Black Cats in Autumn, Sweetness and Glitz

Little Buddy drowsing between waking and sleeping

Little Buddy

We lost our Little Buddy last year, at age 19. We miss him, always.

I was going for the feel of a seasonal ‘spooky’ night when I intensified the colors in the above picture with photo editing. But the lighting is a mix of daytime solar and incandescent, just enhanced to look ‘unreal’. Along with the glitz I see our sweet rascally boy drowsing thoughtfully on his blankie.

(All pictures are copyrighted 2015 but were taken in earlier years.)

It’s the time of bright foliage shimmering in the treetops. Walking to the creek, looking down, there it all is again: reflections of the trees’ reds, greens, oranges, as well as the sky’s blues. So it’s like, you can’t miss it, no way! I love fall, the berries of violet and crimson that draw the birds, the arts festivals, the hayrides. I also love Halloween when it’s the fun and benign sort of spooky, the costumes, the characters, the glowing pumpkins, the iridescent decorations, the old movies we unearth or get from the library, Frankenstein, maybe an old vampire flick with Christopher Lee. Harvest, strings of purple lights, haystacks, pumpkin patches. Black cats. (!?) Well, in the traditional color scheme, cats black as a plush autumn night contrast fetchingly with the oranges and golds of ripening gourds and electrifying trees.

Little Buddy, complicated cat

Little Buddy, complicated cat

A misty photo to being with, this one has a ‘mysterious’ edge to me. The autumn air is dense with falling leaves, moods, remembrance, longing, thoughts of all those persons and pets we’ve lost. The “hue/saturation” slider always wants to shift LB’s eyes towards green when they were actually a deep gold. There were greenish areas close to his irises, which the editing program picked up on, I imagine.

Much as I love this season, I hate that I have to strongly advise: During the month of October and a few days after, keep your black cats, and cats and dogs of all colors, and all animals, inside, safe and protected from harm by depraved individuals! I hate that black cats are being adopted as Halloween props for parties, then abandoned or taken back to the shelter after the holiday’s over. Humans need to be careful these days, too. Like so many have said, what’s wrong with people!?

So do I want to see black cats in Halloween imagery?

BTW here is my take on the all natural beautiful, affectionate black cat:

While in the past I questioned the wisdom of using black cat imagery for the October holiday, it’s become commonplace. Now even black cat advocates’ social media sites are full of black kitties bringing glamour and grace to the pumpkin patch or the spooky scenery. Trying to keep cats out of Halloween decor would be a losing battle. Growing artistry in photo manipulation, and in imaginative prowess, has made for some highly effective spookiness. And I like spooky as well as anyone, as long as it’s kindly, benevolent at heart, well-intended.

So, these are my pictures of my sweet Little Buddy, jazzed up towards seasonal via editing. I can’t match what’s being done by real photo editing experts, but I liked making my little guy’s black cat beauties shine even more. Though I did tear up at times, missing him.

Super bright-eyed boy, our Little Buddy

Super bright-eyed boy, our Little Buddy with gold eyes edited to green

The eyes shift to green again. Season-wise it works, there’s green here in our trees yet, chlorophyll hanging in there with reds, yellows, and oranges.

Little Buddy on alert, food imminent

Little Buddy on alert, food imminent

Tried another technique, and somewhat restoredΒ the gold eyes.

Handsome Little Buddy in kitchen, with food on his mind

Handsome Little Buddy, who had radial hypoplasia, in kitchen, with food on his mind

He was a radial hypoplasia kitty, described more fully here:

He remains with me throughout all seasons, in heart though no longer in house.

Pumpkin Kitty, based loosely on our Little Buddy

Pumpkin Kitty, based loosely on our Little Buddy

“Pumpkin kitty” a jack o’ lantern I designed in 2005 while actually looking at Little Buddy’s face for guidance. My husband carved the pumpkin from my drawing, and added the ears.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!





