Cats + Books = Perfection

I hadn’t planned on blogging about this today, but when Lauren suggested it, I felt free to gush. As I think most everyone knows, I’m a bit of a crazy cat person. And I like books. Growing up, our house was equally full of cats and books. I distinctly remember reading one of my favorite books of all time, A Castle in the Attic, while my cat, Bingo, was curled up in my lap. Bingo also kept me company on the nights that I read A House With a Clock in Its Walls, when I’d become convinced there was a ticking inside our walls. He’d curl his body right around my head, his nose in my ear, purring away. His jet-engine purring, right in my ear, drowned out any ticking and put me fast to sleep.

Cassius Claw, who lived with us in Brooklyn, loved to help me edit.  By which I mean he loved to lie right on top of whatever I was reading. Or if I was on the computer, he would slowly walk across the keyboard, tail swishing in my face. I like to think he was just opinionated about the work–he was opinionated about everything else, so it wouldn’t be a surprise. I really miss having a cat in the house, but with a terribly allergic partner, we’re at a bit of an impasse. So I enjoy meeting cats out in the world.

Which brings me to the point of this blog entry, a really adorable story over at NYU Local about bookstore cats in NYC. There are cute pictures, sweet cats, and some happy (and sad) tales. It reminded me of one of my favorite LA bookstores, Skylight Books, which has a great cat, Franny. She might be one of the reasons I keep returning there, despite the story being across town. Well, that and a knowledgable staff and great curation.

Is anyone else out there both a crazy cat and book person? Or am I the only one with cat hair in my old books?

13 Responses to Cats + Books = Perfection

  1. Nope, you’re not the only one! When I was a kid, I had a few cats and they all seemed to want to sit IN my books. They could have ignored me all day until that moment I picked up a book.

  2. Gina Black says:

    Absolutely with you on books and cats. Also cats and writing. I used to refer to my old cat as my muse, partly because he had a very “we are not amused” expression, but also because he’d fight my laptop for lap supremacy–and often win. It was not easy reaching over him to type, plus sometimes he’d painfully (to me at least) express his displeasure over how I had my arms arranged. At any rate, when he left us at the lofty age of twenty-one, I had a hard time writingfor a while. Our other kitty doesn’t have the same level of arrogance and entitlement, nor is his health as strong. Still, as he gets into his elder years he is acting more and more like my lap belongs to him.

    What this all means is that I not only have cat hair in my books, but also in my keyboard. And now it’s sneaking into the crevices of my Kindle, too.

  3. Susan Adrian says:

    I used to be a crazy cat person. Growing up we had 14–mostly outside cats. There was always a furry, warm being around somewhere when I needed a cuddle.

    Unfortunately my husband is very allergic, so I had to give up cats for good 17 years ago. I admit that after that long I’m glad not to have to deal with the hair, the stinky food, or the even stinkier litter boxes. But like you, both Child and I love to play with and pet neighborhood cats. The fun and purring without the mess. :)

  4. Joelle says:

    I can’t imagine my life without books or cats! Although, I could do without Marley running across my laptop. Yesterday, I came in just as she walked across it, she saw me, panicked, and leaped through the air to her bed, which was five FEET away, and five feet off the ground. Pretty impressive!

    My cat Grinder, who has moved on, once walked across my keyboard, deleted my manuscript, retyped something new, and SAVED it! Luckily, I was on to him and had back-ups.

    You can come visit my cats any time! And I have books, too.

  5. Ciara says:

    Books and cats just go together. I have two cats and I like to say that Heidi loves to read. If I leave a book on my bed beside me I’ll wake up to find her using it as a pillow and she’s always trying to take books off the shelves. Harry is the writer of the pair though, he likes to walk across the keyboard when I’m writing to make contributions. I keep thinking I need one of those tiny desk vacuums to clean the cat hair out of my keyboard.

  6. Books are for curling up with tea and a blanket (or a beach towel) and cats, blankets, and curling up are the recipe for a perfect day. The only downside is that the only thing my cats have ever liked better than curling up *beside* my book on the blanket is curling up *on* my book beside the blanket. Not that I blame them. Don’t we all want to dive into the pages?

  7. Kaitlyne says:

    Everything you just said could have been describing my life, right down to Castle in the Attic, which was one of my favorites and I read that book so many times when I was a kid. My kitty was a lap cat and she used to “help” me type by resting her head on my hands when I was at the keyboard. Unfortunately, my boyfriend is allergic as well so I’m catless, but I agree. Perfection.

  8. Sarah Henson says:

    I’d be lost without my cats and my books. I have three cats and go ahead and brace yourself for the names: Mr. Oogabooga Steve, Chaka Khan Matlee, and Kohlsquatch Esquire (all siblings I got the day I graduated law school). Blame my husband, and yes, the vet thinks we’re crazy too! I’m Oogabooga’s favorite person and usually he’s content with curling in my lap while I read. Occasionally, however, he gets in a loving mood and constantly rams his head against my hand or my book until I pay attention to him. Crazy cat lady or not, those frustrating felines have been the inspiration behind more than one of my characters and I can’t imagine my life without either them or the books!

  9. I’ve always been more of a dog person, but I got a cat about seven months ago, and I’ve definitely warmed to them (and started finding cat hair in weird places, so I’m sure I’ll find it in books eventually). They’re expensive, but have you ever considered getting a Siberian? My best friend is crazy allergic to cats, but she adopted two of them and has had no trouble at all. Even better, she thinks it’s increased her tolerance to other cats. She barely seems bothered when she comes over to my place. 

    Off to read about bookstore cats! I work in a library and wish we could have our own Dewey.

  10. Emily says:

    Tootsie Bell, purring in my ear right now, is a rescue kitten. I found her when she was all of five weeks old – and not doing well.

    The little critter was terribly thin, weighing only 12 ounces and she was infested.

    After four weeks, she is gaining weight, frisks around bothering my two older cats and watches the cursor moving on my computer screen as if seeing a mouse. I still shampoo her with medicated soap every other day.

    So, as a book lover, a cat lover, and a writer, I am following her development to create a little kitten sized documentary [text, photos, audio, video] and post to my cat blog.

    Doesn’t everyone blog about cats? http://lonestarcats.wordpress.com/

    Hemingway said, “One cat just leads to another.”

    Too true fellow writers, too true.

  11. June says:

    Yep. I love cats and books. A truly delightful day is stretching out with a good story and a sweet cat by my side. Even though I grew up with dogs and not cats, you’d never know it. Great post. It’s purr..fect!

  12. NAP says:

    I love this post. There are few better combinations than cats and books. I’m also partial to books about cats…

    Mark Twain said something like, if it were somehow possible to cross a man and a cat, it would improve the man but deteriorate that cat. That couldn’t be more true.


  13. LauraMaylene says:

    I can’t believe how long it took me to find this post. Add me to the cat/book person list! In fact, I even have this little habit of blogging photos of my cats with journals that have published my work. I’ve learned a lot from this. Mainly, that you can lead a cat to a book but you can’t make him read it. Also, judging by her expressions when I encourage her to pose with books, my cat Saucy is potentially plotting to destroy all literature.

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