Writer’s Workshop: Sherman, Toby and Jasmine

If a black cat crosses your path, it means she’s going somewhere. – Groucho Marx

All our cats (and we’ve had a few) have been (and still are) special, but the ones I think I’ve loved the most are the black and tuxedo cats we’ve had. Let me introduce you to three of them.


Sherman

We didn’t name him right away, because we wanted to see what his personality was before giving him a name. For several days, we watched this little black kitten march around the house and run up to our other cats, wrap his paws around them, and try to pull them over, and decided he was like a little general. So we named him Sherman, after William Tecumseh Sherman, who marched from Vicksburg to Atlanta, burning everything along the way.

Sherman was part Siamese and all black, and like most part-Siamese cats, didn’t “meow” so much as “squeak.” He grew to be a pretty big cat, as you can see, and he liked to intimidate some of the others. I think he thought he was playing, and the others just didn’t like the game. We had a woman living with us for a while, and she brought her cat, Elvis, along with her. Sherman really enjoyed stalking Elvis, and we thought he might have actually been in love with him. It was pretty funny to watch, though Elvis refused to see the humor in it. Mary was especially fond of Sherman, and he of her.


Toby

We visited a lady who ran a cat rescue from her home. She had a bunch of cats that needed new homes, including this little tuxedo who was missing one eye. He would not leave me alone, and got especially upset when I got up to leave. He ran after me, and he seemed so happy when I petted him that, well, I couldn’t leave without him. Thus, Toby, or as I would call him later “Toby One-Eye Kenobi,” came to live with us.

Toby was especially docile, and for a while we had another cat that was picking on him, but that stopped and soon he was having a peaceful life with us. He was quite attached to me, and when I would sit down he would come and sit on my leg. He would also follow me around. When I would go into my office, he would come in with me, and when I went out onto the deck, he’d follow me there. At night, he had the annoying habit of pulling on closed doors and letting go, which made a loud “bang,” and when I’d get up to stop him, he’d run under the bed. Eventually, he’d get tired of the game and find somwhere to sleep. There were times I was ready to wring his neck, but could never have brought myself to do it. He was my little guy.


Jasmine

We adopted Jasmine from a woman who ran a Persian and Siamese rescue. She (the cat, not the woman) was neither Persian nor Siamese, and no one who came to see the cats was interested in a black domestic shorthair. Jasmine and I hit it off pretty well, and while Mary was playing with a couple of part-Siamese cats, Jasmine and I played. When it came time to leave, I said I’d like to take Jasmine with us. The woman was thrilled, because she couldn’t find a home for her, and told us we’d be doing her a favor if we took her.

When we got her home, she started tearing around the house, ears back, vocalizing a lot. The others stayed away from her, because they thought she was crazy. Which, of course, she was, and we just happen to like crazy cats. Her name didn’t really fit her, and soon we were calling her “Jazzo.” One day, Jazzo managed to run out of the garage and down the street, with me in hot pursuit. We got about halfway down the street when she suddenly turned around and ran back to our house and into the garage. Now that I think about it, that was pretty amazing, considering she was an inside cat and didn’t know the area.


All of my black cats are waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge, where pets go to wait for their human friends to join them in Paradise. I miss them all, just as I miss every cat that’s lived with us or that’s been a part of our lives.

Black cats are just like any other cat. If you like cats, you’ll love black cats. They’re wonderful companions, a bit goofy but very loving, and they need good homes with people who love them. There seems to be a stigma about black cats: they’re associated with bad luck and witches and Hallowe’en, and that’s a strike against them for many. Plus, I’ve heard that people don’t adopt black cats because they don’t photograph well, which is just silly, as you can see from the pictures above.

One other thing: if you’re looking for a cat, consider an older one. There are too many of them who have spent their entire lives with cat rescue organizations and the Humane Society, and while they get lots of love there, they need forever homes.