About Leah

I'm Leah T. Alford, a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
This entry was posted in Art, black cats, Cat Topics, Cats, Nature and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Black Cats in Autumn, Sweetness and Glitz

  1. I’ve always been careful to keep my black cat inside a few days before and after Halloween. That angers me that people would be so nonchalant about using black cats for temporary enterainment. Shame on them.

    • Catwoods says:

      That’s a very good idea to keep your cats in this time of year, catsdogsharmony. Shame on those who harm them or just use them for decorations, indeed!

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and now, I am following yours. Beautiful photos. Sorry about the loss of your black cat. I have a young black cat named Cougar. This is the first black cat I ever owned. And it was by chance that I have him. He was born to a black and white cat that belongs to my grandson. As the last of the litter, this kitty needed a home, and it just so happened that I wanted him.I’m sure someone else would have given him a good home, but he was meant to be mine. As a kitten he was fun to watch as he played on the porch. He is an outdoor cat, but he loves to be petted and noticed, and he gets lots of attention and care. He’s fun to watch as he still plays with his half-brother. And he’s a great subject for photos. I might never have picked out a black cat, but his one has proven to be the very best!

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks Freeda, for your sympathy about the loss of our kitty – we still miss him every day – and your kind words about my pictures, and for following. Glad everything is working out so well for you with Cougar – what a great name! We’ve found black kitties to be just as affectionate as cats with other colors and coat patterns. Some people think they don’t photograph well, but I enjoy the challenge, finding ways to get interesting effects with their dark fur in contrast to the backgrounds.

  3. Grandtrines says:

    Nice work!

  4. joey says:

    That jack o’lantern is fantastic!
    I’m sorry for the loss of Little Buddy. I know what you mean when you say you miss him always. 19 is a really long time.
    I love the autumn, but I don’t love Halloween. Black cats are great tho. I’ve never had a black cat, although I’m on my second tuxedo. Big fan of those colored eyes standing out against the darkness. Maybe one day a black cat will choose me.
    Playing with photo filters is fun πŸ™‚

    • Catwoods says:

      Glad you like the jack o’lantern, joey, it was great fun to make! I’ve always found black cats to be some of the most affectionate, but I may have just been lucky. I’ve had a lot of fun working with the pictures in photo editing. I look forward to doing more, but for me fine finger motions are labor intensive. So for awhile I have to put all that aside and try to do some other things. I’ll get back to it eventually.

  5. Ellen Hawley says:

    Good photos–and not an easy subject, a black cat. We lost our black cat, Smudge, to a car earlier in the year. He was a lovely, sleek, muscular cat, and still missed.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you, Ellen, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. It is indeed hard to photograph black cats, but I’ve had fun trying to work around the difficulties , and over the years I got a fair amount of black cats pics I’m happy with. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your Smudge! I too still miss the cats I’ve lost, and always will.

  6. Lauren says:

    He’s beautiful, Leah. One of the most bizarre reasons black cats are the hardest to get adopted is that “they don’t photograph well!?” Buddy can certainly be a poster boy for gainsaying such nonsense!
    I can fully identify with your loss and its abiding acuteness. Our late Coolidge was 17 when he succumbed to chronic renal failure. Effie is a cheerer upper, no question–but you always miss your longest-with-you Cat. . . .

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Lauren. I too am totally puzzled by the strange idea that you can’t photography black cats well. There are so many dynamic photo possibilities with black kitties, even without any photo editing.
      I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your Coolidge. I have the same experience of longing for the kitties who are now gone, and also taking joy in the kitty I still have.

      • Lauren says:

        Coolidge departed from life the morning of August 13, and we brought Effie home that evening. I couldn’t face a night in our house without a cat. I never thought before that I would ever do that, but it was the most therapeutic and bonding thing I can imagine. Effie is not a replacement–she’s our Cat–and she knows it!

  7. Erica Herd says:

    Sorry for your loss. Wonderful, artful photos. I once witnessed a group of children mistreating a black kitten – teasing and taunting it–while they left the other kittens in the box alone. They were calling the black kitten “Damien.” My ex was with me and we both told them to leave him alone or we would take him away from them. Black cats do have a bad rap.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you for your kind words, and glad you enjoyed the photos! Good for you, speaking out on behalf of that poor kitten. Humans can be wonderful but they can also be so mean. The black kitties do sometimes get the worst of it.

