In Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Black Cat," the narrator describes how he has always loved animals and how he was particularly fond of his large black cat, which he called Pluto. Even when he became a drunkard and was cruel to his other animals, he generally spared Pluto from the effects of his wrath. One night, however, the narrator came home in a state of extreme intoxication and seized Pluto roughly. Pluto bit him on the hand, inflicting a slight wound, and in his fury, the narrator grabbed the cat by the throat and used his pocketknife to cut one of its eyes out of the socket.
The narrator was sorry for his action and knew that he had done a vicious thing, but he was not sorry enough to change his ways, and he continued on his downward spiral. The cat understandably avoided him as much as possible, and the narrator soon became irritated by this, however justified he must admit it to have been. Eventually, he captured the cat again when drunk and hanged it by the neck from a tree until it was dead. The narrator's mistreatment of the cat foreshadows his violence towards his wife and shows the deterioration of his character under the influence of alcohol.