Yes, you read that right; I have a cat named Owl. I receive all sorts of perplexed expressions and responses when I tell people my black cat’s name is Owl. “Owl?” they repeat. “As in O-W-L?” Yes indeed! The story behind her name goes like this…
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted a solid black cat. I’ve had black and white cats but never an all-black cat. I see black cats as a sign of good luck and I believe they possess positive mysticism. One winter morning in January six years ago, I went into the barn of the house I lived in with my then husband. I don’t remember why I went in there but I do remember what I found. There was a small, orange, tiger-striped kitten scampering across the floor of the barn. Two stray kittens had shown up in our barn the previous spring so I wasn’t entirely surprised by this new visitor. Those two kittens had found a lovely home so I’m sure I could find this orange one a home too.
The orange kitten was somewhat friendly but uncertain so I went back inside the house to make him a bowl of warm milk. The two cats I owned at the time, Avi and Zoey, knew the sound of milk being poured and were not impressed when I took it outside the house. Once back in the barn, I put the milk down and the orange kitten began eagerly drinking it. As he lapped up the milk, I noticed movement from the far side of the barn. There wasn’t much light in the barn and it was very dark over there, so all I saw when I looked were two big glowing eyes. That steady gaze reminded me of the intent eyes of an owl. I could then make out the shape of an even smaller, all black kitten huddled among motorcycles and wheelbarrows. When I tried to get close to her, she hissed at me and backed away.
I went back in the house and fetched another bowl of warm milk much to my cats’ annoyance. Back in the barn, I set the second bowl of steaming milk down on the floor between the orange kitten and the hiding black kitten. The black kitten wouldn’t come any closer but I hoped she’d come drink before the rounder, orange kitten drank all the milk.
The next day I went out and bought some kitten chow for my new guests and again the orange kitten was friendlier and came to eat. It took a while but eventually the little black kitten would come over to drink the milk and eat the food. She seemed to be warming to me. The funny thing was she didn’t seem to know or remember how to meow. She’d obviously been chased away a lot so when she came over to eat and drink, she’d hiss at me instead of meowing. I could hear her purring loudly so I knew she meant to be friendly but she’d forgotten how to meow.
I named that black kitten Owl because those big, glowing eyes were the very first part of her I saw. The name suited her somehow. I named the round orange kitten Pumpkin, though he’d come to any name if there was food involved. I was so happy that an all-black cat had found its way to me! I bought them a cage so they could live inside the bathroom of the warm house. I would have been happy to let them roam free in the house but my then husband wasn’t a big animal lover. He also told me I wasn’t “allowed” to have more than two cats so I put an ad in the paper offering the kittens for free. I was not happy to have to give the little black kitten away.
When my then husband was at work, I’d let the kittens out of the cage so they could play in the house and they were so much fun to watch! I knew I was going to miss them both immensely but I hoped they’d have a loving home. Eventually a young woman called interested in the kittens and we scheduled a time for her to come over and pick them up. I put both kittens in the bathroom, but not in the cage, and closed the door. The woman arrived and I took her into the bathroom. The moment I opened the door, Owl ran back behind the dryer and hid. Coax and call as I might, Owl wouldn’t come out. The young woman was content with just Pumpkin so I let her take him alone.
I wasn’t about to give Owl away all by herself because she’d bonded with Pumpkin and was skittish to begin with. Despite much grumbling on my then husband’s part, I got to keep Owl and I finally owned my beloved all black cat! By then she had remembered how to meow and she’s so “talkative” now that my nickname for her is “Owl the Mouth.”
She and my youngest daughter Jaycie practically grew up together and Owl adores Jaycie to this day. These days when Owl starts loving up Jaycie she says “Owl’s bugging me” but every now and then Owl gets a pet or two.
Named after a bird or not, Owl is one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever owned and she even taught Jazzmin to like cats! Though that’s a story for another day…