Authors N Cats share a special bond.
Cats have served as muses for centuries inspiring many authors resulting in great works of literature.
- Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley was an English writer, best known for Brave New World. “If you want to be a psychological novelist and write about human beings, the best thing you can do is to keep a pair of cats.”
- Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas, French author of The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, owned three cats: Mysouff I, Mysouff II, and Le Docteur. Mysouff I knew exactly when Dumas would finish work and accompanied his master on walks to and from the office. Dumas said, “The cat, an aristocrat, merits our esteem, while the dog is only a scurvy type who got his position by low flatteries.”
- Alice Walker
Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, says: “My cat lived a very rough life before she arrived in my home. She has one tooth that’s broken and another that’s kind of long on the other side. She’s snaggletoothed. A stranger might look at her and say, ‘Oh, she has imperfect teeth.’ But I look at her and see the absolute perfection — the charming perfection — of her imperfection. It gives me so much information about the kind of life she has had, and the kind of soul she has probably fashioned.”
- Allen Ginsberg
Alan Ginsberg wrote about cats: “I learned a world from each one whom I loved.”
- Anatole France
Jocasta and The Famished Cat was the first work of fiction by Anatole France, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature. ‘Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.’
- Andre Norton
Andre Norton was an American writer of science fiction and fantasy, who also wrote works of historical fiction and contemporary fiction. She said: “Perhaps it is because cats do not live by human patterns, do not fit themselves into prescribed behavior, that they are so united to creative people.”
- Angela Carter
Cats featured prominently in Angela Carter’s magical realist, picaresque tales. Comic and Curious Cats and Sea-Cat and Dragon King, her two children’s books, feature feline protagonists. Carter shared her pencil and crayon drawings of cats with friends.
- Beverly Cleary
The Newbery Medal–winning children’s author, cat-loving Beverly Cleary owned several cats over the decades, including one who begged for attention while sitting on top of her typewriter keys. One of Cleary’s most beloved books is Socks about the misadventures of a tabby cat.
- Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire wrote that cats were “seraphic”, as subtle and harmonious as angels. He also once complained in a letter that it was impossible to live with his mistress, Jeanne, who drove away his cat and brought in dogs.
- Charles Bukowski
Charles Bukowski had a one-eared tomcat named Butch Van Gogh Artaud Bukowski. He said “Having a bunch of cats around is good. If you’re feeling bad, you just look at the cats, you’ll feel better, because they know that everything is, just as it is. There’s nothing to get excited about. They just know.”
- Charles Dickens
After Charles Dickens’ cat, Bob, died in 1862, he had Bob’s paw stuffed and attached to a letter opener, upon which, he had inscribed, “C.D. In Memory of Bob 1862.” He wrote: “What greater gift than the love of a cat?”
- Charles Dudley Warner
Calvin, a cat originally belonging to Harriet Beecher Stowe, went to live with Warner when Stowe moved. Warner became devoted to him.
- Chester Himes
Chester Himes, is considered the father of the black American crime novel. He loved his cats, especially his Siamese called Griot who was named after the magicians in the courts of West African kings.
- Christina Rossetti
According to Christina Rossetti’s biographer, her family visited France, and Rossetti’s favorite part of the vacation was not Notre Dame, not the Seine — but meeting a Persian cat in a hotel in Normandy.
- Cleveland Amory
Cleveland Amory is known for writing a series of popular books poking fun at the pretensions and customs of society, starting with The Proper Bostonians, he said: “As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows, cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind.”
Colette has been described as ‘the original Cat Woman’, and had a lifelong love affair with cats. As she said: “There are no ordinary cats.” The French novelist, most famous for her novel Gigi, said ‘My cat does not talk as respectfully to me as I do to her.’ One of her most beautiful quotes about cats is this: “I went to collect the few personal belongings which…I held to be invaluable: my cat, my resolve to travel, and my solitude.”
- Doris Lessing
Doris Lessing became fascinated by cats at a young age, when she came across the semi-feral felines on the African farm where she grew up. As an adult, she had many cats, notably the awkwardly majestic El Magnifico. “If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.”
- Dorothy L. Sayers
Doris L. Sayers, the English crime writer, poet, playwright, and essayist wrote poems for her cat Timothy. There is a statue of the writer her cat in Witham, Essex, where she lived for many years.
- Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was a cat lover and he and his wife, Virginia had a cat named Catterina. One of his scariest stories is The Black Cat. He said: “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
- Edith Södergran
Edith Södergran, the Finnish-Swedish poetess adored her cat, Tottie. “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.”
- Edward Gorey
Edward Gorey, known for his macabre, Gothic, illustrated books including The Gashlycrumb Tinies and The Doubtful Guest, as well as for illustrating for others’ books such as T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. ‘It would be wrong to say that cats weren’t his first love,’ said Ken Morton, Gorey’s cousin. ‘(Edward) said a few times that he liked cats more than people. He considered them his family. “Books. Cats. Life is good.”’
- Edward Lear
Edward Lear, consdidered the nonsense poet, illustrator and prose writer, immortalized his cat, Foss, in verse and in sketches.
- Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop wrote a lullaby for her American cat, Minnow, and wrote another poem about her Brazilian cat, Tobias, panicking during lightning storms.
- Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway’s first cat, Snowball, was six-toed, and the author’s former home in Key West houses dozens of Snowball’s descendants – about half of which are also six-toed. Some people even refer to polydactyl (six-toed) cats as ‘Hemingway cats’. He wrote: “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
- Frank O’Hara
Frank O’Hara was one of the most distinguished members of the New York School of poets. He wrote the poem ‘Cantanta‘ expressing his love for his cat, Boris.
- George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw loved his cat Pygmalion. Henry S. Salt said of George Bernard Shaw: “He was a great lover of cats; and when he came to see us never failed to ask after ‘Cosy’. Were there more kittens? Then he would add in a contemplative tone: ‘She is a cat of fearful passions.’ At his rooms in Fitzroy Square there used often to be a neighbouring cat, or a stray, in his company.”
- George Plimpton
George Plimpton was the co-founded the Paris Review. His favourite car was named Mr. Puss. George’s son Taylor recalled that ‘my father enjoyed nothing more than holding the beast high in the air and making strange, affectionate sounds in that distinguished voice.’
- George Sand
George Sand reportedly ate her breakfast from the same bowl as her cat Minou.
- Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, keeps a black cat as her feline familiar. She says: “I have been a big believer that black cats are the best: affectionate, laid-back, and sweet. Roy (her current black cat) has ‘helped’ me with my last two books and all my screenplays. He prefers to sit on the keyboard, so he can type things like GY*T^&$$^R^&h&&G!!! Now that I work on a tread desk he sits by me, watching. He’s a very sweet sentinel.”
- Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem, the internationally renowned journalist and author said that cats are “a writer’s most logical and agreeable companion.”
- Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe became a cat owner after a stray showed up on her doorstep. She called him Calvin after her husband, Calvin E. Stowe. When he wasn’t bossing around his caregivers, he loved to sit on HBS’s shoulders while she wrote.
- Haruki Murakami
Best-selling Japanese author Haruki Murkami’s love for cats is evident in his fiction. All his books contain cats as a precursor to a certain event none more so than in Kafka on the Shore. When a cat disappears something strange is likely to happen. “‘Hey, do you smell something Human?’ one of the cats says. ‘Now that you mention it, I thought there was a funny smell the past few days’ another chimes in twitching his nose.”
- Herman Hesse
Herman Hesse is shown with his love for cats obvious to anyone who looks at photographs of him with the animals. The novelist, poet, and painter received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.
- H.G. Wells
H. G. Wells’ cat, Mr. Peter Wells, had the habit, if a guest talked too long or too loudly, of getting up from its chair, protesting loudly and stalking out of the room. He wrote: “The cat, which is a solitary beast, is single minded and goes its way alone, but the dog, like his master, is confused in his mind.”
- Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton, the writer and scientist who first described the principle of gravity, also invented the swinging cat door for the convenience of his many cats.
- Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac loved cats, especially his cat Tyke, whose unfortunate passing he wrote about in loving detail in his memoir Big Sur.
- James Franco
James Franco said “I was raised as a cat person.” I had cats when I was a kid and that’s what I’m used to. I don’t really know how to take care of a dog, but I think I’m pretty good with cats … All my recent cats have been named after characters from books or the literary world. Sammy’s named after Sammy Glick from What Makes Sammy Run, and Zelda is named after Zelda Fitzgerald.”
- Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau was a cat lover who helped to found a club in Paris called the “Cat Friends Club”. As he said: “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
- Jean Paul Sartre
Although Jean Paul Sartre’s relationship with cats isn’t well-documented, he is seen in photographs holding a very handsome feline while at work. Sartre was also one of the obvious inspirations for Henri, the existential cat, and it is thought possible that all cats are, by nature, existentialists.
- Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentine poet, essayist, and short story writer who helped popularise Latin American literature shared his humble life with several cats, including a large white feline called Beppo, named after a character in a Lord Byron poem about a man who is lost at sea. He writes: “You belong to another time. You are lord of a place bounded like a dream.” (from ‘To a Cat’)
- Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates edited the collection The Sophisticated Cat: A Gathering of Stories, Poems, and Miscellaneous Writings About Cats. She said “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.”
- Judy Blume
Judy Blume, the author of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, has always loved animals. “We had a wonderful Calico cat who lived to be 16,” Blume writes on her website.
- Jules Reynard
Jules Reynard wrote: “The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat.”
- Julio Cortázar
Julio Cortázar was a cat lover who owned a cat named Theodor W. Adorno who he wrote about extensively in the book Around the Day in Eighty Worlds. “I sometimes longed for someone who, like me, had not adjusted perfectly with his age, and such a person was hard to find; but I soon discovered cats, in which I could imagine a condition like mine, and books, where I found it quite often.”
- Lord Byron
Lord Byron had several cats, including one called Beppo who drank milk from a skull.
- L. M. Montgomery
Lucky, or ‘Luck’ as she often called him, was L. M. Montgomery’s favourite pet. A year after Luck’s death, she wrote in her journal, “There is rarely a night that, waking, the tears do not rush to my eyes when I cannot put out my hand and feel his silken flank in the darkness.”
- Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood created ‘Angel Catbird’ to deal with her relationship with cats and bird conservation. She says: “I had become more and more immersed in the world of bird conservation. I now had a burden of guilt from my many years of cat companionship, for my cats had gone in and out of the house, busying themselves with their cat affairs, which included the killing of small animals and birds. These would turn up as gifts, placed thoughtfully either on my pillow instead of a chocolate, or on the front doormat, where I would slip on them.”
- Mark Twain
Mark Twain said, “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.” He kept eleven cats at his farm in Connecticut. When his beloved black cat Bambino went missing, Twain took out an advertisement in the New York American offering a $5 reward to return the missing cat. “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.”
- Marlon James
Jamaica-born author, Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings. He writes in coffee shops and gets to know bookstore and coffee shop cats around the world.
- Michel de Montaigne
Michel de Montaigne pondered the presumed indebtedness in the dynamic between him and his cat: “When I play with my cat who knows whether I do not make her more sport than she makes me? We mutually divert one another with our play. If I have my hour to begin or to refuse, she also has hers.”
- Neil Gaiman
The author of American Gods and The Sandman blogged regularly about his cats Hermione, Pod, Zoe, Princess, and Coconut. And cat people will identify with this quotation from The Gaveyard Book: “Name the different kinds of people,’ said Miss Lupescu. ‘Now.’ Bod thought for a moment. ‘The living,’ he said. ‘Er. The dead.’ He stopped. Then, ‘… Cats?’ he offered, uncertainly.”
- Patricia Highsmith
Patricia Highsmith was the author of The Talented Mr. Ripley, and did everything with her cats. She kept them by her side throughout her life until her death at her home in Locarno, Switzerland in 1995. Urich Weber, the curator of Highsmith’s archive, once explained that “she was very happy among cats. They gave her a closeness that she could not bear in the long-term from people. She needed cats for her psychological balance.”
- Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick, the science-fiction writer’s cat was called Magnificat.
- Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury compared parts of the writer’s creative process to cat ownership, saying that ideas, like cats, “come silently in the hour of trying to wake up and remember my name.” His advice for writers? “Treat ideas like cats … make them follow you.” In his short story, The Cat’s Pajamas, two cat lovers fight over who will keep a stray cat they find in the middle of a California highway.
