The Curious Relationship Between Writers and Cats III

My exploration of writers and cats has shown me that many authors enjoy the company of a feline. In other posts, I’ve written about authors like Hemingway, Kerouac, and Williams, which may have led you to believe that only male writers find cats inspiring. But not to worry. Let me ease your mind.

Sylvia Plath, American author, for instance, was inspired by cats. Yes, this inspiration may (who knows?) or may not have led to writing, but it did lead to this drawing, which was one of 44 of her drawings on display in 2011 at London’s Mayor Gallery, by a young Plath (which is still pretty awesome):

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Joyce Carol Oates, another American author, credits the amount of writing she gets done to her cats:

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.

The cat thing must work, since Joyce’s novel, Them, earned a National Book Award, and three of her novels, Black Water, What I Lived For, and Blonde, were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Oates Posing with Cat
Joyce Carol Oates

Patricia Highsmith, author of psychological thrillers like Strangers on a Train (which was adapted into a film in 1951 by Alfred Hitchcock), also had a close relationship with cats. Urich Weber, curator of Highsmith’s archive, once said:

She was very happy among cats. They gave her a closeness that she could not bear in the long-term from people. She needed cats for her psychological balance.

Patricia Highsmith
Patricia Highsmith

– Melanie Figueroa

Melanie Figueroa

Melanie is the Editor-in-Chief at The Poetics Project. She has a masters in writing and book publishing from Portland State University and a passion for stories in all their forms. Her favorite book is The Bell Jar. You can follow Melanie on Twitter or Instagram @wellmelsbells.

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