When I go to the movies, I like to sit to the right — not necessarily on the right side of the theater, just to the right of whomever I went with. My right eyeball has a slutty tear duct; it'll get wet for almost anything. So strategic seating is my ploy to hide the fact that I am as soft as a sponge cake.

Parent and child reunited? Time to start blinking. Puppy gets hurt? The right side of my face gains a rivulet. Sentient robot sacrifices itself to save humanity? There go BOTH my eyes streaming. Even a mediocre movie can pull a few tears out of me, but the good ones crank my waterworks to 11.

I went alone to see "Black Panther" and therefore had no friends to embarrass with my blubbering. I cried for the hero and the villain, for pain and joy. Hopefully my nose blowing and growing puddles didn't drive away the folks on either side of me, because they missed both of the after-credits scenes, and I don't want to shoulder that responsibility.

The crying continued when I got home that night, not just because the move was that good (it was) but because I recently lost my own little black panther. His name was Dante. He lived a long and happy 18 years, and he had a good death. But it is never easy to say goodbye forever, and everything reminds me of him and the lack of him.


The story of technologically advanced Wakanda and the hidden nation's relationship with its disenfranchised brothers and sisters around the world has nothing to do with elderly, pampered pets. But I am apparently not the only one who made that connection anyway. According to Tumblr user Gallusrostromegalus, shelters in Durango are seeing an increase of black cat adoptions in the wake of the blockbuster's opening.

There's anecdotal evidence to suggest that a lot of people avoid black cats and dogs and other animals when they choose a pet. Apparently, these folks think they're avoiding bringing bad luck into their homes. But I could argue the opposite. Among their many virtues, black cats pair well with any style of home d├ęcor and make for hyper-realistic Halloween decorations. Plus, their fur blends innocuously into all your black clothing.

I hope all the people rushing to their local humane society to adopt a tiny T'Challa or Shuri this month are prepared for the vet bills and hairballs and litter boxes. Having an adorable feline in your life is great, but it isn't going to be all rainbows and catnip 24/7. And if you put in the love and commitment, eventually you have to pay the price of grief.

I feel very lucky to have had this black cat in my life.
I feel very lucky to have had this black cat in my life. (Deanna Hardies / Colorado Daily)

But it's a price worth paying. If you got swept up in the hype but decide after the fact that you don't have the heart-shaped herb to give a good home to that cat you adopted on a whim ... well, I'm in the market for a new black panther buddy.

Read more Hardies: coloradodaily.com/columnists. Stalk her: twitter.com/deannahardies