Cats may be famous literary pets, but who knew the propaganda art of the anti-suffragist movement had an entire cat-centric sub-genre? As felines represented the domestic sphere and thus the feminine, they were used to portray suffragists as incompetent and unintelligent.
Montaigne ponders the direction of intention in the pet-owner dynamic in this omnibus of famous authors’ words about their beloved pets.
When Mark Twain’s cat, Bambino, disappeared, the author posted the following lost cat flyer around the neighborhood:
Large and intensely black; thick, velvety fur; has a faint fringe of white hair across his chest; not easy to find in ordinary light.
… and other literary pets
Our cat is growing positively tyrannical. If she finds herself alone anywhere she emits blood curdling yells until somebody comes running. She sleeps on a table in the service porch and now demands to be lifted up and down from it. She gets warm milk about eight o’clock at night and starts yelling for it about 7.30. When she gets it she drinks a little, goes off and sits under a chair, then comes and yells all over again for someone to stand beside her while has another go at the milk. When we have company she looks them over and decides almost instantly if she likes them. If she does she strolls over and plops down on the floor far enough away to make it a chore to pet her. If she doesn’t like them, she sits in the middle of the living room, casts a contemptuous glance around, and proceeds to wash her backside.
Raymond Chandler on his cat Taki, and other famous authors’ effusive love letters to their pets.
“You can never know anyone as completely as you want. But that’s okay, love is better.”
So great: T. S. Eliot’s iconic vintage verses about cats, illustrated and signed by the one and only Edward Gorey.
A breakdown of cat owners’s thoughts by Wendy MacNaughton.
The best mid-century cat stories, illustrated by Dame Eileen Mayo.
English artist Dame Eileen Mayo illustrates the best cat stories of 1953.
THE AD-DRESSING OF CATS
You’ve read of several kinds of Cat,
And my opinion now is that
You should need no interpreter
To understand their character.
You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.
For some are same and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse –
But all may be described in verse.
You’ve seen them both at work and games,
And learnt about their proper names,
Their habits and their habitat:
How would you ad-dress a Cat?
So first, your memory I’ll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.
T. S. Eliot playfully contrasts cats and dogs in this lovely poem, with stunning vintage illustrations by Dame Eileen Mayo.
Mark Twain, cat-hater?