Writers are often stereotyped as being melancholic, eccentric and reclusive, escaping the real world to avoid distractions which might affect their work, however, some of the most exceptional writers loved cats, maybe they’re not so different to the rest of us after all.
Hemingway was given a six-toed cat as a present, whilst he was living in Cuba, he called the polydactyl cat Snowball and really loved the little guy. Hemmingway became so infatuated with cats that when he moved to his house in Key West he let his little Snowball run wild and created a small colony-like group of cats which were able to run around the grounds. To this day there are estimated to be about 50 six-toed cats roaming around the house who are all descendants of Hemmingway’s Snowball, and that is also why polydactyl felines are sometimes called Hemmingway Cats.
Mark Twain is one of America’s most notable literary icons, but he was also a big lover of cats. He had his own pet cat called Bambino and it, unfortunately, went missing. Twain loved his cat so much that he took out an advertisement in the New York American which offered a $5 reward if the missing cat was returned, which would be over $100 now. The advert described Bambino beautifully as having thick, velvety fur.
William S. Burroughs
Known for his crazy, drug crazed stories Burroughs actually had a more relaxed side to him, one which loved cats. He actually wrote an autobiographical novel about all the cats he had called The Cat Inside, his final journal entry talked about the love he had for his pets, here’s what it said:
“Only thing can resolve conflict is love, like I felt for Fletch and Ruski, Spooner, and Calico. Pure love. What I feel for my cats present and past. Love? What is it? Most natural painkiller what there is. LOVE.”
Eliot is one of the most renowned poets to have ever lived, he was absolutely in love with cats and even wrote a book called Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, which included fifteen poems all of which were describing the different personalities of his cats. These poems were the inspiration behind Andrew Lloyd Webber’s world famous Broadway musical Cats.
Highsmith was often criticised as being a little unfriendly, but a softer side to her was shown with her four-legged felines. She did basically everything with her cats, including her popular writing. She kept them by her side until her death.
You might remember Dickens famous quote; “What greater gift than the love of a cat?”, his beloved cats were the only thing which could distract him from his writing and they were known for accidentally putting out the flame on his desk candle. He was actually so devastated about the death of one of his cats that he had its paw stuffed and mounted onto a letter opener. The letter opener was also engraved with “In memory of Bob, 1862”, you can see this legendary piece at the New York Public Library.
He was known for being a cat lover and even got accused of treating his cats better than his servants. He bought his cat fresh oysters every day and a statue of his cat, Hodge, is now a situated outside Johnson’s house.