No, not that Black Cat–the kinds with tails and ears on top of their heads. Did you know that many shelters have to put a hold on black cats around Halloween to avoid people adopting them to kill them? Did you know that black cats and dogs are more likely to be left at a shelter than other kinds?
Black cats get a bad reputation, and for reasons largely based on myth. As a very proud black cat “mom” myself, I’ve got to say, they’re just as lovely as any other passive-aggressive claw monster you could have in your home.
August 17th is #blackcatappreciationday, to raise awareness and visibility of black cats around the globe. Today we celebrate with some of our favorite fictional felines of the noir variety.
The Black Cat with Style: Salem Saberhagen
Sabrina the Teenage Witch has been a figure of comics, television, animated television, and now a horror series from Archie Comics. In every iteration of Sabrina, we also get a new version of Salem. Perhaps the most popular is the animatronic cat from the ’90s television show, Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Voiced by Nick Bakay, Salem often got his own subplot, complete with ridiculous costumes and props.
The Black Cat with A Plan: Thackery Binx
If you haven’t seen Hocus Pocus yet, congratulations! You’re either living in a hut in the mountains, or actively avoiding this cult classic. Much like Salem, Binx was portrayed by both a real and mechanical black cat, depending on what the scene called for. He and Salem also have their humanity in common. That’s right–both black cats are actually humans trapped in feline form.
Unlike Salem, however, Binx is immortal and cursed with protecting the city of Salem, MA from the Sanderson sisters’ return. We know. He’s not great at his job.
The Helpful Black Cat: Jiji
Jiji “belongs” to Kiki about as much as any black cat can belong to a human. In Kiki’s Delivery Service Jiji is Kiki’s familiar, and steps in when Kiki loses a delivery. Jiji and Kiki have trouble closer to the end of the film when they can no longer talk to one another. Some critics say this loss of communication is a marker of Kiki leaving adolescence behind, even though it coincides with her regaining the ability to fly. Whether or not they can talk to each other, Kiki and Jiji are best friends forever.
The Rudest Black Cat: Luna
Luna is the second black cat on our list from anime. Sailor Moon introduces Luna in the first episode, though she’s just a creeper kitten with weird band aids on her face. Once the band aids are removed, however, she’s the sassiest cat on the block. Luna spends the rest of the series telling Sailor Moon exactly what she thinks, whether it’s relationship advice or tips on how to stave off the negaverse. Mostly, her commentary is unwelcome, but Serena and the rest of the team love her none the less.
The Black Cat With the Moves: Mr. Mistoffelees
Perhaps the most dividing subject in musical theatre is the Weber classic Cats–based, of course, on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Whether or not Eliot planned for his book of poems to become a full-realized musical complete with special effects and insane dancing, I suppose we will never know. What we do know, however, is that Cats DOES HAVE A PLOT–all of the cat characters present their life story to Deuteronomy, the wisest of cats, on why they deserve to head on up to the “heavy side lair” (cat heaven), and be reborn into a new cat life. Mr. Mistoffelees presents his case in the form of a magic show, and it is magnificent. The show is back on Broadway. Just go see it.
The Bonus Black Cat: Sif the Warrior Princess
Alright, she’s not fictional. She’s my cat. Ain’t she the sweetest? (of course, as I type this, she’s knocking over everything on my desk.)
Show us your favorite cats for #blackcatappreciationday!