Monday, June 6, 2011

Cats and Writers

I've been thinking (how many blog posts have I begun with those very words?) about how many writers have cats for pets. Or, you could point out, how many cats have writers for pets. Of course, not all writers have cats; some have dogs, others have turtles or geckos or goldfish, and still others have no pets at all. But if there is in fact a particular affinity between story-tellers and feline pets, I wonder why that is.

The obvious is that cats are small animals, unlike horses, easily tucked into an apartment. Lots of writers live in cities, and cats fit well into urban environments. Cats are also pretty good at minding themselves; given a clean litter pan, a bowl of dry food and water, a couple of scratching posts cleverly designed to resemble furniture, they can be left alone for hours at a time.  They don't need to be taken for a walk twice a day, just when the words are starting to flow.They also sleep a lot. So, as demanding as they may be when they are awake (and bored), there are also long periods of time when they do not interrupt the creative process.

I suspect, however, that the real reason we writers who love cats, love cats, is that our cats are like our characters. They can be aloof and disdainful, but they come around when properly (and humbly) wooed. Both are susceptible to the most outrageous bribery. Both are of the fixed opinion that the world (or the story) exists solely for their own gratification.

Contrary opinions and collaborative opinions most welcome (say Cleopatra, Gayatri, and Shakir).


  1. And since the invention of the computer keyboard, cats have been known to take over quite a lot of the mundane filing chores of the modern writer simply by the laying on of paws or furry tummys.

  2. Some cats have been known to become mesmerized by screen savers; you know, the ones with little swimming fishes.

    Gayatri (white and brown-tabby, one-eyed) loves to watch me play piano, although typing on the keyboard just doesn't do it for her. My cousin's cat composed "For Four Paws" and won an award (with a little help from her husband, who was himself an award-winning composer and helped to transcribe the piece)!