The story’s narrator is an animal lover who, however he descends into alcoholism, begins mistreating his wife and his black cat Pluto. When Pluto attacks him in self-defense, he seizes the cat in a fury, cuts out one of its eyes, and hangs it. That night a fire destroys his house. He later adopts a one-eyed black cat that he finds, but after he nearly trips on the cat, he attempts to kill it too. When his wife intervenes, he kills her and calmly conceals her in a wall. In the end the black cat reveals the narrator’s crime to the police.