Writers and Cats #BlackCatAppreciationDay

Hi, SEers! Mae here with something a little different—today is Black Cat Appreciation Day. Many of my blogging friends know I have a black rescue cat named Raven. In honor of Raven, all the cats, dogs, and other pets who have writer parents, I thought it would be fun to share about the furry friends who keep us company when we’re working on our craft.

Whether I’m jotting story notes, drafting, or editing, Raven is usually camped out at my desk. When she was a kitten, I had a small desktop bed for her. Now, I convert a drawer into a bed. She has a soft, fluffy blanket covered with cats to ensure she’s comfy (photos below).  If I’m on the couch with my Macbook, she often tries to lay in my lap while I’m typing—not ideal, but I know her cuddling will eventually give way to her curling up beside me.

 

Many writers have pets. And many famous writers loved cats—including Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Raymond Chandler, T. S. Eliot, Cleveland Armory, and Ernest Hemingway to name a few. Even if you’re not a cat lover, you’re likely familiar with Hemingway’s Key West home, and the six-toed felines who wander his estate. Descended from his cat, Snowball, there are between forty and fifty “polydactyl” cats who freely roam Hemmingway’s home. How I would love to visit!

As writers, we often find ourselves battling interruptions—phone calls, texts, inquisitive or talkative family members, TV (depending on where you’re working). I’m sure some of you have cats, dogs, or other pets who crave attention, want to play fetch, go for a walk, bat around a squeaky toy, or are vocal when it’s feeding time. But for the most part pets are companions who simply want to hang out with us while we work.

In honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day,
enjoy these quotes about cats from famous writers:

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.” ~ Robertson Davies

“Books. Cats. Life is good.” ~ Edward Gorey

“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

“When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.” ~ Mark Twain

“Cats must have three names—an everyday name such as Peter; a more particular, dignified name, such as Quaxo, Bombalurina, or Jellyorum; and, thirdly, the name the cat thinks up for himself, his deep and inscrutable, singular Name.” ~ T. S. Eliot

And lest this post be solely about cats (even though it is Black Cat Appreciation Day), for those of you with lovable, loyal dogs, there were/are many famous authors equally devoted to canine companions—John Steinbeck, Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King to name a few. Whatever type of pet companion you have, I’m sure he or she has nosed into your writing time in one way or another. Share a few thoughts in the comments. Even if you don’t have a pet at the moment, memories of cherished furry, feathered, or scaly friends are welcome too.

Ready, set, go!

Bio box for author, Mae Clair

76 thoughts on “Writers and Cats #BlackCatAppreciationDay

  1. I don’t have cats right now, but one of the cats I had before used to sleep on my computer monitor whenever I was on the computer. This was obviously back in the days before flat screen monitors. At that point I also had some sight, so could see her up there, half opening her eyes to check I was still there from time to time, and then closing them again. I didn’t mind – in fact, I liked having her so close – though it was sometimes a shock when you moved the mouse pointer and a paw suddenly appeared as if from nowhere.

    As I type this, my Cavapoo, Logan, is asleep in his basket at my feet. He’s officially outgrown the puppy basket that fits under my desk in the place where my feet should be, but still insists on sleeping there if I’m on the computer. We considered moving it now he struggles to fit in it, but he got so upset when I moved it that I ended up putting it back. His paws stick out in places, and his head is often resting on my foot rather than being in the basket (as it is right now) but he’s content so I am too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Tori. I love how you have, and have had pets that hang with you when you’re writing. I remember those big fat computer monitors, and can fully see a cat sprawled over the top of it, paw dangling on the screen.
      And Logan sounds like a charmer, still wanting to squeeze into his basket to be with you. I think that’s adorable 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing!

