Nothing is more natural than Edgar Allan Poe and black cats going together just like peanut butter and jelly. After all, he wrote an entire short story about black cats! So when the Poe Museum gardener found two black cats in the Richmond, Virginia garden, it just seemed like fate.
Edgar and Pluto the Poe Cats
The two cats named Edgar and Pluto are pretty famous around the Richmond museum. One story claims the siblings and their sister Catterina were born behind the bust of Poe located in the shrine.
According to the museum’s website:
“In November 2012, the museum’s gardener found the tiny kittens in the Enchanted Garden, and the museum staff volunteered to care for them, seeing that they receive regular veterinary care, healthy food, and a warm room to call home.”
Catterina’s named comes from a cat once cared for by the famous author. Edgar’s name is a tribute to the author and Pluto’s name is from Poe’s short story, The Black Cat. After getting some checkups at the vet and getting a clean bill of health, the trio was ready to head to their permanent homes. As it turned out, Edgar and Pluto decided to stay at the museum as Poe’s floofy helpers. Catterina, however, went to live with one of the museum’s tour guides.
The museum’s resident black cats roam the Enchanted Garden and help visitors on tours, greet people, and try and sneak some food from patrons and staff members.
Between the two cats, Pluto loves attention, but Edgar prefers to stay on the sidelines and let people come to him according to the museum’s curator Chris Semtner.
“You’ve never seen cats like this,” Semtner said. “When we have a group of 50 seventh-graders full of energy, a normal cat will have the sense to get as far away as possible. But Pluto will see them and come running.”
Special Tour Guides and Managers of the Enchanted Garden
On the tours, the pair make the best tour guides. After living at the museum since they were born in 2021, they’ve come to learn the route people walk through the buildings. If a person or group seems a little lost, or even just because they want to help, Pluto and Edgar will lead visitors to the next building (if they like you).
For their helpful services, the black cats like to be paid in treats. But, due to their strict diet, only the museum staff are allowed to “pay” the two adorable workers.
Along with helping visitors, Edgar and Pluto keep away birds and critters that don’t belong in the garden. So, the cats seem to take their job very seriously, as they are often found in the garden when they are not roaming the gift shop.
Visitors to the museum love seeing real black cats just like the stories.
“When I heard they had cats, it just made the museum that much cooler, I think; to have ‘The Black Cat,’ you know?” Michaela Starkey, a visitor from Arizona said.
The pair have also become Instagram famous with thousands of followers.
If you ever get to take a trip to the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, be sure to say hello to Edgar and Pluto. Maybe they’ll even lead you to find Poe himself?
“Once Edgar and Pluto learn how to open doors, they will be unstoppable!”