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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Monday, February 28, 2011

Literary cats I have loved


      No animal is as suitable for the dilettante as the cat.  Cats are intelligent, entertaining, and independent.  These characteristics also make them the favorite of many writers:
"I simply can't resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course." ~ Mark Twain
      Many writers have included cats in their writings and some have made them the main character.  Following is a list of seven literary cats that I love and admire.  There are many others.  
Look for more literary cats in the future on this site. For more about cats including videos, quotations, pictures, gifts and just about everything cat, go to Cat Lover's Guide

1.  The Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is one of the most famous literary cats.  He sits on a tree limb and taunts Alice with his wide smile and his wit.  Finally, his body fades away and only his smile gleams down at her from the tree. ". . . All right, said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone."
2.   Rum Tum Tugger, Old Deuteronomy, Macavity, Jennyanydots are some of the cats T.S. Eliot describes in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. These cats appear in poems and the poems were the inspiration for the long-running , Broadway musical "Cats."
3.  Mehitabel, currently in her ninth life, says she is the reincarnation of Cleopatra.  She is a cat who enjoys a good time.  Her motto is toujours gai. Her main confidante is Archy, a cockroach who in another life was a poet. He lives in a newspaper office where he types Mehitabel's stories and exploits.  Unfortunately, he can't reach the shift key and can't type capital letters or punctuation marks.  Archy is a philosopher, For example, " An optimist is a guy who has never had much experience."  Archy and Mehitabel tells their story.  It is a compilation of the newspaper columns of Don Marquis who wrote for several New York newspapers.  I have loved this book since high school.
4.  Dewey the Cat is the true story of Dewey, a yellow cat that appeared on the Book Return on a cold winter night in the Spencer Public Library in Spencer, Iowa.  Dewey became the library resident cat and a local celebrity. Vicki Myron wrote his biography and the book was a best seller in 2009.  It is possibly scheduled to become a movie. Isn't Dewey the perfect name for a library cat.
5.  Koko and Yum Yum are two Siamese cats belonging to detective James Qwilleran, the hero of mystery books by Lillian Jackson Braun.  The cats travel with Qwilleran, are fed delicacies, and frequently provide inspiration for crime solving.  
6.  Mrs. Murphy is another crime solving cat.  She appears in a series of novels by Rita Mae Brown and with another cat and a corgi often finds the clues to solve murders.  Rita Mae Brown's cat, Sneaky Pie Brown is credited as co-author of the books. 
7.  Hodge, a cat owned by Samuel Johnson, was immortalized by James Boswell in his extensive biography Life of Johnson.  A statue of Hodge was placed outside Johnson's London residence.

                                                    Bella, the sweetest cat!                                         



  1. And don't forget the stuffed tiger/cat Hobbes that belonged to Calvin!
    Did you know that the pope also has cats in the Vatican. He asked permission to bring the cats into the Vatican with him and was told "no." He brought them anyway!

  2. I love it that the Pope keeps cats! Actually, Catholic clerics keeping pets has a long history. Chaucer satirizes the Prioress, head of a convent, in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales for keeping little dogs, which she feeds delicacies better than the food many of the villagers eat.