3 Reasons Writers Are Like Cats


Mister's tears - he fought allergies as well

It’s been six weeks since our cat died. I’m surprised at how much I miss him. He lost his battle with feline leukemia after a three-year fight. I still find myself expecting to see him in his regular spots around the house, and when he’s not there, my day is a little emptier.

The first time I saw Mister it was two days after the storms from Hurricane Ike barreled through Oklahoma and a bedraggled wet cat stood sentry on my front porch. He snuggled in my lap like he’d known me for years and wiggled his way straight into my heart. He even won over Keeper Hubby, who has never cared for animals, though I forced stray upon stray on him. That’s one of myriad reasons why he’s a Keeper.

The mystery of this beautiful Balinese cat’s origins deepened when the vet discovered a microchip from an animal shelter in Alaska, with no info on the chip. How did he get to Oklahoma? Such a mysterious cat needed a cool name, so he became Mister Kit T. Smith, a.k.a. Mister. He was already ill, but we might have needed him as much as he needed us. He taught us a lot about unconditional love.

I think writers are a lot like cats, or maybe it’s just this writer. How, you ask?

1) Cats and writers are always plotting.

Ever seen a cat, eyes half-closed, relaxing on a windowsill? Think he’s just chilling without a care in the world? Nope, he’s plotting.  Plotting how to escape the house and feel the wind blowing through his fur, plotting what cute tricks he can do to snag some treats from his unsuspecting human, plotting his takeover of the known mouse world.

Writers are always plotting. Ask one of our loved ones. They see the blank stare, the bobbing head agreeing with the conversation we pay no attention to, the extra long showers we take so we can be alone with our characters and kingdoms.

2) Cats and writers constantly observe.

Cats can’t see well close-up, but can detect movement from yards away and their peripheral vision is excellent. They scan their territory for anything of interest.

Writers seem to have built-in radar for the details of life. From landscape to news reports, from people’s personality quirks to their unusual habits, we take our observations of the scents, feelings, sights and sounds of life and populate our stories with them.

3) Cats and writers (secretly or not) enjoy going against the flow.

Cats are known for their proud independence. They have no need to please and obey, but expect their humans to bend to their whims. Cats love being cats. I doubt they ever wish they were dogs.

Writers write against the odds they will ever be published or financially secure. They hang on to their stubborn determination that someone will find the words they write entertaining, provocative, intelligent, or humorous. They are dedicated to the craft despite the obstacles of day jobs, indifferent loved ones, ego-deflating critiques or self-doubt. Writers continue to be writers with a bit of rebellious tenacity mixed with a smidge of orneriness because they can’t see themselves being anything but writers.

Writers are a breed apart. Like cats.

I think I’ll keep writing.

11 thoughts on “3 Reasons Writers Are Like Cats

  1. Sorry for your loss. As someone who has loved and lost a pet I know how devastating it can be. There is nothing like seeing unconditional love in your pets eyes when they look at you. It sounds like you gave yours a great home and a great life and that is all anyone could ever ask for.

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  2. It’s amazing what pets can teach us, mostly about ourselves. Sometimes I think they are the wiser ones. Thanks for stopping by. I checked out your blog, you have a wonderful voice in your writing. I liked it so much I subscribed. 🙂 Keep on blogging!

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  3. Oh god, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Mister was stunning, and I can tell just from this post how much he must have enriched your house. (And I am sure that he knew it, too!)

    He had one of the most amazing stray stories I’ve ever heard, I have to say, and you all were really lucky to’ve found one another. 🙂 What human gets a cat that cool, and what stray is lucky enough to survive so much and then find such a loving home?

    And as for your observations on cats and writers, I am finding all of it so true that it almost hurts, ha! Especially number one, oh my.

    This post is beautiful, in short. Keep up the awesome work. ♥

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  4. Thank you for your kind thoughts. I seem to have a built-in magnet attracting those lost animals that need a human, but as I care for them, I end up finding out maybe I was the lost one. 🙂 Have several stray stories I will probably share here in the future. We are animal-less at the moment, and are going to take a rescue break, but I’m sure when we are ready the opportunity for more animal relationships will present themselves.
    I like your blog, and I have an affinity for librarians, both my in-laws are lifelong school system librarians. 🙂

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  5. Sorry to hear about your cat. That’s awful. But at least he had a family to love him! You could have just as easily ignored the wet cat on your porch like so many others would have.

    But seriously, writers are absolutely like cats. We’re all so evil and devious… and cuddly. >]

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  6. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s heartbreaking to lose a pet. I have a cat, Samantha, that lives with me in the house. Or, I guess I should say I live with her. LOL But I have a stray that is outside. She showed up a couple of years ago looking starved and pitiful. So, I fed her. took about a year for her to get close enough for me to pet. Now she comes when I call her to eat. Or she comes and looks at me through the window when I’m caught up in my writing to remind me to feed her.

    You’re right…I think we and the feline species have a lot in common. 🙂 Thanks for the great post!

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  7. What a great post. I’m sorry for the loss behind it — I have two cats myself and their my children — but what a great observation. If I could plot as well as Louis, I’d be on the best-seller list.

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  8. Thanks for stopping by, Scott. Whenever I look at a cat, I always think what wonderful stories they must have to tell. If all writers had a cat muse, we’d always be on the best-seller list. 😉

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  9. Pingback: Kitty Update: Pinkerton’s On The Case | kristin nador writes anywhere

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