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“One cat just leads to another.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
What’s the deal with cats and their writers?
Cats and their humans.
Cats and anyone they can boss around.
Anyone who’s ever had a feline companion knows what’s up—our cats are the puppetmasters and we, the humans, are simply the puppets.
Cats pull our strings.
We fetch their organic wet food (the pricey stuff) when they say fetch.
They wake us at 4 am, tapping on our closed eyelids (claws retracted, thank goodness), asking us to serve them breakfast—to serve them, always, and we do.
We fashion a toy mouse (when their favorite cloth mouse goes missing) from a piece of paper we’re currently taking notes on for a story, and forget said story—sacrificing all for cat.
The faux paper mouse (with its scribbled story notes, with its writer’s sacrifice) scuttles across the floor and is swatted by cat’s claws, crinkling just like cat likes it, and finds its way underneath a piece of heavy mahogany furniture, and is lost to the dark corners of immovable antiques.
When I went to graduate school for creative writing I had zero cats. I awoke with no mysterious cat scratches (sometimes even on my face now) from where a cat jumped over me in the night, or merely sparred with the other cat too close to my slumber. (Yes, this happens. Yes, I’m amazed I have not lost an eye yet.)
Yet, when I left graduate school for creative writing, I had three cats. Three cats whose presence made themselves known in my life much like the height that creeps up upon a child.
“Oh my, how did I grow so much in the past year?”
“Oh my, how did I acquire three cats in the past two years?”
It just happens, naturally.
So in ode to cats and their writers, I’ve compiled a list of writers musings on these fuzzy, little cat-astrophes:
1. “I said something which gave you to think I hated cats. But gad, sir, I am one of the most fanatical cat lovers in the business. If you hate them, I may learn to hate you. If your allergies hate them, I will tolerate the situation to the best of my ability.” ~ Raymond Chandler (in a letter to a friend)
2. “If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” ~ Mark Twain
3. “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
4. “Anyone who believes what a cat tells him deserves all he gets.” ~ Neil Gaiman, Stardust
5. “Time spent with a cat is never wasted.” ~ Colette
6. “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” ~ Jean Cocteau
7. “Cats will amusingly tolerate humans only until someone comes up with a tin opener that can be operated with a paw.” ~ Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms
8. “I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.” ~ Jules Verne
9. “One reason that cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers.” ~ Gwendolyn Brooks, In the Mecca
10. “when I am feeling
all i have to do is
watch my cats
~ Charles Bukowski
11. “If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work … the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp … The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding.” ~ Muriel Spark, A Far Cry from Kensington
12. “Books, Cats, Life is Good.” ~ Edward Gorey
13. “I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get up. She’s so much more calming than my husband.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates
14. “Of all our sunny world
I wish only for a garden sofa
where a cat is sunning itself.
There I should sit
with a letter at my breast,
a single small letter.
That is what my dream looks like.”
~ Edith Södergran, A Wish
15. “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe