In photographs, our Basement Cat looks solid black. However, close inspection reveals a dusting of a couple dozen white hairs on his lower belly, seven more on his chest, and one white whisker, making him a sort of vestigial tuxedo cat.

What’s more, in the right light you can see that rather than being solidly black, he has faint black-on-black stripes. I’m wondering if, when he is old, he will fade into a tabby, just as a beloved-and-departed tabby faded with age into a gray cat (stripes faintly visible if you knew where to look).

He’s trouble enough for three, that’s for sure. Getting better . . . but every time I say that, Sir John says, “He’s not good yet.”

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