I have always rescued black cats. Soli is just the latest. I volunteered at LA SPCA so have first hand experience with people who fear them. Arrgh!!
Charlie finally rose above the kitty toys. It took a while though.
As for your slow awareness... this is something I have dealt with here. The obvious is muddled. Or invisible. Then suddenly reality is in my face.
I use non toys for my cats..no plastic, ever. Rather they choose their toys. A small gangly stuffed monkey that was Dd's., balls made from yarn. Kitty was my last kitten rescue. She is still small for being 5.
Henry is short for Henrietta, btw. 8-) like Pat is for Patricia, etc. Lolol. From experience of kindergarten two Pat's in class 1 girl, 1 boy. Plus I was named for my dads dead brother.
Amazing how animals just are suddenly yours!.
Love All Life, Thank You For Posting! :)