The narrator tells his story as a condemned man. He was a peculiar boy, and fond of animals. He married young and his wife made sure they had many animals, especially one large black cat named Pluto. The narrator confesses that he is an alcoholic, and this made him violent towards everyone. but he was able to keep himself from abusing Pluto.
One night, in a drunken stupor, the narrator thinks Pluto is avoiding him, so he seizes him and cuts out one of his eyes. He is ashamed in the present of his deed, but back then, his shame only lasted a short while. Pluto, of course, avoided the narrator and the narrator began to be irritated by this.
The narrator becomes so angry at Pluto’s avoidance that he decides to hang him from a tree. That night, the narrator’s house burns down. He visits the ruins and finds an image of a cat with a rope around its neck on the one standing wall. The narrator is shaken. He searches for a new cat, and finds a large black one with a white splotch on its chest.
The cat follows the narrator home. The cat loves the narrator, and because of his guilt from past deeds, the narrator begins to loathe the cat. The cat is also missing an eye, like Pluto. The spot on his chest begins to resemble a gallows. One day, the cat trips the narrator on the stairs and he raises an axe to kill him; he is stopped by his wife, and in a rage, he kills her.
The narrator walls his wife up within the the cellar. The cat seems to have fled, and the narrator sleeps peacefully for the first time in a long time. Three or four days pass, and the police finally come to search the premises. The narrator, however, is unbothered because he knows they’ll never find his wife.
As the police are about to leave the premises for good, the narrator takes his cane and raps on the cellar wall to boast about the construction of the house. At that moment, a wailing and screaming comes from behind the plaster. The police open the wall and find the narrator’s wife, along with the black and white cat, whom the narrator had accidentally walled up as well.