What Is It About Cats That Writers Love?

Cats and Writers

 

With the summer behind us, it’s time for pet lovers to start thinking about their fall/winter reading list! 

 

With more time to cuddle on the couch with your favourite furry friend, reading a book is a great way to unwind, especially on a chilly, rain-drenched day. 

 

One book we wanted to check out was Writers and Their Cats by Alison Nastasi. It’s a wonderful collection of more than 45 pictures and stories of famous writers and the cats they adored:

 

“Cats are clearly a writer's most logical and agreeable companion,” Gloria Steinem.

 

What is it about cats that writers love?

 

“If you want to write, keep cats.” — Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
 
 

Writers tend to spend a lot of time sitting in one spot, making them the perfect target for lounging cats. Felines love to spend time with their humans and writers love the companionship as writing can be a lonely occupation at times. 

 

From his or her vantage point, a writer’s cat will waste no time in taking up position in one of the warmest spots she or he knows of to curl up into a ball. It is also conveniently situated within easy reach of petting hands, an opportunity a writer’s cat will not fail to seize upon. In moments of affection and reflection, a writer will pause to pet their cat and hear the reassuring purr of their most ardent supporter. You can imagine the relationship and the conversations. Some of them may even have found their way onto the pages of these author’s most famous novels. 

 

Take Stephen King for instance, one of the authors featured in Writers and Their Cats. King’s love of cats is well known among his fans and the felines are no stranger to his fiction. Clovis (named after his own pet cat) is the hero of his book Sleepwalkers, and who can forget Pet Sematary and the poor fated cat, Church:

 

“Cats were the gangsters of the animal world, living outside the law and often dying there. There were a great many of them who never grew old by the fire.”

 

Mark Twain is another famous author who loved his cats. He owned many cats and gave them silly names like Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill and Sour Mash. Twain was often photographed with his lovely cats. He found their playful nature soothed his anxious personality and restless soul:

 

“I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course.” Mark Twain

 

Another famous writer, Charles Bukowski, known for his poetry, novels and short stories, loved his cats so much he penned them into verse in his poem:

 

My Cats

 

I know. I know.
they are limited, have different
needs and 
concerns.

but I watch and learn from them.
I like the little they know,
which is so
much.

they complain but never
worry,
they walk with a surprising dignity.
they sleep with a direct simplicity that
humans just can't
understand.

their eyes are more
beautiful than our eyes.
and they can sleep 20 hours
a day
without
hesitation or
remorse.

when I am feeling
low
all I have to do is
watch my cats
and my
courage
returns.

I study these
creatures.

they are my
teachers. 

 

Perhaps one of the most famous relationships between cats and writers is that of Ernest Hemingway. His first cat Snowball, a gift from a visiting captain of the high seas, was a six-toed cat that grew into several cats. Hemingway always said, “One cat leads to another,” and indeed this is true. There are close to 50 polydactyl cats roaming the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, every one of them as welcome as the other. 

 

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” — Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls)

 

These are just a few of the famous authors featured in Writers and Their Cats that you might just want to cuddle up with and your cat this fall/winter season. Check out Alison Nastasi’s other book, Artists and Their Cats, another wonderful collection of photographs of artists and their cats.

 

by Natalie Secretan

 
Photo by Daniel Tejedor MIMI MY CAT, MI GATA