Authors like cats because they are such quiet, loveable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. – Robertson Davies
Writers seem to have a penchant for cats. Hemingway’s six toed cats are still a tourist attraction in Key West, Florida, and are protected by the terms of his will. Snowball, the first of these cats, he received as a gift from a sea captain.
The story is that Edward Lear was so devoted to his tabby cat, Foss, he had his architect build a replica of his old home in England so the cat wouldn’t be distressed by his move to Italy.
Sir Walter Scott’s tabby, Hinx, was included in a portrait that shows the author at work and the cat lying nearby. Scott once said, “Cats are a mysterious kind of folk. There is more passing in their minds than we are aware of.”
I’ve read that Edgar Allen Poe took his cat, Catarina, with him everywhere he went and she often sat on his shoulder as he wrote. The Master’s Cat (yes that was his name) would put out the reading candle belonging to Charles Dickens in order to get his attention. Supposedly Lord Byron travelled with his five cats. Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain and F. Scott Fitzgerald are also said to be lovers of cats, just to name a few more rather well-known authors.
Many popular pieces written by these illustrious writers were about cats such as Poe’s The Black Cat or Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat.
Were these pets their masters’ muses? Or do cats give off inspirational vibes?
Through the years, I’ve owned (or should I say, I’ve been owned by cats). At this stage of my life, however, I subscribe to the philosophy that if it needs dusting, feeding or watering, I don’t want it in my house. But if a cat is the secret to success as a writer, I may have to reconsider my stance and replace my imaginary fairy type creature of a muse (who seems to be off duty more than she’s on) with a cat.
While authors have their favorite cats, it seems that cats also have their favorite authors according to the article “Library Cats and Their Favorite Books.”
For instance, Judge Kitty from the Fairplay, Colorado library prefers Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Patrick, known as Paddy from Pacelli High School Library, Stevens Point, Wisconsin likes Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, and T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and the mysteries penned by Elizabeth Peters. It seems “he simply can’t get enough of the Egyptian cats who pop up in all of her stories.” Hannah from the William A. Clark Memorial Library, UCLA, Los Angeles, California, enjoys Bird songs = Aves ambrosiana: A Poetical Ornithology, by Miller Hageman, circa 1905.
You can read the entire article here to find out the reason behind the selections, although I think Paddy’s and Hannah’s choices are fairly obvious. Of course, there are also cute photos of each cat.
Do you write with a cat or another pet by your side? If so, do you feel they act as your muse?
If you have the opportunity, I hope you’ll visit on Thursday when Katie Hines, author of The Guardian, will be my guest.
Thanks for stopping by today.
Tags: Robertson Davies, cats, authors and cats, library cats, muse, Tags: Hemingway, Edward Lear, Sir Walter Scott, Edgar Allen Poe,