Since the beginning of time, dogs have been described as a man’s best friend. But, more often than not, you see authors with cats, and even in the reading/writing world, books and cats are a common pair–and arguably a cute one. And in honor of this combination, let’s celebrate by meeting some prominent authors and their fabulous feline friends.
Charles Dickens and Bob
Charles Dickens, known for writing novels such as Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol had an obsession with taxidermy and his cat, Bob. And while those two may appear to have nothing in common, they ultimately do because when Bob died in 1862, Dickens had the cat’s paw stuffed and attached to a letter-opener. He inscribed it with “C.D. In Memory of Bob 1862.”
Mark Twain and Bambino
Mark Twain, known for writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, kept eleven cats at his farm in Connecticut. And when his most beloved black cat, Bambino, disappeared, he took out an advertisement in the New York American, offering a $5 (a week’s wage) reward to anyone who could return him. There has also been a picture book written called Bambino and Mr. Twain by P.I. Maltbie and illustrated by Daniel Miyares about the lifestyle of the cat and author–and how the cat changed Twain’s life.
Ray Bradbury and Cat Writing Advice
Ray Bradbury didn’t really have a prominent cat, but he did have ideas and thoughts on writing that involved cats. He compared writing to cat ownership and famously said, “You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.” He wrote a collection of 22 short stories spanning over six decades, titled The Cats Pajamas following his trademark style of a sort of sadness in the beauty mixed with strangeness in reality. It covers everything from science fiction to racial equality.
Stephen King, Pear, and Chruch
A famous author and cat lover, Stephen King has written pretty much everything a reader could want. He also owned several pets, including a ‘crazed Siamese’ named Pear. The movie Cat’s Eye (1985), directed by Lewis Teague and written by Stephen King is a three-segment horror anthology that features a “plucky tabby cat” that intervenes in all three segments. King, on cats, has said, “A cat won’t curry favor even if it’s in their best interests to do so. A cat can’t be a hypocrite.”
Doris Lessing and El Magnifico
Doris Lessing was fascinated with cats growing up on her African farm. She had many cats throughout her life, including the “awkward” and “majestic” El Magnifico, her lovable black and white cat. Her writings are very cat-focused, including novels like Particularly Cats, On Cats, and The Old Age of El Magnifico: A Cats Tale. On cats, she has said, “Cats mean kittens, plentiful and frequent.”
Winston Churchill and Jock
The British Prime Minister and author of the autobiography My Early Life loved cats. His relationship with his cat Jock was a beloved one and he even described the cat as his “special assistant.” Since the National Trust opened the house to the public in 1966, the family has requested there “always be a marmalade cat named Jock with a white bib and four white socks in comfortable residence at Chartwell.” The Chartwell estate is now on Jock VII and will continue to respect the family’s wishes. It was reported that Jock I was on the bed with his owner when he died.
And last but certainly not least…
Edgar Allan Poe and Cattarina
The relationship between Edgar Allan Poe and Cattarina was remarkable. The cat was known to “perch on his shoulder as he wrote, eat only out of his hand and become depressed when he was away on business.” When Edgar’s first wife Virginia contracted tuberculosis, Cattarina would cuddle with Virginia and one visitor described it as “the wonderful cat seemed conscious of her great usefulness.” When he wrote Instinct vs Reason-A Black Cat, he called himself the owner of the most remarkable cat in the world. Edgar Allan Poe died at 40 on October 7, 1849, and within weeks, Cattarina followed.
So, it’s pretty easy to tell a lot of these authors preferred the companionship of their feline friends to that of humans. And honestly, it’s understandable. And honestly, perhaps it is a cat’s stubbornness and “god complex” that truly makes them an author’s best friend.
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