liz Wyman.

Reception-62

These pawsome gifts were part of a wishlist drive Liz had for local shelters at her wedding. Photo courtesy of Liz Wyman.

Thailia

Each reception table was decorated with success stories of pets that had been adopted to encourage future adoptions! How clever is that!? Photo courtesy of Liz Wyman.

Thank you so much for sharing your story Liz. I know it was difficult for you to write, but I am just so glad that Blackie had your love and companionship during his last months. You gave him such joy and happiness and I am sure he is smiling in his cat like way as you continue to educate the public on why these beautiful and caring creatures deserve a chance at a wonderful forever home. I had my own black cat that I rescued many years ago. She was abandoned on a remote country road and was in my life for a wonderful 12 years. RIP dear Tosha…

To read more about Liz, her incredible wedding, Blackie’s story, and to order a Cat’s Love Naps bed of your own, please visit her site at www.catslovenaps.com

Mia-2

Regrettably, as Liz did not know Blackie would pass on so soon, she does not have any photos of Blackie on his Cats Love Naps bed. Seen here is our Mia so that you can can an idea of just how wonderful these beds are and how much cats enjoy them!

For those of you pondering a cat adoption, please consider a black cat. And for those of you in shelters, I know it is not always easy, but if you can find ways to be creative with lighting and background colors so that black cats stand out better in a crowd and can be picked for adoptions, please keep those simple tips in mind. Above all, we all must stop allowing the black cats bring bad luck myth to perpetuate. Share your positive black cat stories today and together we can make a difference.

Last but not least, a special congratulations to Carma Poodale!!! You are the lucky winner of our RCTees giveaway and we are so excited for you!

Loved this article? Share it with your friends!
spread the love!

Share

Click to join the conversation

  1. mariodacat says:

    What an amazing lady and story. Blackie is such a beautiful boy – very handsome in every way. It’s too bad people have this preconceived notion about black cats. M’s first cat was all black, and he was a very smart, lovable kitty. Pepper lived to be 18 years old and never once brought M and D back luck.

  2. Liz Wyman says:

    Deb,
    As always, you are able to capture so much, so sufficiently and beautifully at the same time– A talent I wish I had! Thank you for the deepest bottom of my heart for your special post honoring Blackie on this very special day. Thinking of Tosha and Pepper and all of the wonderful Black Cats that have blessed our lives.
    With love,
    Liz

    • Deb says:

      Liz – your talent is the big heart you have and your endless ability to be loving and compassionate. I wish there were more people in the world like you. I was honored to feature you today and I do hope your message helped inspire others to adopt black cats. xoxoxo

  3. Brian says:

    That sure was one sad story.

  4. Sue Brandes says:

    This post really touched my heart.

  5. Such a beautiful story. Liz is a angel without wings. To take in a animal who is medically not sound, endure the financial responsibility , to giving that animal their forever home is a blessing to animals. Her heart is made of gold and to have a adoption wedding is one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen. Thank you Deb for writing about this angel and showing your readers what love is all about.

    I am so happy that I won the RCTees contest!

    • Deb says:

      Carma – Liz truly is an angel – so very kind of you to say that. Thank you for dropping by and we are thrilled you won the RCTees contest!!

  6. Your post reminded me so much of my only ever black cat. My previous cat had just died and my husband and I went to a rescue to see some kittens. When I walked in an all black kitten climbed up my jeans (ouch) and settled in my arms – I cuddled him and put him down to looks at the other kittens he just kept climbing up my legs – he never allowed me to touch any other cat or kitten in there! I called him Max. Sadly Max had stomach cancer and died within a week of diagnosis at the age of 15 but sometimes I swear I can see him passing me in a door way.
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  7. Kitties Blue says:

    Two black kitties, Thelma and Twinkle, were once part of our household. Our Mom has wanted another ever since, but there never seem to be any when she is actively looking for a new kitty. When she adopted Giulietta and Fiona, she was looking specifically for a short-haired black kitty. Both of those she ended up adopting are grey, one short- and one long-haired. None of the next three kitties joining us as meowmates are black either. Mom calls Thelma her “heart” kitty. She unfortunately lived to be only 12 years old. We hope oodles of black cats get adopted today. We know that one day another black kitty will come to live with us. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Guilietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

    • Deb says:

      Kitties Blue – I am certain one day too, that you will have another black beauty in your house. Thank you for thinking of them and for adopting all your precious other fur babies!

