In my class discussion last week, a thread was started about how our pets (cats, dogs, etc.) affect our lives, and specifically (in our case) the way we work or write. I found it interesting to see how many writers have cats. I am one such writer. Many of you who read my blog know I used to have two little muses… recently, that number is down to one. But he is always there. And helpful, of course. Always helpful.
I find it curious that many great inventors, writers, and artists were cat lovers, including:
- Sir Isaac Newton
- Mark Twain
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Ernest Hemingway
- Robert Heinlein
I even learned a new word for those of us with a propensity towards cats: we are Ailurophiles.
So this all begs the question, what is it about cats? I find cats fascinating. They almost always seem content, but they never seem to lose their affinity for exploration, sometimes sniffing the same corner of the room that they just checked out a moment ago. They can amuse themselves for hours with something as simple as a toy mouse or a piece of string, and yet, their sophistication knows no bounds when it comes to putting on a look that says “Duh. I knew that”.
Most importantly, my cat is trying to teach me the ability to settle with enough as enough. Jack does not have any inclination towards excess. He is content to explore the house, cuddle on a lap, or look out the window at the world around him. He doesn’t get bored and isn’t always looking for ‘the next thing’. He can just be. For hours. I admire that. As Jules Renard said “ the idea of calm exists in a sitting cat”.
Perhaps it is this trait which leads writers to have cats. I find the best inspiration for my writing come when I just sit and let it be. I look at the page onto which I’m going to compose, and just sit. And wait. And then… I write. When I need to force something, the quality is not the same. But when I can just let it be and let it come… it’s almost like magic.
So, does owning a cat make you a writer? Or if you are a writer, you must have a cat? I would lean towards the second as I don’t believe it’s possible for us to ‘own’ cats…
“dogs have owners, cats have staff.” ~ Anonymous.
Anyone with a cat knows this to be true. But no matter. We can still have a propensity towards them.