16 Famous Writers And Their Cats

What do Charles Bukowski, Joyce Carol Oates, and Edgar Allan Poe have in common? They love cats. Writers and cats go together like salt and pepper, and here are 16 of our favorite pairs.

1. Ernest Hemingway

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

“One cat just leads to another.”
Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

“when I am feeling
low
all I have to do is
watch my cats
and my
courage
returns.

I study these
creatures.

they are my
teachers.”

Charles Bukowski, “My Cats”

“Having a bunch of cats around is good. If you’re feeling bad, you just look at the cats, you’ll feel better, because they know that everything is, just as it is. There’s nothing to get excited about. They just know. They’re saviors. The more cats you have, the longer you live. If you have a hundred cats, you’ll live ten times longer than if you have ten. Someday this will be discovered, and people will have a thousand cats and live forever. It’s truly ridiculous.”
Charles Bukowski

“I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get up. She’s so much more calming than my husband.”
Joyce Carol Oates

“‘No,’ said the cat. ‘Now, you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.’”
—Neil Gaiman, Coraline

“‘Name the different kinds of people,’ said Miss Lupescu. ‘Now.’ Bod thought for a moment. ‘The living,’ he said. ‘Er. The dead.’ He stopped. Then, ‘… Cats?’ he offered, uncertainly.”
—Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

“I learned a world from each
one whom I loved;”

—Allen Ginsberg, “I learned a world from each”

“That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.”
Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

“If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.”
—Doris Lessing, On Cats

“When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.”
—Mark Twain, Who Is Mark Twain?

“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

“And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.”

—Sylvia Plath, “Lady Lazarus”

“‘My young friend,’ I said, ‘if you want to be a psychological novelist and write about human beings, the best thing you can do is to keep a pair of cats.’”
Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays

11. William S. Burroughs

“The cat does not offer services. The cat offers itself.”
William S. Burroughs, The Cat Inside

“My relationship with cats has saved me from a deadly, pervasive ignorance.”
William S. Burroughs, The Cat Inside

12. Edgar Allan Poe

Poe at work under Catalina’s eye (litho), Sheldon, Charles Mills (1866-1928) / Private Collection / © Look and Learn / The Bridgeman Art Library

“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
Edgar Allan Poe

“How absurd these words are, such as beast and beast of prey. One should not speak of animals in that way.”
Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

14. T. S. Eliot

“When a Cat adopts you there is nothing to be done about it except to put up with it and wait until the wind changes.”
T. S. Eliot

“Willis, my tomcat, strides silently over the pages of that book, being important as he is, with his long golden twitching tail. Make them understand, he says to me, that animals are really that important right now. He says this, and then eats up all the food we had been warming for our baby. Some cats are far too pushy. The next thing he’ll want to do is write SF novels. I hope he does. None of them will sell.”
Philip K. Dick

16. Jorge Luis Borges

“You belong to another time. You are lord
of a place bounded like a dream.”

Jorge Luis Borges, “To a Cat”

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