- Raymond Chandler
Writer, Raymond Chandler, loved cats. His agent H.N. Swanson, said that Chandler’s cat ‘knew more about him than anybody else.’ Here’s a passage from a letter Chandler wrote to a friend about his cat, Taki: ‘Our cat is growing positively tyrannical. If she finds herself alone anywhere she emits blood curdling yells until somebody comes running. She sleeps on a table in the service porch and now demands to be lifted up and down from it. She gets warm milk about eight o’clock at night and starts yelling for it about 7.30.’
- Robert Heinlein
The author, Robert Heinlein said “How we behave toward cats here below determines our status in heaven.”
- Robertson Davies
Author, Robertson Davies, said “Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.” and “Perhaps God made cats so that man might have the pleasure of fondling the tiger.”
- Samuel Butler
Samuel Butler, English author, said “They say the test of literary power is whether a man can write an inscription.” I say, “Can he name a kitten?”
- Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson’s cat, Hodge, is immortalised, with his oysters, in a statue of his likeness that stands outside Johnson’s house at 17 Gough Square in London.
- Stephen King
Stephen King, ailurophile, wrote that “it might be that the biggest division in the world isn’t men and women but folks who like cats and folks who like dogs.” The 1985 film Cat’s Eye, written by Mr. King and based on his stories ‘Quitters, Inc.’ and ‘The Ledge’ features a mysterious cat protagonist throughout the three-chapter anthology. The Shawshank Redemption author has owned several pets over the years, including ‘a rather crazed Siamese cat’ named Pear.
- Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath is famously seen photographed with her cat, Daddy. Sylvia Plath was an American poet and novelist. Her recently (2011) unearthed drawings included the charming depiction of a ‘curious French cat.’
- T.S. Eliot
Poet, T.S. Eliot said ‘When a Cat adopts you there is nothing to be done about it except to put up with it and wait until the wind changes.” His 1939 work, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats is known to cat lovers everywhere.
- Tennessee Williams
Writer, Tennessee Williams, loved his cat Sabbath. “What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof? — I wish I knew… Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can…”
- Truman Capote
Truman Capote, American author of short stories, novels, nonfiction, and plays – including Breakfast At Tiffany’s and the true-crime novel In Cold Blood. The nameless feline in Breakfast At Tiffany’s plays a major part in the heart of the story. Holly sums up the novella nicely with the quote “If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany’s, then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name.”
- Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin loved cats. She said “Because they are beautiful and funny and self-respecting and mysterious.” When asked why there seems to be a special relationship between writers and cats, she responded “Maybe because writers don’t want to have to stop writing and walk the dog?”
- V.S. Naipaul
V. S. Naipaul won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001. He said after his cat Augustus died: “It was calamitous for me. I feel a deep, deep grief. I think of Augustus. He was the sum of my experiences. He had taken on my outlook, my way of living.”
- Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo is considered one of the greatest author in the history of French literature. He wrote fondly in his diary about his cats.
- W.H. Auden
W.H. Auden, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, loved his cats and said: “Cats can be very funny, and have the oddest ways of showing they’re glad to see you. Rudimace always peed in our shoes.”
- William Butler Yeats
Poet, William Butler Yeats was fascinated by cats, which can be noted in poems like ‘The Cat and the Moon’. Yeats metaphorically transforms himself into the cat longing for his love, Maude Gonne who was indifferent to him.
- William Carlos Williams
Poet and physician, William Carlos Williams, is often photographed with his beloved cats.
- William S. Burroughs
“The cat does not offer services. The cat offers itself.” William S. Burroughs is known for his wild, drug-induced writings, but he had a softer side as well—especially for his cats. He penned an autobiographical novella, The Cat Inside, about the cats he owned throughout his life. He wrote: “My relationship with cats has saved me from a deadly, pervasive ignorance.”
- William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth is famous for writing these poems about cats: The kitten and the Falling Leaves, Kittens! Kittens!, Loving and Liking, See the kitten on the Wall.
- Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill, adored cats. Churchill used to refer to his cat, Jock, as his special assistant. Jock was reported to be on the bed with his master on the day the great British statesman died.
The adoration between Authors N Cats flows both ways.
Cats have inspired many famous works of literature.