  8. Mollie Hunt says:

    Little Buddy is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. As to Black cats for Halloween, maybe making them lovely spooky symbols of the holiday will shift the trend away from violence to adoration. With education, laws, and jail-time consequences for animal cruelty, there is no excuse for abuse.

    • Catwoods says:

      I agree, and I hope drawing attention to black cat beauty and sweetness will help improve their image in all seasons. Though I used to avoid the Halloween association with black cats, I changed my tactics; I hope Halloween can be good spooky fun from now on. As you say, there is absolutely no excuse for unkind treatment of any animal, ever. Thank you for commenting and saying my little guy is beautiful!

  9. chattykerry says:

    Little Buddy was adorable and what a lovely long life he lived with his adoring human parents. Our little Muffy died at 18 and it was like losing a daughter. Your photographs are a marvelous memorial to him. All our cats are indoors now but I always stay with them when there are likely to be fireworks, just in case they get spooked. K x

    • Catwoods says:

      Kerry, sorry to hear about the loss of your kitty Muffy. The loss of a family pet really does hit hard. Thank you for your kind words about our Little Buddy. We keep out cats indoors too. Good for you staying with the kitties during area fireworks! I’ve noticed our cats can be spooked by neighborhood fireworks even though the houses are far apart. We don’t set off fireworks ourselves.

  10. He will be with you always. What wonderful memories.

  11. Herman says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post but I am so sorry for your loss. Cherish all the beautiful memories in your heart.

  12. RMW says:

    Our cat friends never leave our hearts.

  13. What a beauty he was and lucky to have had such a caring family. I lost my Weezer this year, she was about that age, we think. Here’s a pic:

    It’s so hard to lose them.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing the picture of your beautiful Weezer, Charlotte. I’m so sorry; it does hurt so much to lose them.

  14. Deziz World says:

    Him’s so very handsum. Fanks fur sharin’ him wiff us. Weez sowry fur yous loss and we hate da idiots what make halloween dangerous too. We just don’t get peeps and their innate cruelty. Be safe and have a gweat weekend.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  15. Cate says:

    Your little Buddy was a handsome guy! Please know that many of us understand and share your sadness over the space once occupied by a special feline. I have black sibling cats now who I have known since they were a few days old and who, now 7, I hope are less than halfway through their lives with me. I am grateful for them every day.

    • Catwoods says:

      Cate, thank your the kindness of your words. It helps to know there are others who understand what we feel when our animals leave us. I’m hoping you will have a good long time with your two black kitties yet. Right now the only kitty I have left in the house is my big brown tuxie Bud, who is 14 (and who is fuming a bit because he is not in this post …). He seems fairly healthy, I hope he has lots of years left.

  16. A friend ... says:

    Love these photos, Leah! Ah, Little Buddy — he so reminds me of our beloved black cat, Tomas, who lived to be 19.5 years old. He was my dear buddy, that’s for sure. Hope you’re doing well, enjoying this fall season. I have a new blog (yeah, I know, long story, lol) at I do hope it’s my last iteration (it’s such a pain getting a new platform/template set up). Deb (aka, “A friend …”) πŸ™‚

    • Catwoods says:

      Deb, so glad you like the photos. And sorry you lost your kitty, Tomas; even when a pet has a good long life, it’s so hard when they leave. I’m going to follow your new blog, I have been enjoying your writing, it’s so adventurous and deeply affecting! Love your artwork, too! Fall color is just starting to really burst out here. I need to get outside, I overdid trying to photo edit too fast and now my hands hurt, aargh. Gotta get away from the computer a bit. Warmest wishes for a great autumn!

      • A friend ... says:

        Oh, Leah, I hear you about getting away from the computer — LOL! I’ve been stuck to mine for several days now, unfortunately during the nice weather … now it’s raining, or getting ready to. Yes, our dear Tomas, he was a lovely, lovely cat, and so smart. I miss him to this day. Thanks for following my (newish) blog!

