Friday, August 12, 2011

Every Writer Needs a Cat

Any good writer knows they need a cat to complete their air of mystery. Why do they need a cat? Well, it's simple really.

1) Cats are nocturnal a good part of the time and you may find yourself working into the dark hours. They make great companions.

2) Cats also aren't afraid to give you the criticism you need. They have been known to walk across your keyboard, erasing your sentences and thereby saving you great embarrassment amongst your peers. This also prompts you to save your document repeatedly, to avoid such pitfalls and computer crashes.

3) They also remind us not to take ourselves too seriously, which is a blessing when it comes to writer's block. Often, the best ideas seem the most ridiculous when you first think about them. Take cheese in a can, for instance. I'm not a fan, but a lot of Americans are. I'm sure the inventor of cheese in a can had a cat. Only a cat would not laugh at that idea.

4) Cats are very good at appearing to be busy, when really they're not. This is something we writers can mimic to get out of annoying social calls you wish to avoid or housework. If you look busy, you're family might leave you alone. Thus, giving you time to solve that pesky plot problem before you go to bed; then you'll be sure to get some sleep.

5) Cats also really don't care what you think about them. If you like them that's fine and if you don't, that's okay too. A writer can learn a lot from a cat's approach to publicity. Not everyone will like you or your work, but that's okay. Just act like you don't care and are quite busy, when bad press comes calling.

6) Above all things, cats are very independent, something you as a writer will need to be too. There will be many days you will spend by yourself, holed up with a cup of tea at your computer screen away from humanity. And there will be many days you will have to make bold decisions by yourself like what markets to submit to or which dress your beautiful young murderous will wear when she runs over her husband in your latest novel.

 7) Most importantly, cats know when it is time to take a well-deserved catnap. Something all writers should learn. It's good to take a break now and then. Good stories need to marinate too.

8) If you own a cat, you're in good company. The Bronte sisters, Emily, Charlotte, and Anne, all loved cats. Charles Dickens owned a cat called "Master's Cat" that kept him company while he wrote in his study. Alexandre Dumas, the author of The Man in the Iron Mask and other classics, owned a cat named "Mysouff". Even good ole H.G. Wells owned a cat named "Mr. Peter Wells", who was known for keeping his visitors's appointments short.

9) Cats also don't mind a little clutter on your desk. They blend right in, in fact. They're not very picky about housecleaning, so you won't need to worry about having a spotless place for them to plop while you write away.

10) Cats also find lots of ways to entertain themselves. Never fret, fearless writer! If you are busy finishing Chapter Eleven, they can definitely find something to amuse themselves with like unraveling the toilet paper roll or raiding the garbage for a new toy.

11) And finally, cats are very good groomers. Well, usually. Sometimes they need a little help, but only if they got into something they shouldn't. You will not need to waste time very often giving them a bath like their nemesis, the dog.  You'll have more time to write!

Note: All of the cats featured in this essay are my own furry friends. In order of appearance in the first three photographs are Houdini, Toshio, and Tiggyr. You can read more about their stories and the rest of my zoo here:

As always, happy writing and happy reading!

And if you're thinking of getting a cat, adopt one today from your local animal shelter. There are plenty in need of good homes and they make the best pets ever.

Also, check out The Weekend Creation Blog Hop for more creative blog selections this weekend.


Erin O'Riordan said...

My feline writing companion's name is James, and he's an adoptee from the local Humane Society. The other day he pushed my copy of 'Unsinkable' off my writing desk, possibly so I didn't get any ideas about sailing around the world. Or maybe just so he had more room to stretch out.

shah wharton said...

Thanks for linking up this weekend - hope you come back. This is a lovely post. Who doesn't love cats. They're gorgeous and cheeky and take no crap ;D I love your pictures too - Shah.X

Laurie said...

Hi Nora, I love your cats and your post is fabulous!! We have six cat and they bring so much joy and humor to our home... 5 are shelter cats and one is a little mouthy stray that adopted us last fall.

Thanks for dropping by my blog earlier....Have a great weekend.

Laurie (stopping in from Shah's Weekend Creative Hop)

Ann Rodela said...

Thanks Nora. Your cats have proven to be gracious hosts and meowed me a greeting. I know I need a cat. I tried having a garden and one tiny chipmunk keeps messing up my garden! I need a feerless feline who can inspire me. :)

Veronica Lee said...

What an awesome post! Love your cats!

Unfortunately, we can't keep cats in our 1208 sq ft condo and all I have is a sweet guinea pig!

Nora B. Peevy said...

Thanks for the warm meows of applause. Hehehe. But seriously, it's nice to see people enjoy my musings. My cats are currently snoozing after a long day of doing nothing -- what cats do best.


Carrie said...

I have to agree. My life is not complete without a cat. The first few years of living with my fiance and out first year married was torture! I missed having my furry friends.

Thankfully the husband has been brainwashed into my way of thinking :)

Thanks for popping by my blog

Nora B. Peevy said...

Carrie, one of my deals when I got serious about my first and my second husband was that cats are not negotiable. I will always have them. I was serious! I could not ever marry someone who wouldn't let me have a friend to love and cuddle. You are a saint!


Melanie said...

This a wonderful. I don't have a cat. I have 3 dogs. Perhaps that is my problem?

Nora B. Peevy said...

I have one rule: If you don't like animals, there's something wrong with you. Dogs are great too. :)

songbyrd on the mountain said...

what a GREAT post! Love your list. I have a cat-- who looks enough like your little black cat to be his twin. He is perfect company when I am deep in a good write. Even though occasionally he decides he should take a nap on the soft area directly between my face and my lap/laptop, thereby making typing-- and seeing what I am typing-- very difficult if not down right impossible. Still, I love his little furry presence. Again, what a great list!!

Renee said...

Oh, I should be in good shape with my three. And they are sooo helpful when I write. Or hungry usually.

Nora B. Peevy said...

Thank you, Songbyrd.

Renne, my three are always hungry too. Their stomachs are their alarm clocks. They always seem to want to be fed five minutes before my husband's alarm goes off for work. And they have no concept of weekends or time off from work, so it's a 7 day alarm clock feeding. :)