Writing Companions: Cats

Many writers have a companion, that keeps them company while they slave away over what pronoun to use. As I have recently got my own, I thought it would be a good idea for me to see what company I am in. This post will focus on cats, the other on dogs.

Ernest Hemingway

As well as writing books such as A Farewell to Arms and A Man and the Sea, Earnest was an avid cat lover. He primarily took a shine to cats that were polydactyl cats, these are cats that have a genetic disorder that causes more toes present on one or more paws. He was given his first cat, Snowball, by a ship’s captain. There is now a museum and cat sanctuary at his house where there are around 50 cats (with half of them being descendants of Hemingway’s cats and polydactyl). There was a fund to set up to care for the cats that lived there and because of his affection for them, they are sometimes called Hemingway cats.

Joyce Carol Oats

Joyce Carol Oats has published over fifty books, and has also written poetry, nonfiction and short stories. She once said of her cat, “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.”

Mark Twain

Although Mark Twain was known for his wit and ability to make the world laugh, he was overly nervous and unhappy; however, it was cats that would give him some grounding and solace. Apart from cats, Mark Twain also loved pool and when he would play, he would be accompanied by a kitten in his top pocket. The cats provided him with the companionship and the motivation to keep writing.

Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau  was a French poet, novelist, and filmmaker whose most famous work was The Holy Terrors. Apart from being in an elite social circle that included Pablo Piccaso and Coco Chanel, he was a cat devotee. He helped  found a club in Paris called the “Cat Friends Club” that had a membership pin and sponsored cat shows.

Other famous cat writers are:

  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Hermann Hesse
  • Syliva Plath
  • Stephen King
  • Jack Kerouac
  • Edward Gorey
  • William S. Burroughs
  • Truman Capote
  • Raymond Chandler
  • T. S. Elliot

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