  8. What an amazing and inspiring story! Not all stories have happy endings but this one ends with hope. Pet adoption themed weddings are a BRILLIANT idea I hope to see more of.

    • Deb says:

      I love how you think Layla, this story does end with hope and it really would be wonderful to see more pet adoption themed weddings!

  9. Miss Liz made my new beddie which I sleep in EVERY SINGLE DAY right next to my large screen bird and squirrel TV sliding glass door…I am right at ground level so I can watch all the doves when they come sauntering around my patio. I gifted one of her beddies to my Cousin Leo and he uses his every day too…when he isn’t lying on his Dad Dave that is…MOL

  10. Cat Fleming says:

    I have had black cats throughout my life & presently have 3-all siblings, 2 girls: Trillian & Peanut, & a boy: Vader, my big guy. They & their tiger-striped brother, Solo, were born on my patio. When I called the SPCA, they told me that if they came to pick them up, they would all be euthanized, including mom. I was horrified, so I took them in, intending to foster them until weaned. Well, long story short, they’re still here 3 years later! Trillian, (Trilly) lost her back foot as a newborn and is my sweet inspiration! Here’s a photo of her on my Catslovenaps bed. :)
    .
    .

    • Deb says:

      Oh my goodness, Cat. What a story. How wonderful that you were there to give these kitties such a wonderful furever home and I am thrilled you have a Cats Love Naps bed for them to use!

  11. Cat Fleming says:

    Sorry, I don’t know how to add the pic, but she’s on the website.

  12. Timmy Tomcat says:

    Very powerful. Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Lover is the most beautiful thing in the universe and can grow and shine when it is given freely
    Timmy

  13. What a wonderful, though bittersweet, story. We purr for the day that the bad rap that black cats get is a thing of the past.

  14. Cathy Keisha says:

    What an amazing love story. Those beds look fantabulous.

  15. meowmeowmans says:

    Wow, what an amazing, but bittersweet story. Thank you for sharing it, and we hope that one day black kitties will be viewed like all others — beautiful and wonderful.

  16. That story made us a little leaky but we really like this Human lady.

    My Human says maybe *I* am the kitty who gave the Black Kitties the bad name but I don’t think that could possibly be true, do you?

    • Deb says:

      Oh Spitty… yes, you can be a tad mischievous and dare I say it, even naughty. But, you are absolutely NOT the reason black cats have a bad name. Your are a very special cat, as all are, and your human is very blessed to have you.

  17. Liz Wyman says:

    Deb,

    This sentence from your closing paragraph really touched me and planted a seed for a new idea I have!
    “…. for those of you in shelters, I know it is not always easy, but if you can find ways to be creative with lighting and background colors so that black cats stand out better in a crowd and can be picked for adoptions.”

    I have so much extra reminents of fleece left from my beds that I am going to give them to shelters and designate them to ONLY be used in the black cat’s cages!

    Thanks for this tip!!!

  18. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    jazz N crew…ever wunder what de werld wood be like…. if everee one…. wuz color blind…

    hay, grate post mizzuz Zee & Liz :)

    XOXO

  19. Dave says:

    Its a sad time when we loose a pet. But this story should be an inspiration to all. I have found that no mater how much love I give out to my Black 13yr old “Buddy” he returns it 10xxx.

    I dare say “Blackie” will be sorley missed. xx

    =^-^=