In Honor of National Cat Day: Raven! #blackcats

It was recently brought to my attention (ahem, Julie) that Raven hasn’t made an appearance on my blog in a while. It also dawned on me that today is National Cat Day. Given Raven is a black cat, it’s almost Halloween, and it’s National Cat Day, that’s a trifecta I couldn’t pass up. I’m late in getting this posted, but for all the cat lovers out there, here’s my gorgeous girl . . .

This past spring, hanging out in the bow window.
The little birds that visit in the morning provide hours of entertainment.

Beautiful black cat in bow window with rose in bloom behind glass

Peek-a-boo from her collapsible cube.
She likes to flatten it like a pancake when she’s playing.

Black cat peeking out of a large toy cube

Taking a nap on tree #1 by the bow window.
So innocent—while plotting . . .

Black cat curled up on a large cat tree

The perfect way to get a second tree is to hang out where she isn’t allowed.
Smart girl.

Black cat balancing on the back of chair

The plotting worked.
Tree #2 overlooking the rear deck arrives.
She and a resident chipmunk play tag, racing between this spot
and the patio doors in the family room. More entertainment!

Black cat on a large cat tree in front of french doors

I was an idiot to think that large spray of reeds in the corner could stay. 
Tree + cat + reeds = large cat toy.
The spray was moved in less than an hour.

Black cat sitting on a large cat tree in front of a French door

A new toy—sort of.
Stolen from my key chain.
She makes a good thief.

Black cat in sitting pose looking at camera with a puff toy in front of her

Ready for bed at the end of the day.
She has me wrapped and knows it!

Black cat under sheets in bed

Raven and I wish you a Happy National Cat Day!

Christmas . . . and #Cats

cute black cat poking out of plastic bag on bedThis is our second year with Raven, my beautiful rescue cat. Look at that face. Pretty hard to be miffed at anything that cute, right?

Last December she was seven months old and filled with curiosity. That led her to camp out in the smaller of my two Christmas trees, sprawling on the branches, and stealing at least a dozen Christmas ornaments. Every morning I’d find sparkly blue and silver balls on the floor or tucked away under the couch. Clever little thing did most of her “hunting” at night.

Because the smaller tree goes in our bow window—one of her favorite hangouts—we decided to forego it this year and just use our larger tree in the family room. She didn’t bother the larger tree last year, so we figured we were in the clear.

Uh…not.

A cat never outgrows curiosity.

The tree wasn’t trimmed more than ten minutes when I found her lying in the branches. Now that it’s been up for over a week, the branch-lounging novelty has worn off, but decorations on the bottom are still fair game. Fortunately, we’ve only had one shattered bulb and I was able to scoop her up before her little paws picked up any glass. The glass bulbs are now clustered mostly at the top.

Progress.

I’ve had cats before—three since I’ve been married, Raven being the fourth—and they were all spoiled. But this one has me wrapped. Worse, she knows it. I keep reminding myself that in human years, she’s about 18-20 years old. What’s the saying—Girls just want to have fun?

She’s definitely doing that!

If you have a cat—or even if you don’t—you might enjoy my paranormal Christmas novella, Food for Poe. It features a clever black feline, a holiday romance, and a creature from myth all wrapped up in a Yuletide tale. You can pick it up on Amazon for just .99 cents.

Book cover for FOOD FOR POE by Mae Clair shows attractive young couple in a winter setting with a black cat and silver Christmas ornaments belowBlurb
When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic and paranormal trouble

One reviewer’s take:
“This has become my new favourite Christmas story! I’m going to read it again next Christmas. Poe, a beautiful pure black cat (Not at all unlike my own darling, Rico… Wink.) is the hero of this most magical and thoroughly captivating tale.

It is a tale of love, hope, compassion, faith, superstition, and suspense with a touch of horror… I was hooked from the start. If it was up to me, I’d make it into a Christmas movie and watch it every year.” ~ Kevin Cooper

You can purchase Food for Poe for .99c from Amazon 

Raven and I thank you for your consideration, and send you wishes for a purrfectly Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Mythical Monday: Black Dogs

Black cats have always gotten a bad rap, but I’d rather have a black cat cross my path than encounter one of the infamous nocturnal black dogs of folklore (and for the record, I love black cats!). Larger than an average canine, the black dog of legend is usually a portent of doom or death and will often appear to a lone traveler. For this reason, those walking the roads at night would frequently buddy-up with a companion, hoping to stave off its appearance. Even then, the dog might be visible to only one of the two, ascertaining those meant to see the hound could not escape it.

Many cultures believe in a creature or object that is said to be an omen of death. I remember finding a black feather as a child then running home terrified, sobbing to my mother, when someone told me it was a sign of death. She did what mothers do – – calmed my fears, hugged me, and told me I would be fine. Moms don’t lie, but I remember lying awake that night, listening to every creak and groan of the house waiting for something to happen. When dawn arrived, I decided I was safe. Superstitions are always more frightening when examined in the dark, especially through the eyes of a child.

But the legend of the Black Dog was passed from county to county and continent to continent by adults. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle even had his master detective, Sherlock Holmes tangle with “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (my favorite Holmes story).

And then there is Black Dog Tor, a large standing stone said to conceal the spirit of a spectral hound. In all cases, these dogs are utterly silent which makes their eerie appearance all the more spine-tingling. Imagine crossing a grassy knoll silvered by moonlight and watching a bulky apparition with glowing eyes crest the rise.

Black Dogs were also seen at crossroads, footpaths, gallows, gravesites and bridges. Sometimes associated with storms, they were given differing names depending on location and who was telling the tale – – grims, hellhounds, Padfoot, Hairy Jack, the yeth hound, Gurt, and Black Shuck to name a few.

So the next time you venture out when eventide has flowed into moon-drenched night, remember the myths and legends that prompted travelers to seek out a companion in the hopes of avoiding a Black Dog. 

At the very least, I suggest taking a deliriously happy canine friend with you. There’s  nothing like a floppy-eared black lab to make a Grim realize he got a raw deal and ditch the moody stuff. 😀