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15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: January 7, 2019
15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture

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Black cats, perhaps more than any other type of cat, evoke such a response in we humans. Culturally, black cats have appeared in folk tales, art, films, internet memes and much more. This is not to say that the image of a black cat means to same to all cultures. Some see black cats as ominous figures, foreshadowing misfortune. Others connect them to good luck or signs of change. Whatever the cultural significance, black cats have found their way into popular culture in various guises. Whether this is a famous cartoon, a newsworthy feline, a literary figure, an anime character or comic book hero, black cats obviously have artistic appeal.

This is why AnimalWised brings you this list of 15 famous black cats in history and culture. In here you will see some which are instantly recognizable and others which may have had more fame in the past. Either way, they might remind you of the most important black cat in your life. and can be a good idea for black cat names.

You may also be interested in: Cat History and Evolution

Felix the Cat

While it is true Felix has a white mouth, he is generally thought of as a black cat and is one of the most famous cartoon cats in history. While younger readers may not find him as immediately recognizable, 2019 is the 100th year of his celebrity. Starting in the silent film era, Felix the Cat helped pioneer animation and furthered the art of film in general. His short movies were relatively simplistic in the beginning, but soon grew to encompass more characters, more complex animation and ever developing plots. He even shared the screen with an animate Charlie Chaplin back in 1923, bring one of the most famous black cats together with the most famous actor at the time. Felix is still one of the most popular names for black cats to this day.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - Felix the Cat

Snowball II

A more contemporary famous black cat, younger readers may be more familiar with the next fictional feline on our list. Ever ones to layer a joke, the Simpson's writers came up with the family cat Snowball II, a black cat with an inappropriate name. This is because the original Snowball was a white cat believed to be run over by the brother of the town's mayor. While not integral to the plots of many Simpsons episodes, Snowball II appears regularly and is a very recognizable famous cartoon black cat.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - Snowball II
Image: fanpop.com

Oscar the bionic cat

The first real life cat in our list of famous black cats, Oscar is no longer 100% organic. Due to an accident with a combine harvester in 2009, Oscar's back two feet were amputated. Fortunately, the veterinarian who treated Oscar referred him to veterinary surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick who wanted to use a pioneering technique. This technique allowed Oscar to receive blades on his back legs, similar to prosthetics used by sportspersons in the Special Olympics. When his ankle became broken, Oscar had to lose the blades, but had replacement 'feet' given to him which kept him mobile.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - Oscar the bionic cat
Image: bbc.co.uk

Behemoth from ‘The Master and Margarita’

This shape shifting enormous black cat is a character from Russian author Mikhail Buglakov's literary masterpiece The Master and Margarita. In the novel, Satan descends upon early 1930's Russia and wreaks havoc on its society. Behemoth is a member of the devil's entourage, but is a comic character who is berated by members of his own gang and seems most interested in drinking vodka and causing havoc. Behemoth can turn into a human, but spends most of the novel as an enormous fat black cat. He is central to some of the satirical elements of the book and is often the cover picture for international editions.

Cole

While some cats are famous from literature or cartoons, many cats are now becoming well known due to their popularity on the internet. Whether as part of a meme or having their own Instagram account, they develop their fame due to the popularity of looking at cat pictures online. Cole is one half of Cole & Marmalade, superstar internet cats who have their lives documented by Jessica and Chris, their guardians. Marmalade had cancer and Cole was there to look after him, helping to endear them both for double taps aplenty. Fortunately, Marmalade has since recovered, so they can both go back to their normal cat business.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - Cole
Image: YouTube.com

Trim

Matthew Flinders was leader of the first expeditions to circumnavigate the continent of Australia. Trim was his beloved cat who accompanied him along the entire south coast and up round to Sydney. As a kitten, he fell overboard, but managed to return to safety by swimming to a guideline rope and clamber back onto the ship. This made Trim an immediate favorite and token mascot to help ensure their own resilience on their journey.

