Writers and Cats (Revised) – A Post Repeated

Hello, friends.  As we prepare for the holiday tomorrow, life in my neck of the woods is getting rather busy.  As such, I’m reposting something I wrote last year with a few minor revisions.  Have a great long weekend!A Six-Toed Hemingway Cat

Have you ever noticed that writers frequently have cats?  I have an opinion (or maybe just an observation) that I’d like to share on the subject:

Of course there are the obvious perks:  Cats don’t require us to stop what we’re doing to care for them.  When we’re lucky, they might decide to curl up on our lap or our desk, and they may make their presence known once in a while by walking across the keyboard aaas weeee tyyyypppe.  But they eventually fall asleep and let us become absorbed into our “other life” which we are writing about.

When we proofread, sometimes we like to hear out loud how the words flow.  If we tell people we’re talking to our cat, we don’t sound as crazy as we do if we’re observed sitting home alone, reading out loud to no one in particular.

Cats are good critics.  If we read to our cat and the dialog flows well, they may just stick around if we’re lucky.  (If you read to a dog, they tend to take that as a sign that you want to play, and they proceed in attempting to convince you to get out of your chair and follow them.)

Stephen King and his catWhile dogs are nice, they require a great deal more attention and upkeep than a cat. They are carefree and laid back.  Dogs are like, “Hey!  It’s me!  Look at me!  Touch me!  I’m over here!  Love me!  Hey, let’s throw the ball!  Do ya wanna go outside?  Do ya? Do ya?  Huh?”

Edgar Allan Poe and his catCats are more reserved. They’re formal and high-brow. They’re more like, “Hello, peasant.  I thought I might grace you with my presence for a few minutes.  Won’t that be a treat for you?  If you’re lucky, I’ll allow you to give me a good chin scratch.  Just don’t touch my belly.  Otherwise, I might have to scratch the shit out of you.”

As such, dogs tend to interrupt the creative flow when they need to go out or just want some love.  But cats are self-sufficient.  They hide out until they’re ready to acknowledge us, then they give us a few minutes of their time before they curl up and fall back asleep.  We adopt dogs; cats adopt us.

Ernest Hemingway and one of his cats

Many well-known authors throughout history have had an affection for cats.  I think the most notable is Ernest Hemingway and his famous multi-toed cats.  If you ever get a chance to go to Key West, you must stop by the Hemingway house and take the tour.  Not only is it quite interesting to walk through and see things like his original typewriter and desk, but you’ll also see dozens of offspring of his original cats.

Other famed authors that were (or are) known for keeping company with felines include Stephen King, Truman Capote, Charles Dickens, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, and T.S. Eliot, to name but a few.  Also, let’s not forget that Dr. Seuss loved cats so much that he wrote about one who went on to be famous in The Cat in the Hat.  (I made that part up about Dr. Seuss.  I have no idea if that’s really true or not.)

I personally have four indoor cats who help me write (as well as an outdoor feral cat who adopted me).  So on my desk, next to my computer, I always have a bottle of water and a bag of sunflower seeds for me, and I keep a jar of cat treats for my friends.  At any given point during my time writing, when things get too intense, I can count on Zsa Zsa, Cleo, Snow, or Dakota stopping by for a little visit to break up my monotony.  And when my rabbit, Sir Wiggly Higgins, is out of his cage, he plays with his cat sisters and brother and thinks he is one of them as well.  {My bunny died since this original post.} (These are my cats and bunny below… I apologize that Cleo couldn’t be bothered to get in the picture with everyone else.  As you can see, she was busy napping.)

Sir Wiggly Higgins, Snow, Dakota & Zsa-zsa

Cleo

While dogs have a low threshold of what it takes for them to attach themselves to someone, cats tend to set the bar high.  Cats, like writers, are wise, sensitive creatures who need to be understood to be fully appreciated.

Mark Twain and his catIf you write and you have a cat, good for you!  If you are an author and you don’t yet have a cat, please go find one today.  If it adopts you, consider yourself blessed.

Charles Dickens

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15 thoughts on “Writers and Cats (Revised) – A Post Repeated

  1. So true! Except that my George Bailey loves me to give him belly rubs. There is no place on that boy’s body that George does not like to be touched. At least where I am concerned. But then, he stalked me everywhere I went outside until I gave up and let him move in.

  2. I love my two cats. They actually do require a lot of maintenance though–except the going outside part. They are strictly indoor cats. One cat is “my” cat, and the other is my husband’s, although he likes me, too. After all, I’m the one who feeds him and gives him lots of attention during the day. 🙂 My cat follows me around all over the house. When he wakes up from a nap, he goes and looks for me.

    Love the photos! Have a great weekend, Rachel!

  3. I have four indoor cats and one outside feral cat, too. We did have five indoor cats, but we sent one of them to my son. She was being picked on by one of the other cats, and she is doing much better at my son’s house with his two cats. Now he has three black cats.

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