Author cats

I don’t mean that cats write books. At least I don’t think so. There’s no knowing how much input authors’ cats have where books are concerned. Let me know.

A while ago I was on a cat thread, and threatened to offer more on cats. While I’m searching for an elusive picture book (could it be we don’t actually own a copy?), I’ll have a go at those who make the books happen, instead.

I’ve noticed that writers very often write a lot about their cats on their blogs or websites or wherever. I feel I may know more about authors’ cats than authors’ children, which is as it should be. Children should be left alone, and not be embarrassed further, unless they are mine.

Authors are more cat people than dog people, or perhaps that’s just how it seems. There are the lurchers belonging to Cathy Cassidy and Meg Rosoff. If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t have known what lurchers are like at all, when one turned up in Linda Newbery’s Flightsend. I can’t recall any other literary dogs, right now.

Lurcher in her book aside, I believe Linda is a cat person. And Cathy Hopkins keeps her fans updated on her cats. As do countless others. Nick Green even seems incapable of being photographed without one. I get the impression that the cats are the bosses, and any writing of books has to be arranged around the cats and their comforts.

With Nick as the exception, I think it’s only female writers who talk about their cats. Or dogs. Why?

Please write in and tell me. And if you happen to own an axolotl or anything else interestingly different, do let me know. I’ll continue the search for that cat book.

26 responses to “Author cats

  1. Ah Bookwitch… as perceptive as ever. I feel you have stumbled on something I was preparing to blog about on our joint blog at http://www.awfullybigblogadventure.blogspot.com/ Susan Price started the ball rolling with her post “writing with a cat” and I thought it might be the time to reveal the answer to the ultimate question. Not Life the Universe and Everything, but where do writers get their ideas?
    I have an strange feeling that it is their cats. I’ve questioned our own 4 cats on this matter, and on a current plot problem, but for now they remain suspiciously silent.
    Perhaps a string of interviews with author’s cats would be most enlightening.

  2. Are you trying to prove I’m wrong about the sex bias here?

    I suspect it may have been Susan’s post that set me thinking about cat conspiracies and stuff. Hope I’ve not ruined it for you?

    You can do the interviewing. I’ve yet to meet a cat that will talk to me.

  3. Not trying to prove you wrong – just thought I’d even the balance a bit. Perhaps it’s just that there are more female children’s authors than male.

    No luck on the getting my cats to talk front though.

  4. Cats? No no no. Make me sneeze and wheeze. The ultimate writing companion, as I recently revealed in my blog, is of course…

    ‘A rabbit. He needs no walkies when you are lost in that hard-won mysterious ‘zone’ when the hours fly by and writing is a dream. Cast a few carrot chunks about the room and he will amuse himself quietly all afternoon by foraging in corners. Rabbits don’t bark or twitter, just make sweet gruntings and look impossibly cute when they want something. They are the ultimate muse: when you read a bit of the book you are working on, they never look bored or less than impressed (as a cat would). And they are the best foot warmer in winter, as you sit at your desk.

    What more could a writer want?’

    Here’s the man himself:
    http://spark-gap.blogspot.com/2007/10/bouncer-bertagna-writing-muse.html

  5. Julie, you must have small feet, or a rather large rabbit. (I’d be afraid I’d accidentally step on a rabbit.) Or just a very warm rabbit, perhaps.

    I find it difficult to breathe if I’m near cats for any time. Though I do find that the homeopathic remedy of taking “cat’s hair” is quite effective, if you don’t consider the yuck factor.

  6. He’s a dwarf lop: I have small feet. He’s like one of those furry slippers you put both feet in. Tends to roll off when he falls asleep though.

    Never heard of the cat’s hair thing. Must try, because if I’m ever in range of a cat you can guarantee it’ll head straight for me, and hang around to watch the asthma attack. That’s how evil cats are…

  7. Not a cat lover, are we?

  8. I am a cat lover and used to have the most beautiful cat in the world, called Mimi, but alas, she is no longer with us and we are not replacing her because we can now go travelling together, where before one of us had to stay home…..yes, Mimi was completely indulged by us but had the best character and was not in the least spoiled. We miss her a lot….
    I am also keen on cats in fiction and most of my books have a cat in them somewhere. My two Fantoras books were actually NARRATED by a cat: the redoutable Ozzy…short for Ozymandias….books now alas out of print.

  9. How long now till we have cat lovers v dog lovers, or even rabbit lovers? The witch likes people, pasta, pizza, etc, and is not very interested in animals. But if I have to choose sides, I will have to go with the dogs…

  10. Have you read this one? –
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dashas-Journal-Reflects-Catness-Autism/dp/1843105861/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1

    It’s not for children, though. And if you are interested in autism as well, I think you’ll like it.

    Cat Person

  11. Thank you, Cat Person. It looks very interesting. Will have to find out more.

  12. Bit late coming to this one, but I have also noticed this trend, and have a sad related tale, which you can see by following this link: http://www.fionadunbar.com/cats.htm

  13. Ahh, I loved it. But Basingstoke? Poor little cat.

  14. We mustn’t be mean about Basingstoke because the lovely Lee Weatherly lives there – and is, in fact, the very person who adopted Oedi Puss.

  15. I suspected the adopter was Lee. And I’ve never been to Basingstoke. It’s just that it’s part of a private Roger Whittaker related joke, which makes me smile. Certainly no worse than Neasden, which I can promise will turn up here some time.

    As for Stockport… Well, let’s say no more.

  16. omg i didn’t realise your cat went to lee, fiona. and when is the third book of the silk sisters trilogy coming out? my daughter’s birthday is on the 21st august and she put it on her list.

  17. Alas the cat is dead now…of old age, not a victim of Basingstoke! And Candy, I’m afraid Mia will have to wait until May `09 for Tiger-Lily Gold! Sorry to disappoint.

  18. Oh, no! I was already getting fond of the poor little cat.

    Fiona, at least you know that you have a customer for your book when it comes.

  19. People are talking about cats and I am not involved?! :o)
    May I join the club?

    http://www.freewebs.com/dashasjournal

  20. T.O. – this is the right place for you. A nice man called Keith claims he’s going to send me your book. Looking forward to that.

  21. Erm, publisher of a book about a cat living with autistic people… I hope he isn’t a figment of my imagination.

  22. Btw, Fiona, how are the noisy bald human cats these days?

    (My neighbours had a dog when newly married. When the children arrived, they suddenly didn’t like having a dog quite so much, so gave it to someone else. Now that the children are almost gone again, they have two new beautiful dogs.)

  23. Cathy Hopkins cats make regular contributions to her work by walking on her keyboard when she’s out of the room. A recent gripping contribution by Otis went “ppppfffffffffffhhhhhhccccsssssaaaattttttttttttttttttddddddddddzzzaaaa”
    but sadly didn’t make it to the final draft of Zodiac Girls.

  24. Oh, wow! I don’t often get characters from books commenting here. Daughter and I both love you, Steve. Don’t know why TJ broke up with you.

    Editors, eh? Because I’m sure Cathy wouldn’t cut such a meaningful contribution to literature.

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