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Black Cats Matter

October 28, 2016

I live in a world of cats. High in the Italian Alps, my home is also the abode of many feral cats. Ten years ago, our cat population was 22. These were all “forest cats” who were largely left to fend for themselves during our harsh winters. Like typical Americans, we adopted them all.

Most all of these cats were gray. But the grandmother of them all was a black Manx. She is still alive at almost 15 years, a very tidy sum for a wild cat. We call her “Black Mama.” She is matriarch of most of our entire cat world.

Of all her offspring, our favorite was a gray female we called “Cione” (ciccione means fatty in Italian.) She trusted us the most and was a frequent visitor in our house. She was smarter than most and knew the value of a warm bed and hand-fed sausage. She became tame (only inside our home) and in the process, I suppose our pet. Unlike most feral cats, Cione loved to be picked-up and held tightly. It seemed as though our heartbeats made her feel comfortable. She was a good friend for many years and one who enriched our lives a great deal. One day she wandered off to the mouse house in the sky, never to return. We miss her.

Cione’s mother Black Mama gave birth to many a gray cat but only one black one, named Blackie. Black Mama’s daughter Cione, in turn, brought us many others, all gray, including: Malfat, Thwarticus, Foots, Brother, Fluffy and others. Many of these would joyfully jump on our bed after sneaking into our bedroom and play hide and seek in our bean garden. These were all a merry band of feral forest cats who often entered our home as invited guests. They are mostly gone. Only Fluffy and Foots are still around. They have become too shy to visit us. The Italian Alps have a way of isolating cats as well as people.

However, the only two cats who never ventured into our home were Black Mama and Blackie. They both are reserved and timid and were so even from the start. Cautious is a better word as both accepted food but kept their distance. As the seasons have come and gone, Black Mama, Blackie, Foots and Fluffy are about the only remnants of original band. Even our beloved Smeagol died last year. He was the only other cat who loved to be picked-up and held. Like Cione, he was an opportunist with a keen nose for Luganica sausage, chicken and about anything else. We miss him as well. There are others roaming about, but we don’t seem to be close friends. Cats are a lot like people and the other way around. Sometimes, after a great relationship that ends in death, you just don’t feel like risking another too soon. Time will tell.

Black Mama and Blackie are still well and with us. Because of our longstanding relationship, we accord these two survivors all of our hospitality and affection. They stay their distance but a bit but know in the end that we are their friends. After all of these years, why do we still bother with these two? Why? In addition to our many gray feline friends, Black Cats Matter!

The above photo is of Smeagol on the left and Blackie on the right.

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  1. KiM permalink

    They say there is always room in your heart to love another ~ and they the paws prints they left on our hearts will forever be with us.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. allenrizzi permalink

    Well said!


  3. A charming story. I understand the long-standing relationship. But, though a cat-lover myself, 22 cats! OMG!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You are blessed to have a Manx stay around for 15 years. Their lifespans typically aren’t incredibly long. We had a beautiful black Manx, complete with the bobbed tail and white footed feet. She was found just outside the Great Smokies National Park in TN. Her name was Sox, and she was almost as timid as your two, especially with strangers. She would come around for a bit of petting and even cuddle up from time to time, but she was always the first to run if she so felt the need, didn’t matter the circumstance. 😂 She was a beauty, and I miss her. She was with us only 10 years, seeming to die of natural causes. I think, sometimes, the “wild” just never gets out of them. When I lived at home, a feral cat came around, and at first, we thought he’d never become domestic; yet, he did give in to a bit of yummy treats and sweet coaxing, over about a six month period of constant persuasion. However, even after 15 years of “living” with us (indoor/mostly outdoor), you could still, at times, see a bit of the “wild” in him, and he eventually, went off alone.
    We have another black one now, but he’s not a Manx, and he, and his brother, are the most docile cats I’ve ever seen!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on allenrizzi and commented:

    #Caturday – Post Script – Black Mama dies last year.


  6. I’m sorry about Black Mama. I’ve had two black cats in my life—Baby Kitty and Merry. RIP to the best of the black cats. Now I have two black dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We were farm kids so cats stayed outside. Once we had a cross-eyed cat, Minnie, and had planned to display her in our circus. Couldn’t come up with other acts. Minnie went on to mother several litters of farm cats that lived in the haymow in the barn.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How lovely to have had their friendship for so many years. I miss all our cats too. One day we may have more, but even after 3 years the hurt of losing them prevents us. Some holes cannot be filled easily.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful~ How great is this!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful cats… As the challenge wasn’t mine, could you possibly share your image with Frank who hosted the challenge! Here is a link to his blog


  11. Reblogged this on Janet's Thread 2 and commented:
    My very first cat was black with a white front. Oh how I loved “Whiskers”.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for linking!


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