Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Life to the Everlasting Cat

I'm wondering at the preponderance of cats in fiction, especially mystery fiction. What is it about cats that sells books? I am a cat lover, and if my husband didn't object I'd probably have three or four strolling around. As it is, I have one, the cat above, who bears the unfortunate name of Pibby Tails because a very insistent two year old named him. My husband suggests that one of the reasons our cat fights so much is that the other Toms in the neighborhood are outside mocking him, calling "Pibby Tails! Pibby Tails!" with great glee.

In any case, I'm curious what makes cats so naturally loved by those who love literature. Is it because cats have always loyally sat upon us (and our books) while we read? Is it because of their natural grace and beauty, or what T.S. Eliot called their "unashamed felinity?" (And I'm quoting Eliot in my title, too.)

So far cats have not worked their way into my books, but I'm guessing it's just a matter of time. Right now, perhaps because my children are still at home and very loud, I tend to put children into my fiction. But when they leave home, perhaps my eye will stray to my cat, and suddenly the ideas for feline-inspired fiction will flow.

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