Thursday, July 25, 2013

Is It Required for Writers to Own a Cat?

By Jackie King

It’s been said that every writer should own a cat. Since I’m a writer, I’ve been pondering these words all morning, wondering about its veracity. (For one thing, I already know that you never own a cat. The cat owns you.)
Pawley's Family including pet cousins
Pawley not included--she's very shy!

Now before cyberland-cat-lovers (and I know there are myriads) stop reading this post in anger, let me hasten to say that I absolutely adore cats. I always used to have one, and I’m happy to say that each one lived to be quite old. My last cat, a Siamese named Fletcher, was so dear to me that I almost bankrupt myself with daily trips to the vet. He required regular IVs to keep him hydrated and comfortable. I just couldn’t bear to let him go to Kitty Heaven. Finally, the lovely lady vet told me that it would be much kinder to help him make that final crossing. And I did, holding him in my lap with tears flowing.

Fletcher was so special that I couldn’t bear to replace him, and got my kitty-fixes from cats of friends and relatives until they grew weary of my showing up at their front doors.

However, I now live in the best of all cat-worlds. I have a GrandKitty named Pawley, who spends her vacations with me. This is so great! I get to keep her at regular intervals while her family travels. However, someone else is responsible for her health and for taking her to the evil vet, whom this cat hates and despises.

Most of the time Pawley lives with her sister Lauren, who is my granddaughter and her parents, Susan and Rick. She was a rescue cat who fortuitously landed in heaven-on-earth. She has been spoiled and pampered by her sister for five years now. She has toys, clothes and even a special kitty stroller that Lauren uses to take her for walks. Every Christmas Santa fills a decorated stocking with her name emblazoned across the top in glitter. And one thing that is always included is a can of Vienna sausage, her favorite people food.

But back to the saying, “Every writer should own a cat.”

This saying must have been coined before computers. Because even thought I adore my GrandKitty to distraction, I can’t convince her not to sit directly in front of my computer screen, and/or on top of the current manuscript I’m trying to edit.

As any cat fancier worth her or her salt knows, cats do not recognize the word, “No.” Or at least not when a person says the word. She, of course, can communicate this word quite well when she wishes, with the swish of her tail.

So for the last three weeks I’ve been holding her in my lap reaching around her furry body so I can stretch forward in order to reach the keys. A little distracting, but what can I do? She’s such a sweet and tiny little thing.

And while I’m mentioning her petite size, I should remark about my confusion; how can a 4-pound cat need over 50 pounds of equipment for just a three-week stay? Luckily her big sister is an athlete who is a competitive swimmer. Strong arms are needed to carry all of Pawley’s stuff to my third floor apartment.

Lauren Keithley, Pawley's big sister, at OK State Meet with coach
Having done all of this complaining, isn’t it surprising that I’m not eager to see the last of her furry little body? I’ll miss her company. So I guess it is true that every writer should own a cat.

Hugs to all book and animal lovers out there in cyberland.



Anonymous said...

I don't own a cat anymore. But I'm trying! Currently feeding a feral cat dubbed "Mr. Tom." He watches me from outside the office window & he's no trouble at all.

Jackie King said...

Janet, I think it's wonderful that you're feeding Mr. Tom. And having a cat that looks in through your office window while you write, sounds perfect.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I've always had dogs, probably because I was seriously clawed by a cat at a young age. But cats are beautiful animals that I admire at a distance.

Jackie King said...

Hi Jean, One of the maids here in my new digs has a true cat phobia. She also had a really bad experience with cats. For sure I understand phobias. Plus, dogs are nice folk, too.

Sally Carpenter said...

Not only do my cats stand in front of the monitor, but when I'm trying to concentrate they want me to feed them or open the door for them to go in/out or feed them again. But sometimes Boots curls up in the basket beside the computer and lets me work.

June Shaw said...

I didn't know. Now I'll need to get a cat. Maybe also a dog. Used to have both when my children still lived with me.

Jackie King said...

Sally, Boots sounds like an outstanding pet! Your other cats sound very like the ones I've owned. But one thing I love about cats: they're never boring.

Thanks for commenting.

Jackie King said...

June, If your kids were like mine, you had pets because they begged and begged and I always relented.

Maybe someone should have a lend-a-cat business for writers who just want a cat part time.