31 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Sherman, Toby and Jasmine

  1. I love black cats and black dogs. If I could I would have just black cats. And a lab but, don’t worry, I love our fur babes. Your cats look so cute and must have been happy. Your Toby reminds me of 2 animals…our Kaspar has separation. Anxiety when my hubby goes outside. He wails and meows as he looks out the window at his daddy. Toby was the name of my dog when I was little and I loved that dog who was attached to me. I was at the neighbours, on a hay wagon, my dog Toby, saw me and looked the one wayon the highway but not the other and got hit by a car. When I came home and found out Toby was dead, my dad stepped up, since my mom could not give any sympathy, stran*ely enough, and said that death is a part of life but we must respect it. So he went with me and we buried Toby near the creek and I said some prayer for him. I will always remember my dad’s wonderful way of dealing with someth8ng traumatic.

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    1. It alwys breaks my heart to see a dog or a cat who has been killed in a car accident like that. Heck, any animal they gets squished like that. Mary will slam on the brakes when she’s driving and a squirrel dashes across the road. She doesn’t want to hurt them, even if it would have been their fault if she had.

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  2. Thank you for taking care of your feline friends. Toby’s story is particularly heartwarming.
    All of our cats are strays or were abandoned. The two most recent are 5 months old – darling little black kitties. That makes three black boys, and one orange tabby. Love ’em to pieces.

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  3. I’ve never been an “animal lover” and never had pets while growing up and for most of my married life. My husband, however, is definitely an animal person and over the last 10 years we’ve had two rescue cats. The first one he found in the parking lot where he worked and he just had to bring her home. She was black and we named her Whisper because she never meowed and would just suddenly appear. She was an indoor cat and never went outside. She lived for about 6 years and then developed kidney issues and we had to put her down. The second one was a neighborhood stray that we have taken in. She is not a talker either and is an outdoor cat, coming in to sleep and eat. I like her because she does not require a litter box in the house. Neither of them have been overly cuddly, especially not to me, even though I try to be nice and pet them.

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    1. We had a cat that I named Mouthwash (she had a white spot on her mouth, and in the right light looked green, like Scope) who was an outside cat that just kind of wandered into our lives. She’d come and go, and sometimes spend the night with us, but by morning wanted outside, probably to do her business (I never saw her using any of the boxes). I think she had several families in the neighborhood that would do the same, but she spent most of her time near us. One day I went out to feed her, and she wasn’t there, and never came back. I have no idea what happened, but I assumed she wasn’t coming back. That was about twenty years ago, and I don’t think she’ll be returning…

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  4. Hi John – I had a black cat once, who had a black and white kitten … I’m afraid their names didn’t live up to much – she was ‘Peedle’ and he was ‘Boot’ heaven knows why – I guess we couldn’t think of appropriate names … and thus they stayed that way … they too await us up there … lovely photos of yours … cheers Hilary

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  5. Black cats have been my best cats too!! We’ve been fostering kittens for our local shelter and the black ones have been the snuggliest so far. I have a tiny one now (11 ounces) who is not gaining weight, but is the darlingest baby. I’ve always said when I’m ready to adopt, I will adopt a pair of adults…but man these babies are pretty irresistible. I have to remind myself that they babies are literally adopted within 24 hours of moving into the adoption room while the adults stick around for weeks. It helps me stay strong and focused on finding the babies homes.

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    1. Our local Humane Society at one time had over 50 adult cats, most of whom had spent their entire lives there. Ditto several pet rescue organizations. Everyone wants a kitten, no one wants an older cat. It’s a shame. Now there are a few cats that would just as soon not have any human companionship. One time I was at a local cat rescue, and there was a cat sitting by itself on one of those big cat trees. I went up and talked to him, then reached out to pet him and got my hand scratched. The cat actually drew blood. He might have been fine with someone else, but he just took a notion about me…

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    1. More importantly, they were great companions that we enjoyed being with and who enjoyed living here. We’ve had a few that hid most of the time and acted as though they were scared of us. Not these three.

