On Writers and their Pets

by Nicole Marie Schreiber
Published on: July 16, 2013
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Beatrix Potter and her pet rabbit, “Benjamin Bouncer.”

Today, I am picking up a kitten from a neighborhood animal shelter with my two boys and bringing it home.  It is going to be an exciting day.

We chose the kitten last week and have visited him twice.  Our downstairs bathroom has turned into a kitten bedroom, awaiting the arrival of our new family member.   Already, we have a four-year-old lab mix and a thirteen-year-oldish calico cat.  (Our seventeen-year-old tabby cat died a couple of months ago, sadly.)  Our dog has visited our new kitten too and licked him.  We see this as a good sign.  We know our calico will not be pleased, so we haven’t bothered with an introduction yet.

All of this has gotten me to thinking about writers and their pets, and in my research I found inspiring articles and photos of famous writers and their menagerie of muses.  Many writers have now or have had the typical cats and dogs and even horses as their companions. Beatrix Potter had a farm full of animals that literally became the main and secondary characters in all her books! But there have also been more unusual pets in history owned by writers, including peacocks, lobsters, donkeys, scorpions, ewes, bears, bats, monkeys, cranes, llamas, zebras, and even an anteater!

I think I would go crazy if I had any of those different types of pets, since my dog usually keeps me on my toes. Yet, if this what helps feed a writer’s creativity, then I say huzzah to them all!  We writers are a strange folk, and we need what we need in order to work and write.  I have come to terms myself with my need for a bit of caffeine (tea or a latte) during long work sessions, and lemon drops usually help, too (though not at the same time as the coffee or tea).

Will this new kitten help feed my creativity someday, too?

According to John Farley from his article, “Fluff Piece: The Meandering Truth About Cats and Writers,” published on May 2, 2011, at the literature discussion website, www.full-stop.net,

“…there are two pragmatic, surface-level observations that help make sense of the writer and cat dynamic. First, cats are far more ergonomically suited to the writing process than dogs.   Small, quiet, and lap-sized, the cat is a well-designed pet for someone whose work entails long, solitary periods sitting in a chair.  Second, there is a considerable overlap of personality traits in our cat-author Venn Diagram, which produce a fruitful, almost symbiotic system of cohabitation.  As a generalization, (good) writers and cats possess a unique curiosity and observational nature, and lead a life largely within their own minds.  This makes for a complementary living arrangement that suits both parties’ needs.”

I’m looking forward to having a new feline companion in our home and hope he’ll take to my lap someday as I write, becoming a muse for me as many cats have for other writers, too.

Happy Writing (and Purring…)

 

-Nicole Marie Schreiber

 

 

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