      Like

  2. Oh Mae, this is such a soft post. I love Ernest Hemingway’s quote. Cats and dogs are totally honestly expressing their emotions. They love you 100% and make you feel loved. My dad was a reserved man. We got him a puppy (lately on this puppy gave birth to three puppies). We had never seen our dad smile so much and talked to the puppy (dog) so much. I think pets bring out the best in humans. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the TS Eliot quote. How wonderful is that, Mae. And your photos of Raven are adorable. 😀
    I’ve had multiple cats all my life and finally, with the hopes of travel in our future, when our last one passed away, we didn’t get another. But someone dropped off a feral mama and her kittens in our barn. Sigh. 🙂 We are trying to make friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww. That’s so nice you’re caring for the feral and her kittens, Diana. I have a friend with farmland and she frequently has ferals show up. She cares for them and tries to find them homes. My sister has also been taking care of a feral for the last two years. He’s now to the point where he’ll go inside for a short time.

      When I lost my last black cat, Onyx, my husband and I planned for travel too, and decided not to get another. I caved after 5 years, but Raven will be our last. I have a cat sitter come in when we travel, but I always feel bad leaving her when we vacation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, sixty thoughts already! I don’t have too much to add, because Black Cat Appreciation Day slipped beneath my radar, I’m afraid. Honey is a dog with zero appreciation for cats of any colour, and a strong aversion to closed doors. When she’s in my office, she wants to be out, and when out, she wants to be in. The eventual truce which results, often after prolonged negotiation, is protested from without, volubly. So, does she help my concentration? No. But then, concentration is something I hardly ever indulge in. Best wishes to Raven – she sounds geeeoorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fred, Honey behaves just like a cat when it comes to closed doors. That is so typical for a feline. I think it’s fun that your dog has the same type of behavior. I love that you “negotiate” with her, LOL.

      Yes, Raven is a beauty, and got lots of extra fussing yesterday in honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day. I had to enlighten my husband about it. The day slipped beneath his radar too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful cat! The wife found out she was allergic to cats, and we had to give her cat away. I’m partial to my big dogs. I need somebody to goof around with who’s on my level.😎

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day, Raven from fellow blacks cats Coco and Luna:) My five kitties and dog keep me company writing, Luna is helping out now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Raven is beautiful, Mae. I love that you made room for her on your desk ❤
    Harley, my calico, likes to lay (lie? I never get them right, lol) on the edge of my laptop and rub her cheek against the screen. I take that as a hint to close it down and give her some attention 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heeheee. I love that your cat is named Harley, Jacquie. My cousin had a cat by the same name (she and her husband are enthusiastic motorcycle riders). Your dear calico girl sounds like a charmer. As much as our feline friends are writer companions, they definitely demand attention, too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hugs and kisses to Raven! ❤ Midnight left us a year ago, but will remain in our hearts forever… She was always there for me and into everything I was including writing. We now have two adopted babies–Rebel, a Maine Coon and gentle giant and Shadow, a dainty black beauty I call Sweet Pea. These two darlings have kept us laughing and loving since the beginning of 2020 and we’re feeling so blessed! ❤ xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, Bette, I remember many references to Midnight on your blog. I am so sorry she has passed over the Rainbow Bridge but I know she left paw prints on your heart.
      Raven sends kitty hugs to Rebel and Shadow. I am so glad they’re there to keep you laughing and happy!

      Like

    • Raven says thank you, Yvette. 🙂
      I’m sorry you lost your furry friend. I know how hard that is. 😦
      Fish are sooo relaxing! My husband and I were aquarium enthusiasts and had tropical fish in multiple sized tanks for over a decade. We never ventured into salt water, but I know they are so vivid and gorgeous!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Raven has been purring over all the praise she’s getting today, Noelle!
      And although I didn’t know your black and white furrbaby, I know that your boy Garfield gets plenty of attention on your blog. I always enjoy when he pops up! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have loved so many cats who graced my life. The last two, Frankie and Stella always kept me company while writing. Frank used to love stretching out on my desk and having a good ole snooze. Stella preferred the couch. Now, of course, Lucy and Twiggy are always there for writing time. Super post, Mae. I do miss my kitties.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We had two black cats, Pumpkin and Monkey, in Canada. There was usually one sleeping on my feet or on my lap as I wrote my books. When we moved to Spain we got a black and white rescue dog we call Dot. Dot does a good job of ensuring I don´t sit in front of the computer all day as she gets me out for walks and brings her ball in for me to play catch with. My character, Amanda, loves animals and there are animals featured in the Amanda Travels books. Ali Baba the camel, Pedro the pony, Rupert the Main Coon cat, Joey the puppy, and Bart the cattle dog to name a few.