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  6. Thanks for introducing us to these three lovelies!
    We had a black cat, who was pretty feral. She ran away and I miss her. I would love to have another black cat, but our current cat is better off as an only child.

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  7. Gorgeous kitties πŸ™‚ What kitties aren’t, hmm? I love cats! I’ve had two tuxedo cats and a “black calico” — you know the ones everyone calls Patches? That’s as close as I’ve come to having a black cat. I’m not biased about cat coloring in the least bit. If I wanted a new kitty, I would go to a rescue place and see which kitty loves me. That would be my cat. πŸ™‚ That’s how I got all my cats, including my white cat, and the only trouble I have with her is that humans do enjoy dark clothes without white fur! πŸ™‚

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    1. I think a black calico would be a tortoiseshell. We’ve had a couple, and they were both a little nuts, something torties are known for. They were great cats, though. We’ve also had several calicos, including LIPS!, who had what’s called “rodent ulcer,” where her upper lip had disintegrated. She might have been our favorite, and God knows we tried to keep her healthy.

      A lot of white cats are deaf. Is yours?

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      1. Haha! I did have a nutty tortie for a while! I fostered her for months and months. Veronica! πŸ˜›
        But no, ours was a tricolor, a calico, just more black than white on her, she was called Ticker. We had to bottle feed her, abandoned barn cat, we think the mother died.
        We do have our favorites, don’t we?
        My white cat is not deaf, and she’s a talker! ❀

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        1. We only had to bottle feed two of our cats, two little ferals we named Homer and Jethro. We initially brought them into the house and put them on the floor, then realized they couldn’t walk, because they were only about a month old. We were so worried that we wouldn’t know what to do and kill them by accident, but we managed to feed them, then another of our cats, Lucy, took over the job of cleaning them. She was only about a year old herself, but knew just what to do. Jethro might have been the biggest cat I’ve ever seen; sadly, he died a few years ago. Homer is still with us, but is getting old, just like the rest of them.

          I think most of my gang over the last 40 years are my favorites…

          I just asked about your white cat because they tend to be deaf. Or maybe it’s just an act, I dunno. They also have a greater tendency to be odd-eyed, i.e. one blue and one yellow eye or some such combination.

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          1. She does have one blue and one green eye πŸ™‚ I do think the blue-eyed white cats are genetically prone to deafness. If it’s not true, it’s legendary, hm?
            I’ve had that female cat rearing and cleaning the young a few times, too. It’s sooo precious. Their instincts are incredible!
            I don’t know how old Ticker and her sister were when we got them. Small enough and underweight enough that we had to swaddle them and offer them hot towels to sleep on when we weren’t there to hold them. Poor dears. A friend took the other kitten and she lived almost 15 years, whereas Ticker only lived 6. But she had a great life.
            The great kitteh love of my life raised Ticker, and she only made it to 11. I feel like I’ve had very healthy cats until the end. Our family cat growing up, he lived to 22! I do hope early death is not the fate of ALL my kitties. 😦 Catticus is 9, Clara is 8, and Cletus is 3.

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            1. Right… it wasn’t the first time we had that happen. When Judy had a litter of kittens (she had been an outdoor cat and got knocked up before we took her in), one of my other females, Pepper, adopted one of the kittens. It’s uncanny… Pepper had been fixed as a kitten, but she still had the maternal instinct. We were so afraid that Judy would forget about her kittens when we had her fixed, but no, she came home and nursed them, no trouble.

              The cats we have now are all in the 13-15 range, the majority being close to 15. We’ve had at least two that made it to twenty, so we’ve been blessed. We’ve decided this is the end of the line, so I’m in no hurry for them to depart…

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              1. Oh yes, fixing them seems to leave their instincts intact. I love that Judy came home and nursed her kittens, how sweet, and what a relief!
                You’ve been blessed indeed πŸ™‚

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  8. I love cats and black cats are definitely a favorite. Our current cat wouldn’t do well sharing our abode or I would adopt a black cat. Thank you for sharing your cat stories.

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