Here's the Thing
Rob's black cat Finley, adorably resting his chin on a carpeted cat tower.

The False Myth of the Black Cat

This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #163. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.

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Here’s the Thing is where Rob dumps his random thoughts and strong opinions on all manner of nerdy subjects – from videogames and movies to board games and toys.

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I think it’s safe to say that most people these days realize how ridiculous it is to view black cats as “bad luck” or “an ill omen” or whatever else. I’m also fairly sure cats that blend in with shadows and a particular Metallica album cover are still often treated unfairly (even cruelly) due to their fur color. I knew the bad luck thing was bull for most of my life – because I stopped being five years old and am also not a complete moron – but here’s the thing: I still had some odd misconceptions and biases towards them that I never knew existed. Until we welcomed Finley into our home.

Finley (we have a tradition of naming our boy cats after Bruce Campbell characters and his name is a Burn Notice deep cut) is a black cat, which I’d imagine is pretty obvious because why else would I mention him in a story with this kind of title? I love him so much. He’s my shadow-dork of a son and I would go to the ends of the earth for him if necessary. And yet, there was a time in my life when I didn’t think I’d ever connect with a black cat. I’d certainly never had one in the family up to that point, so I didn’t have any first-hand comparisons to make, but I also didn’t have those kinds of expectations for other felines so what the hell, past me?

For some reason I had this bizarre (and utterly untrue, as I believe I’ve made clear) assumption that black cats don’t have much in the way of a personality. Like they’re just Cat in an academic sense – an animal that does cat things, but without displaying any hints of individuality. Maybe it was an offshoot of those terrible misconceptions people sometimes spread about them, I dunno.

What I do know is I couldn’t have been more wrong about black cats, and Finley taught me that lesson pretty thoroughly in very short order. He’s the most food-driven animal I’ve ever met in my almost 42 years on this planet, and he can be an insufferable asshole when he’s been clearly starving for a thousand years (i.e. it’s an hour before dinner). He’s the biggest himbo I know, and we’re pretty sure his brain is just playing Wii eShop music like 95% of the time. He’s also the most sappy love-void in the world and will straight-up pout if he doesn’t get his mandated snuggle time on the couch every day.

Finley has been the opposite of “bad luck” for all of the seven-ish years we’ve known each other. As I’m writing this, I can hear him getting into something in the other room just to make noise because it’s getting close to his second bedtime feeding. And even so, I’ll always be grateful that we accidentally adopted him. Long story but tldr: He blended into the cage at the shelter a little too well. Which I guess is on-brand for a cat like him. And just him in general.

Love you, buddy.

Finley lying on his side, big adorable squishy face right next to the camera. What a goober.

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Rob Rich is a guy who’s loved nerdy stuff since the 80s, from videogames to anime to Godzilla to Power Rangers toys to Transformers, and has had the good fortune of being able to write about them all. He’s also editor for the Games section of Exploits! You can still find him on Twitter, Instagram and Mastodon.

 

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