      • D.S. Levy says:

        Thanks for your sweet comments about my work, Leah! Sometimes I’m not sure just what I’m trying to do anymore. πŸ™‚ But thank you for reading me while I try to figure it out. πŸ™‚ Yes, we do miss our cats and dog very much, and always will. Today it’s rainy, maybe some of that hurricane brushing up into the Midwest. Hope you’re having a great day!

        • Catwoods says:

          You’re welcome, Deb. I’m not sure I knew where I was headed during much of my writing life. Just slap it out there, I thought; we were into experimental art and writing. I’m less ornate now, but sometimes wish I still had the energy to tap into the depths of thought. Anyhow the hurricane remnants left us this morning, so it was a nice day, except I’m still draggin’ from trying to quickly to make this post. Still waiting for peak fall color here … Best wishes always!

          • D.S. Levy says:

            I like experimental art/writing too, Leah. Unfortunately, some of the places I send stories to, doesn’t. πŸ™‚ Glad you’re having better weather — hope we get a nice day tomorrow (Thursday). Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

  17. Karen B says:

    What a privilege for me to spend time with you, my friend and your beloved and terribly handsome Buddy. It does not ever get any easier, does it this sense of loss? And yet the love, the deep love is the enduring thing. Love which for these, are dear departed feline friends; the friends which has given our lives more joy, more love. Enriching our lives while they are here and devastating us when they can no longer stay. The older I get the more kitties I have in my memories and somehow, I don’t think I pick up from it all as I used to.
    Thank you for celebrating your love with a tribute which linked with the seasons richness and beauty. I had never heard of real cats being used as decoration and cast aside at Halloween. Something like that, for us cat lovers who place their welfare above our own, is impossible to contemplate. I love the carved pumpkin and the love which your husband gave to you and Buddy in the carving. I too shed a little tear for you and dear Buddy anf for my black cats Ossie and Otto who I have recently lost. Over the years I have made so many wall hangings and decorations featuring my cats. Maybe one day I should share them with you on my blog. I send you love, my special, cat loving friend for the beauty of your writing and for your loving heart πŸ™‚ x

    • Catwoods says:

      Karen, thank you so much for your sweet and eloquent words! Through reading them I can sense that you have similar feelings to mine, that you experience those who have left us, in memory and story. Writing a book about my kitties (not published but I hope to one day) and working with their pictures has helped me cope in some ways with their being gone from this life. It helps refresh my memory, which is not so sharp, with the illness I have and the years that are speeding by. Although the memories are bittersweet, I think it would be worse if they faded entirely. I’d never want the cats or persons I’ve known to be forgotten. I would really enjoy seeing your wall hangings and decorations with your cats, if you ever decide to post them, whenever you have the time and feel comfortable about posting them. Sending love and hugs back atcha! So happy to have become friends online!

      • Karen B says:

        Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply. I wish I could share some of your memories in person. But we are lucky that we can have this contact.
        Your post inspired me to go up into the attic and bring down my Halloween decorations. I made them all and may share a picture on my blog this weekend. I am having some friends round for supper on Saturday night and am just having a dummy run of laying and styling the table. I used to run a restaurant so old habits die hard. πŸ™‚ Take care of those memories. I know that sometimes they hurt but they are a symbol of the love we still have for our friends. x x

        • Catwoods says:

          Karen, have a wonderful time this weekend! I think your decorations will make a great post! Having an actual conversation would be wonderful, but my ‘going and doing’ days are definitely over, and I am so glad to be able to talk with you via computer! If I had ever been a world traveler, Britain would have been the first place I would have visited. I would have wanted to do a literary tour, and a tour of the countryside places. Warmest wishes always!

          • Karen B says:

            Maybe I could help you to make the tour? What a fun project that would be! Do you like Jane Austen (Bath)? Or Thomas Hardy (Dorset)? Or Shakespeare, (Stratford) or D.H. Lawrence ( Derbyshire)? I was totally overjoyed to see Hardy’s pencils in the Dorchester museum. He had cut a slither off each end and written in the name of the book he had written with each pencil.
            Please let me know who you would follow on your tour. I would love to do something nice for you. And I hate the winter and am like a little lost soul without my garden…it would be fun for me too!

