Jack’s weekly guest post – he often refers to the US and UK as

I’m not a superstitious person as a rule, although I come from a country that’s full of Things One Must Not Do. This list includes: not walking under ladders (I used to be a house-painter and did that all the time); not walking on the cracks in the sidewalk (very Stephen King, that one); throwing spilled salt over the left shoulder (that’s where the Devil hides). There are also proactive things one SHOULD do to attract good luck.

FuryWhich brings me neatly to cats: specifically the black kind!

Most superstitions are the same wherever you are, but oddly enough the superstitions about black cats are exactly opposite on each side of the Atlantic. Here in the States, black cats are unlucky, whereas in Scotland they are considered very lucky indeed. Over there people will go out of their way to have a black cat ‘cross their path’. And it is considered good luck to pet one.

Did you know that American rescues and animal shelters dread getting black animals in because they are so hard to re-home? Quoting from Animal House (a great FB site for animal lovers, by the way): According to an article by Joy Montgomery, it is believed to be due to a combination of the animals “size, unclear facial features, dimly lit kennels, the genericness of black pets and/or the negative portrayal of black pets in books, movies and other popular media”. No matter the reason, the reality is heartbreaking.

We have three adorable black kittens (about ten weeks old) running around the bookstore right now waiting for their forever homes. Plus a big (ten-pounder) adult black tom–a shy, quiet gentle giant of a baby boy, equally hopeful of finding his Shangri-La. His name is Inky (Ha!). Here he is in his shelter picture, poor cat

And of course we’ve had Valkittie – the bookstore manager–since she was four weeks old. Almost entirely black, with just a tiny white bikini and toe ring, she has brought us nothing but good luck.

So we’ve given Valkittie (who by the way is Scottish and has no truck with this bad luck nonsense) the job of making the other four naturalized Scots. That way they will always be lucky black cats, and their forever homes will be doubly blessed from taking them in.

valkyttie suspicionShe is taking her duties seriously.

Wherever they go, they will bring laughter; these kittens are total goofballs. Just yesterday we put a toy in their room that has a ball in a tracked groove, the kind of thing one picks up at any pet store for $10. One sat on the toy’s central disc while the other two shoved the balls with their paws, spinning him in circles.

Goofballs. Good luck goofballs. Come see for yourself, and let’s have no more of this “black cats bad” silliness. Thank you!


Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, Scotland, Uncategorized

10 responses to “LUCKY IS THE NEW BLACK

  1. I had a wonderful, gentle, and loving black cat for 14 1/2 yrs. I adopted a black momma cat who was about a yr. old, pregnant, hungry, and scared. Five of her seven babies survived & have homes. Jazzy is can no longer be a momma, but she is a wonderful 3 yr. old, outside cat who loves to hunt!

  2. Janice Brooks-Headrick

    Maya Angelou was the bookstore cat that I asked for in the settlement of our bookstore. She has been a constant source of amusement and comfort. Digging into boxes of books, sliding under the covers for a lumpy nap, climbing where no cat has gone before. Now I learn that others think black cats are also lucky. Maya is. Just wish she’d quit nailing me in the leg to tell me she’s needing food.


    I volunteer at the shelter here in Iowa and it is the same story. Thus, I have two black cats of my own. They have wonderful personalities. I am so lucky to have them 🙂 Christine

  4. Angelic Salyer Towe

    I’m going to try to sneak the kitty carrier into the car before we leave for Virginia next weekend. Just in case I fall in love while I’m there… 😉 (But don’t tell Joe…)

    • I have found that a cat carrier will temporarily fit inside a wheeled suitcase, long enough to get in the house past husbands….
      Don’t ask me how I know this. :]

  5. jeannstewart

    Dear Wendy and Jack, I met you last October when you were in Nashville at Parnassus. I was just back after having spent three weeks in Britain and part of tjhat time in Scotland and was SO glad to have a visit with you ! I thorughly enjoy your blogs and just had to write Jack after reading his today. It is not only in your country but I have always heard in this country about not walking under ladders and

  6. These little ebony felines are the sweetest things since sliced white bread!

  7. The little ones are a trio of comedians indeed. In spite of the apprehensions of others- since having my first cat – a long haired black cat who lived well over two decades- I have always had a black cat, and the world just doesn’t seem to sit right when I haven’t one to call my own.

  8. Sally Wiggins

    I have my own black feline treasure and I’m the lucky one to live with her.

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