Anyone who's a fan of cozy mysteries, and probably everyone on Facebook, is well aware that October is National Cat Month. Cats grace the covers of so many mystery novels, and many mystery authors are cat owners and lovers. What I didn't realize until today is there's also a National Cat Day - October 29th is the date to celebrate felines! I have been a cat lover as long as I've known how to walk.
Years ago, I took my husband to a doctor's appointment. He was suffering from dizziness due to an inner ear problem. He left the room for testing, and the doctor told me "he needs to avoid cats." I went into an immediate internal panic – I can't get rid of my cats – before the doctor explained that CATS stood for caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and sodium. Whew! So long as I don't have to get rid of the cats, I'm good. And no, I didn't say that aloud to my husband.
As a child growing up on a farm I spent many a day patiently inching closer to the wild kittens that were often born in our barn. With time, I tamed them all and we became best friends. At one point, I counted seventeen cats under our maple tree eating from numerous dishes at dinner time. I loved each and every one. Today I have only one elderly cat, but I'm acquainted with many wonderful fictional cats. Chablis, Syrah, and Merlot of Leann Sweeney's Cats in Trouble series and Diesel of Miranda James' Cat in the Stacks series are favorites.
I'm growing quite fond of Hitchcock, the cat in my Bad Luck Cat series to be published by Berkley beginning in September 2015. I'm currently writing book #2 of the series. In book #1, Black Cat Crossing, my protagonist meets Hitchcock, the black cat who many believe is the legendary Bad Luck Cat. Since beginning my series, I've discovered several friends who are so afraid of black cats that they would drive a mile in the wrong direction to avoid having a black cat cross their path. As my eight-year-old granddaughter says "that's just plain silly."
Black cats are not bad luck. As a matter of fact, there are superstitions that black cats are actually good luck. For example: In Asia and the U.K., a black cat is considered lucky; to dream of a black cat is lucky; a strange black cat on a porch brings prosperity to the owner; a black cat given to a bride is thought to bring her good luck; to fishermen, black cats ensure a safe journey home.
I'm hoping that all black cat owners will keep their pets inside and safe during the upcoming Halloween season. Also, remember National Cat Day is not just about showering our cats with affection, but recognizing all the cats out there in need of being rescued! Did you know that nearly 4 million cats in the US are put into shelters every year? I hate to think about their fate.
If you're interested in celebrating National Cat Day 2014, one of the best things you could do is donate money to a shelter. You can make a difference for cats this October 29th. Give your own cat a great big purr-fect hug to celebrate the occasion.
Mystery author Kay Finch is currently writing her new Bad Luck Cat Mystery series set in the Texas Hill Country to be published by Berkley beginning in 2015. Her Klutter Killer mystery, Relative Chaos, features a professional organizer who finds a dead body in a hoarder's garage. Kay lives in a Houston, Texas suburb with her husband, two rescue dogs and a cat. Visit her web site at www.kayfinch.com.