Luna from ‘Sailor Moon’

With the stylized appearance of the Manga series Sailor Moon, the character of Luna might come across as purple rather than black. However, we can assure you she is intended to be a black cat and her presence in the anime series is one which is beloved by fans. This is one famous black cat in culture which is not seem as ominous or foreshadowing bad luck. Instead she advises the characters in the story and is noted for her wisdom and perception.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - Luna from ‘Sailor Moon’
Image: The Online Anime Store

Pluto from ‘The Black Cat’

Edgar Allen Poe is well-known for his macabre tales of human wretchedness. This might lead us to believe any story of a black cat will contain a portrayal of an insidious or demonic feline. However, this story has one famous black cat which turns this concept on its head. Pluto, the titular black cat, is abused by his master and it is the latter who is the real cruel and sinister one. We won't give you any spoilers, but the black cat in this story is a mirror to humanity's more depraved tendencies, not the cause of them.

Homer the Blind Wonder Cat

Gwen Cooper, Homer's human guardian, did not think she needed another cat in her life. But Homer found his way into her life and left an indelible mark. He was born without eyes and had been abandoned by his previous owners. The inspirational story of Homer is detailed in a book Cooper published as Homer's Odyssey which became a New York Times bestseller. The story of Homer and Gwen's life together encompasses 9/11 and even results in Homer saving Gwen's life. You'll have to buy the book to find out more, but it's sure that this blind black cat deserves his fame.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - Homer the Blind Wonder Cat
Image: Paws for Reflection

Salem Saberhagen

This famous black cat come from the phenomenon of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, appearing originally as an orange cat in the comic book series. However, the wider world is perhaps more aware of him from the live action TV series which aired in the late 90s/early 2000s. While he is known as a famous black cat, like some others on this list, a feline is only one of his states of being. Originally a human, Salem had been condemned to live as a black cat for 100 years without the ability to perform magic. While this sounds like a terrible thing to happen, it is mainly played for laughs in the TV series.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - Salem Saberhagen
Image: YouTube

India

Although sometimes known as Willie, India was the official cat of President George W. Bush and his family. While the press tended to give more of their attention to the Bush's Scottish Terrier dogs, India was very beloved by the family. She was an all black American Shorthair and had lots of personality. She was also well-lived as she died at the ripe old age of 18 in 2009.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - India
Image: Business Insider India

Gladstone

Another famous black cat with close political ties is Gladstone. This cat is a mouser and has resided in the HM Treasury of the United Kingdom since 2016. Chief Mouser is an official position which had previously been held in 10 Downing Street, where the incumbent Prime Minister lives, and the Foreign Office. Gladstone is the first Chief Mouser to reside in the exchequer. Since the buildings are so old, the cats often prove useful in controlling mouse populations.

Gladstone has his own Instagram account and has thousands of followers to boot. Although he maintains and official position, it is fair to say this black cat plays more of a mascot role and has even been used in public relations for the treasury office, something which might seem a little inappropriate to some.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - Gladstone
Image: medium.com

Mr. Mistoffelees

Mr. Mistoffelees is a black cat who originally appeared in T.S. Eliot's famous book about cats Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. In the book of whimsical poems, Mr. Mistoffelees is good at sleight-of-hand magic, but is not seen as a malevolent force. This book of poems was the source material for the hit West End and Broadway musical Cats, where Mr. Mistoffelees appears.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - Mr. Mistoffelees

Blackie the millionaire cat

Perhaps the famous black cat on our list with the least inventive name, Blackie was a cat who was bequeathed $12.5 million dollars in an inheritance when his very wealthy owner died. Said owner was a British antique dealer called Ben Rea who had a falling out with his family and refused to give them anything in his will. The result was Rea leaving his fortune to his cat which was to be distributed to animal charities and ensure the continued good living of the cat.

Hodge

Another famous black cat who found their fame by being the pet of an even more famous person, Hodge belonged to legendary English writer Samuel Johnson. Known simply as Dr. Johnson, the writer was immortalized in biography written for him by James Bowell. Hodge is known mainly for how much he was loved by the man. Johnson would purchase oysters for his cat and spoke very highly of him. Hodge has since been immortalized in his own bronze statue, currently located in London outside his master's old house.

15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture - Hodge

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15 Famous Black Cats in History and Culture
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