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    • I love that you have so many animals in the Amanda books, Darlene. They sound like quite the adorable crew!
      The same with your own pets. Pumpkin and Monkey are great names, and it sounds like you have a lot of fond memories of them. Isn’t it great how cats camp out with us when we write? And good for Dot in making sure you get breaks from the desk when you’re writing. Dogs are great for distraction and love attention.
      Thanks so much for sharing!

      Like

    • Bond will never know, Teri 😉
      But I do bet he’d love a pic on your FB page in honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day. He is such a handsome lad.
      Raven sends her thanks for the compliments. She does love a good hug!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    In honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day, Mae Clair has a wonderful fun post on Story Empire about writers and their cats. Apparently, many of us adore them! I know I do! Check it out for some cool facts and great quotes. Then, as always, please consider passing it along for others to enjoy. Thanks, and a special thanks to Mae for a post that really hits home with me. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Well now, you KNOW this post touched my heart, Mae! Fact: I have never lived in a house without a cat, from childhood on. Ever. I loved and dearly miss our two dachshunds (we lost them both last year), we are too old to housebreak another dog. Cats, on the other hand, will be with us until the end. (Yes, my husband loves them as much as I.) Currently, we are sharing our house with six! Our four, and my daughter’s two. Hers were supposed to be flown out to her after they got settled in Denver, but alas. We’ve been unable to make that happen yet, so they’ve been here a year. (I’m hoping she’ll visit this fall and be able to drive them back then. They’re great cats, but six is a LOT.)

    As for cats and books, all four of ours are named for favorite characters from books I love. Our black & white tuxedo cat is Harry (actually Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden) and our calico girl is Murphy. (Sgt. Karrin Murphy, also from the Dresden Files). Our two yellow tabbies are Kell and Rhy, named for brothers from V. E. Schwab’s Color of Magic series. Previous cats have been named for other book characters and or some musicians here and there. They included an enormous, 23-pound, long-haired, gray & white polydactyl named Beau. Beau was unusual in that he had six toes on all four feet, instead of just the front two. It disqualified him from being shown as a “Ragamuffin” (similar to the Ragdoll breed, but without the Siamese type coloration).

    I’ve been to the Hemingway home in Key West, and it’s amazing for many reasons, including the cats. We saw one there that was 23 years old! It was leaning against a wall the entire duration of our visit, which I kind of think was about all it had the energy to do. But it did purr when we gave it some scratches. You’d love it there.

    A cat named Handsome lives in my Wake-Robin Ridge series, and a Norwegian forest cat named Odin lives in my Riverbend series.

    LOVED the quotes, too! I’ll stop now before I start relating all the funny stories that go with having a house full of cats. Time to get busy. I’m on hairball duty this morning. Some of the ones floating around here are about the size of VW beetles. 😯 Thanks for a fun post on a subject near and dear to my heart. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Six cats IS a lot of cats, Marcia, but I know you have so much room in your heart for them…even if they do leave some vehicle-sized hairballs 🙂
      One of my previous cats, Arafel, was named for a character in a The Tree of Swords and Jewels by C.J. Cherryh. Raven was just a kitten when we got her but the rescue organization had given her the name. Since “Raven” was already on the shortlist of names I was considering for my new black cat, I kept it. She is such a sweetheart, and her eyes speak volumes.

