“Time spent with cats is never wasted” – Sigmund Freud
If Freud’s quote holds true, then no moment in my life has ever been squandered. I have been captivated by cats for as far back as I can remember. I grew up on a farm which granted me the luxury of owning many cats throughout my childhood. As an only child they were the best companions; they endured countless cuddles, always answered to all the silly names I allocated them, and listened to me lovingly without so much as an eye roll or a tail flick. Looking back, my lifetime is marked by the many cats I’ve owned. Their names often encapsulated my life at the time: Stormy, Sunshine, Ginger, Siam, Zelda, Tweak, Pong, Zoe, Poet’s Muse, Alvy, Waffles…the list goes on. Though some have sadly passed with age, many familiar feline faces greet me whenever I visit home in Maryland.
I was inspired to write this blog yesterday after I read a delightful article on Brain Pickings titled “Literary Pets: The Cats, Dogs, and Birds Famous Authors Loved.” After reading, my fondness for Mark Twain, Gertrude Stein, E.B. White and many more amplified that much more.
Here are some highlights:
- Mark Twain once took out an ad in the New York American offering a $5 reward for his black cat Bambino.
- Ernest Hemingway’s wife Mary referred to cats as “purr factories” and “love sponges”. (How cute is that?)
- Charles Dickens owned a pet raven named Grip.
- William S. Burroughs’ soft spot was for his cats. He once said, “Only thing can resolve conflict is love, like I felt for Fletch and Ruski, Spooner, and Calico. Pure love.”
When I moved to Connecticut, I brought my Bengal cat Dinah with me. I quickly discovered when she was a kitten just how unique Bengal cats are, with her chatty, water-loving, large personality. Her cleverness amazes me, especially when she plays fetch for hours at a time, always bringing the toy (or whatever she perceives as a toy at the current moment) back to me. She has learned to accommodate her photography-loving owner by posing for various pictures without a hint of indifference. She has made my move from Maryland so much easier just by being a familiar feline face.