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

Where Cats Hide

It’s time for another edition of “Where Cats Hide.”  You’ve probably heard the expression, “Curiosity killed the cat.”  Well, it is true that cats are definitely a curious breed.  The funny thing about cats is, once one has discovered a special place such as a box, every cat has to inspect it to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

Not long ago, I received a package in the mail that arrived in a huge box.  First Dakota a/k/a/ Stewie had to inspect the inside…

Then his best friend and sister, Snow, had to check it out…

And sweet little Zsa Zsa is never one to be left out, despite her small stature.  She followed up the rear to make sure she wasn’t missing something good…

(Unfortunately, by the time Cleo got in the box, I realized that I’d left my camera in a different room, and by the time I returned, she’d jumped out.)

Time to talk:  What was inside the biggest box you ever received in the mail?  What was inside the largest box you ever mailed to someone else?  FedEx, UPS, or the Post Office?

Where Cats Hide

Have you ever seen the pet food commercial where the big dogs all think they are small dogs?

My daughter actually has a tiny dog that she carries around in a purse.  Her dog, Snowflake, is a cutie-patootie and is super smart as well.

However, that commercial reminds me of my cat, Dakota a/k/a Stewie.  Though Stewie is the youngest of my brood, he is far from being the smallest.  In fact, he weighs more than all but one of my five cat-kiddos.

Even so, Stewie considers himself to be a petite man, and he likes to think he can hide anywhere.  One of his favorite places to hide is in grocery bags.

Or if we have visitors who carry large handbags, he will sneak into them as well.

He doesn’t care that the bags don’t belong to his people.  He makes himself right at home.

Let’s talk:  Do you prefer a large purse or a small handbag?  Have you ever lost your pet in another person’s belongings?  What would you do if you found someone else’s pet in your purse after you left their house?

Remember when I wasn’t Martha Stewart?

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I’ll be giving you a follow-up to my post last year when I told you how I was no Martha Stewart and I shared some photos with you of previous years’ Thanksgiving name cards that I made for my guests.  I couldn’t share the ones I made in 2014 because my guests hadn’t seen them yet.

I was actually just going through my point and shoot camera the other day, and realized I still had the photos on there to show you later.  (Being as I typically use my studio camera, I tend to forget that I even have a point and shoot sometimes.)

Anyway, this is the little turkey that saved my seat at Thanksgiving.  This was the first time I ever used a pre-fab kit to make the place cards rather than making them from scratch, but I found myself running out of time as the big day approached.

Immediately following Thanksgiving dinner, Jeremy’s turkey fell to the ground, and our cat Dakota got hold of it.  By the time we rescued it, it looked almost as bad as a real Thanksgiving turkey after it had already been carved and picked down to the bones!

Let’s chat:  How early do you start planning for your holiday meals and guests?  Other than Thanksgiving and Christmas, what other large meals do you plan in advance?  Do you photograph funny things that your pets do to things around your house?  (That last question applies to everyone except my good buddy Mark Bialczak… I already know that he makes a very cool photographic anthology of his sweet dog Ellie B’s collections of things she shouldn’t have.)

Where Cats Hide

This is Dakota.  You’ve heard me tell how we rescued him back when I shared stories in my eerie predictions month.  Even though he is officially Dakota, he acts more like a “Stewie,” so we call him Stewie more often than not.

Stewie’s favorite game is hide and seek.  This time when we couldn’t find him, he was hiding in a case of water bottles.  Oh, Stewie!

Let’s talk:  What is your pet’s favorite hiding spot?  Do you drink bottled, filtered, or tap water?  If you drink bottled, what is your favorite brand and why?

Where Cats Hide

Meet Cleo.  Cleo is half-sphynx, meaning one of her parents was a full-blooded hairless cat.  As you can see here, Cleo has no whiskers, no eyebrows, and no ear hair.  She also has no hair on her face or tail.  The “hair” that’s on her body isn’t actually fur at all, but technically it’s undercoat.  Unlike fur, it’s wavy, especially when she bathes, and it is softer than velvet.  Additionally, she has webbed toes.

We adopted Cleo from the SPCA in 2012, when she was three years old.  Unlike my other cats, she’s not particularly social with other animals, and she’s adopted me as her only person.  She doesn’t allow my son or my sister to pick her up, and she doesn’t wander far from my side, day or night.  Unlike my other cats, she doesn’t look for cubbies or cramped areas to sneak into and hide.

Her favorite sleeping position is covering her eyes with one or both paws so she can hide from people and pets, as well as from light.  So where does she hide?  Behind her paws!  Instead of hiding from everyone else, she prefers to hide everyone else from her!

Time to talk:  How many pets have you owned in your lifetime?  Do you have a favorite sleeping position, or can you sleep anywhere?  Would you ever consider owning a hairless cat?