As mentioned in my previous post, I am working on a book about a teen girl who is horrendously bullied at school because of her lack of confidence and timidity. Things start to change when black cats start to turn up in her life almost everywhere she looks.
Where did I get the idea of black cats hanging out on someone’s porch or crossing their path on the way home from school?
I initially came up with the idea nearly 20 years ago, when I was 15 and living in a small town outside of Albany, New York. I was living in that place for a couple of years, and towards the end of my time there, there was this black cat that used to hang around in our backyard.
I remember when I first saw it. I was sitting in the den, watching TV one evening, when something caught my eye. I turned to look at the sliding glass doors that led to the backyard, and saw this beautiful, plump black cat sitting at the door, peering into the house.
At first I was surprised, because who expects to find a cat being all nosy by looking into someone’s house? But I softened up when I saw how the cat looked curious about what was going on in our house. Seriously, it looked genuinely interested in the happenings inside! It also had these big greenish-yellow eyes that looked so gentle. It seemed like a very friendly cat.
I didn’t open the door to pet the cat because I didn’t want to scare it away, nor have it think it was allowed inside our house. Besides, the cat seemed quite at peace watching me watching TV.
Over the next few weeks, the cat came back a couple more times. It was a house cat with a collar. So clearly, its owner was allowing it to wander the area, and be true to a cat’s hunting ways.
About a month later, my parents and I moved back to Staten Island, and I obviously never saw that cat again. But I never forgot it. I actually was inspired to write a piece about a girl who lived in the foster care system who was rescued by the magical cats – who actually shapeshifted into gorgeous boys, lol!
I thought about writing such a story as a full length novel, but I figured one about a teen girl abused and passed from one foster home to another was a little too depressing. In addition, my first book is about relationship violence and I don’t want it to seem like abuse is the theme for all my books (although bullying is a form of abuse, but that’s a different topic).
So I chose instead to write about bullying because it is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed. And black cats are the perfect star for this book, tentatively called, “The Cats”. After all, black cats had been tormented for centuries for being associated with witchcraft and bad luck. Even today, black cats are less likely to be adopted compared to other cats, and supposedly, they are still tormented for satanic rituals these days.
But black cats are also associated with good luck. In the U.K., if a black cat crosses your path, it gives you good luck. Sailors used such cats for a good voyage. Even the Japanese see these beautiful cats as carriers of good luck.
It seems like black cats are a good symbol of things not being so bad as they seem. Which gives good prelude to what “The Cats” will be about!