      Lucky you getting to the Hemmingway House. I would love to visit someday. I’m sure it’s extraordinary, and all those cats are a huge bonus! Thanks for sharing the stories. I love hearing about cats and pets in general. They leave paw prints on our hearts!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know you have writing companions hanging out with you all the time, Craig. Otto and Frankie are great writer companions. And you already know how much I loved your robotic cat in Grinders. He was a stroke of genius! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You know I love my two cats, Little Bit and Tucker. I made sure to tell Little Bit it was Black Cat Appreciation Day. They often cuddle beside me when I’m on the sofa with my laptop. They “think” they’re helping. 🙂

    I also like weaving pets into stories. You can tell a lot about a character’s character by the fact they have a pet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve seen photos of your two cuties, Joan. They’re both adorable. And I’m glad Little Bit gets honored today with Black Cat Appreciation Day. I love how cats like to camp out with us when we’re writing. They’re so content 🙂

      Great line about a character’s character. I used cats in a number of my stories, and dogs in two of them. They’re fun to write!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Raven says “thank you,” Charles. And yes, even without a pet, I think it’s fun and relaxing to look at animal photos. I don’t have a dog but I’ve seen some adorable dog photos that melt my heart. I’m hoping the Puppy Bowl and Kitten Bowl still take place this coming year. Those are other favorites of mine 🙂

      Like

  14. Fun post, Mae. I never knew about all those writers with their pets. The nearest I have to a furry friend for writing is my little bear, which I got for my birthday this year. She has a wooden tag saying she’s called ‘Harmony’, lols 🙂 I have her in pride of place on my computer desk.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww, that is so cute, Harmony. I bet she’s plenty of inspiration for you. And in addition to Raven camping out with me, I have a Mothman statue that hangs out on my desk. You can see him in the left hand photo above. Mothy also provides lots of inspiration, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m terribly allergic to cats, but I still always give my friends’ cats virtual ear scratches. My son currently has all three of our dogs. I’m also quite allergic to them (though not as bad as cats) and miss them terribly. They’ve all, at one point or another, wiggled their way onto my lap while I worked. And we’re talking about 90-100 pound puppers. I can’t imagine how lonely we’d all be without our furry family members.

    I recently did a developmental edit for a friend who’s writing a mystery in the Keys. I helped her turn the six-toed cats into a prominent feature of the book. It would be really cool to visit one day and see them.

    Give Raven extra love from me today.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Staci, I can’t imagine trying to write with a 90-100 dog in my lap! I have a hard enough time managing it when Raven curls up and I’m trying to write. WOW! What we don’t do for the pets we love. And I know when your dogs were with you, you spoiled them rotten which is how it should be. I’ve seen photos of them and they’re all gorgeous.

      The mystery sounds really cool. I love the fact that the cats are featured. Like you, I would love to visit Hemmingway’s property some day.

      And Raven says thanks and sends virtual kitty cuddles. She loves all the attention she’s getting today 😉

      Like

  16. Cats can sometimes be a nuisance though, and mine is the worst. He never curls up and keeps me company while I work but loves to stare out of my window instead. To get there, he often walks across my keyboard, causing some very funny squiggles to appear on the screen!

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Hi, Mae Clair

    What a fascinating post. So many things I didn’t know.

    My Richard and Maria books feature a Jack Russell called Ben, Very quickly, he developed into a huge character who is very popular with readers. He gets more mentions in reviews than Richard and Maria – “Ben, the dog who stole my heart”.

    The funny thing is, one of the few pets I’ve never had is a Jack Russell. Ben is modelled on my female Weimaraner! I’ve had her for five years, since she was dumped at a rescue centre as “too old” – she was only eight.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I love that Ben has his own fans, Sarah. That’s brilliant! I’ve included pets (both cats and dogs) in a number of my books, and I have a novella where the cat has a major role. I think it’s fun to write pets and they give added color to novels.

      I am SO GLAD you rescued your female Weimaraner and gave her a furrever home. Shame on the people who dumped her there, but their loss is your gain. I know she has lots of love now 🙂

      Like

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