My son and I love to explore the origins and different aspects of our culture’s traditions. That’s how, on the weekend before Halloween, we got to the House of Black Cat Magic in an attempt to learn more about the Celtic pagan celebration of Samhain, marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker months.
The Celts believed the veil between the living and the dead was thin on this day, allowing the spirits of the deceased to connect with the living. Samhain is the origin of Halloween, and, not surprisingly, it also has a lot in common with the Mexican Day of the Dead tradition, a fascinating celebration that my son and I have studied and experienced first-hand while traveling.
The House of Black Cat Magic opened in the summer of 2023, and it’s interesting all year round. Still, it’s an extra bewitching place to visit during Samhain, adding to the many fun events and activities to celebrate Halloween in Asheville.
It’s a magic supplies shop, a black cat lounge, and hosts many magical events. It’s also one of the few cat lounges where kids younger than 10 can benefit from panther therapy. The best part? All of the cats and kittens are available for adoption!
House of Black Cat Magic is “where magic truly saves lives.” It works in partnership with Binx‘s Home for Black Cats, a local nonprofit foster-based cat rescue whose mission is “spreading the magic of black cats and fostering a community that loves and protects them.”
What do black cats evoke in you? Bad luck? Magic destined to create damaging outcomes? I grew up in the ‘80s in Argentina, where I was instructed to walk 13 steps backward if I crossed paths with a black cat “to break the spell.”
Although I soon realized some of the Argentinean superstitions are nonsense or entirely aimed at giving comfort (like the one that claims that stepping on poop brings good luck…), there are superstitions around black cats’ psychic attacks in many cultures.
As a matter of fact, black cats are the most euthanized animals in US shelters. This is why they need extra support to find forever homes, and organizations like Blinx are vital (as is your support!).
The truth is, black cats are, like every cat, beautiful creatures and loving companions, and “bad luck” is a euphemism to talk about things that we think we can’t or don’t want to explain but that probably have an explanation.
What can you do at the House of Black Cat Magic? You can shop, visit the cat lounge, or participate in an event. The store is fascinating. It’s a great place to buy gifts for the magic practitioner in your life. It has candles, incense, herbs, sage smudges, books, decks of cards, ritual tools, and many cat-related souvenirs.
The cat lounge offers panther therapy for a fee. Reservations are not required but are encouraged during the weekends or in larger groups (the max is 10 people). Check their website to find out the days and times they are open.
We loved the space, the laid-back vibe (West Asheville is like that, isn’t it?), and hanging out with the happy cats. Karen made a big impression – she’s a total boss! My cat-adoring son (although we can’t adopt one now) had a blast playing with Andy, and I loved hanging out with 8-year-old Aurora, an old, wise sorcerer like me.
We loved how friendly the staff was. Zion took the time to enter the lounge with us and tell us facts and stories about each kitty. Their love and admiration for these creatures was so palpable!
Like the other cat lounges in town, children older than 10 are welcome with a parent (one adult for every two kids), and teens 14 and up don’t need adult supervision. But what makes this cat lounge unique is that younger kids are also welcome.
There are special “kiddy hours” on their schedule, and they even host story times in the lounge and a Kiddie Cat Etiquette class. Please read the cat lounge rules before you go, but rest assured that these people want everyone to enjoy the panthers’ love!
This is a cat lounge, not a cat cafe, so no drinks are offered, but you can bring your own. Also, if you belong to a cat-loving tribe, after-hours BYOB parties are available for an additional cost.
Although the cats are available for adoption, they don’t do same-day adoptions, and the cat lounge staff doesn’t handle the applications. Prospective adopters must get pre-approved by the rescue partner Binx’s Home for Black Cats by filling out an application online. Here, you’ll be able to learn more about adopting a black kitty.
Besides shopping at the store, visiting the cat lounge, or adopting, you can also support Binx’s Home for Black Cats by donating, volunteering, and buying cool merchandise. They offer much-needed low-cost community male cat neuters.
We went to the House of Black Cat Magic on a Sunday when the Magical Markets usually occur. I had a very on-point tarot reading before we left, and we got a pair of cute cat earrings for my daughter, who couldn’t come. These gatherings feature about a dozen local makers, artists, readers, fundraising raffles, and yummy local food.
Their calendar is full of events! The first Halloween/Samhain celebration was a big success. It had fun activities for the entire family, including a trick-or-treat trail, a bonfire, kids and adults costume contest, tarot readers, vendors, local fall beverages, and a Samhain ritual honoring the cats that have passed. Make sure to follow them on Instagram or check their calendar to get updates.
The location couldn’t be better. It’s on the legendary Haywood Road in West Asheville, one of the best streets in town, with excellent restaurants, cafes, and shops that are Asheville’s landmarks. So, plan extra time to walk around, have brunch at Sunny Point, dinner at The Walk, ice cream at The Hop, or go to the Retrocade.
The House of Black Cat Magic is a couple of things in one place, and they are both awesome. But it feels like so much more than that – my son said it felt like we had visited a home.
It might be because it’s in an impossibly lovely turquoise house with a yard and picnic tables inviting folks to sit down and connect, the friendly staff, or the fact that there is always something going on there.
It feels more like the home of the neighborhood’s good witch guarded by mysterious cats, where something magical is always brewing in the cauldron, and folks go for advice and comfort.
Wait… perhaps it is.
House of Black Cat Magic: 841 Haywood Road, Asheville.
Have you been to House of Black Cat Magic in Asheville? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!
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