            • Catwoods says:

              Karen, finding this comment has made my day! This is such a kind and thoughtful offer! I was so moved I even called my husband to tell him about your message! I so regret to say, my poor health is now making it hard for me to even go out of the forest to the ten miles to the town we live near. My husband and I both have health problems and must stay near our doctors. So we can’t go to Britain now. I have completed my book and I’m rushing to get it published before I have further decline. A trip to Britain is a lovely fantasy to dream about, and should we awake well by some miracle, then I would be able to go and I would let you know, we’re comin’! All that said, I like all those authors; I adore Shakespeare and took three courses in college of Shakespeare alone. Also adore Hardy and his vivid pictures of rural life. In an odd way, he reminds me of Faulkner, both seem to examine and depict the life of country communities. I also like Lawrence. I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t know Austin’s work like I should, but she is on my rather lengthy reading list. Then there’s the Brontes. I also love the poets, Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, Hopkins, Blake. Being inclined towards sci-fi, I cannot forget Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein! And having some known Scottish heritage myself, there’s Robbie Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson. Then there’s Joyce, Yeats … Thank you so much for your great kindness, Karen! It’s been a pleasure today to think over so much important and astonishing literature and to imagine ourselves touring Britain with you! I know exactly what you mean about winter! I’m not fond of it either. Fortunately I live far enough south to still have some warm days and some autumn foliage left. Hope to post some fall creek pics soon but I’m really draggin’! Warmest wishes always, Leah

              • Karen B says:

                Well…never say never Leah. But I think there are still things I can do to help you. We will make a virtual tour to help you to walk in the footsteps of your favourite writers. Funnily enough, all your favourites are mine too and I want to find a way of creating something for you, something to celebrate your passion for literature. I have often wanted to try and find a way to express how I feel about the way that the authors and the characters they create inhabit my world. Some of them are so real to me and live on inside me in my inner world long after the book has been read. Incidentally, where do you stand on Flaubert’s Madame Bovary? Have you read the book? People seem to love her or hate her!
                It is very hard struggling with ill health and the difficulties which growing older brings are so hard to face. One moment we are youngish…..the next our bodies start to let us down and we realise that some of our options are no longer available to us. But you have finished your book! That is truly amazing and you now know that I am ready to share the joy you feel for all your favourite writers either here…..or I will send them to you.
                It is a little link of friendship and a way to celebrate some of the greatest writers the world has known.
                I will give some thought to how I can do it….watch this space. x x

                • Catwoods says:

                  Karen what a perfect description you’ve written of the lingering effects of great storyteling! I am sorry to admit I have not read Madame Bovary. Not for lack of interest, but I’ve had a chronic illness for 20+ years in addition to the ailments of aging that I’m now experiencing – so, with all the busyness of coping with illness, I am not as well read as I would like to be. And I am so forgetful! I don’t know how I left out Oscar Wilde and The Picture of Dorian Gray yesterday. Then there’s Bram Stoker also. But really, there is so much great writing that one person can only scratch the surface. You are a great friend Karen, I will appreciate anything you do but please don’t go to too much trouble as I may be lax about expressing my gratitude in the coming months as I cope with all the little details of trying to get the book out; I think it cannot happen before spring, if that fast. Then there’s the holidays coming too. Warmest wishes and hugs always, Leah

                  • Karen B says:

                    Please do not worry Leah, I have sensed during the time I have known you that you do what you can, when you can in relation to your blog and your responses. I am aware how you need to reserve energy and it is nice when we connect, every now and again. Know that I understand and that you need to keep all your strength for you book. Christmas is coming up fast now. Please take care. Karen x

  18. What a Purrfect post! Thanks fur sharing about your little babies!😺

  19. lulu says:

    My black cat was Magic and she, too, lived to be 19.

  20. He was a cutie. Sorry for your loss.

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