Dogs may be man’s best friend, but cats are without a doubt writers’ greatest pal. It’s not necessarily that cats are intelligent, reserved, love lots of sleep, and have short spurts of energy which make them most similar to us (although many writers and avid readers I know tend to lean drastically towards these cat-like qualities), but rather because, as Robertson Davies so eloquently said:
“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.”
So, whether you keep your cat around to do your proofreading for you, or to cuddle with you when you’re stuck in a writer’s block, know that these three authors also loved their cats and kept them around for all those reasons and more!
1. Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway became a cat lover when he was living in Cuba and was gifted a six-toed cat. When the cat started breeding, the six-toed feature became common with future felines earning them the title of the “Hemingway Cats”. There’s even a museum in Florida dedicated to these polydactyl fur balls! Considering Hemingway wrote some of his best works in the region, cat-lovers are eager to believe all those funky cats had something to do with it!
2. Mark Twain
Somehow it’s not too surprising that the father of jocular prose was a cat owner. Twain was apparently so attached to his large, black cat Bambino that he offered a reward when the cat disappeared. This author put an ad in the “New York American” describing the distinguished feline as: “large and intensely black; thick, velvety fur; has a faint fringe of white hair across his chest; not easy to find in ordinary light.” It also seems that Twain picked up some cat-like habits as his publisher claimed the writer enjoyed lolling about in bed (alongside Bambino, of course)!
3. Neil Gaiman
The author of what is perhaps the most celebrated comic series of our time, Sandman, has a lot of love for his feline friends. Although he is also the proud owner of a couple dogs, Gaiman loves his cats so much that he at one point had an online journal solely dedicated to their furry shenanigans. Considering he also named one of his cats Hermoine, after the Harry Potter character, it seems safe to say that books and cats are closely intertwined for this author.
Writers and readers: tell us about the cats in your lives who inspire you! What fuzzy friend curls up next to you on a rainy day while you're reading that book or penning that novel?