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The Literary Cat

"Do you see that kitten chasing so prettily her own tail! If you could look into with eyes, you might see her surrounded with hundreds of figures performing complex dramas, with tragic and comic characters, many ups and downs of fate." - R.W. Emerson


Literary Litters!

The author Charles Dickens enjoyed the attentions of cats, with a charming creature called William who was renamed Williamina on the birth of a fine litter of kittens. Williamina appeared to want a good education for her kittens, as she insisted on dragging them from their designated home in the kitchen with the servants and depositing them in the master's study at his feet.

One of these kittens was deaf and as nobody wanted it, he was kept and simply called the Master's Cat. In the evening, the cat, bored with watching Dickens sitting reading, learnt to distract the master's attention by extinguishing the candle with a swipe of its paw, making further work impossible and a few minutes of chin chucking essential!


Cat 'n' Mouse!

She is called Mouser because she is fatal to mice. The vulgar called her CATU because she catches things (a captura), while others say that it is because she lies in wait (capsta) i.e. because she 'watches'. So acutely does she glare that her eye penetrates the shades of darkness with a gleam of light. Hence from the Greek comes CATUS, i.e. 'acute'. - A Twelfth Century Book of Beasts translated by T.H. White


The Diary Of A Cat:

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening in the home of a young child, whom I followed because she bore a paper of codfish which attracted me. The house where the child lives was exceedingly warm and pleasant, and I reclined in front of the glowing fire and made myself agreeable and attractive, considering meanwhile the advantages of such a home.

It has often occurred to me that sometime in my life I must have been owned. I can recall the feeling of caresses and the scent of soft garments worn by some gentle person who felt solicitude and affection for me. I think I can remember, though but dimly, the look of delicate white hands that cuddled me, and the warmth and sweetness of a breast to which I was pressed. How I ever became dissevered from all those comfortable conditions I do not know, but it was long ago, and has no part in my present life, for now I become restless in any close environment, and invariably after a short stay by some hearth of friendliness I feel the spell of the streets - a spell that draws me away from mere ease and plenty to thrill and mystery of a roving life. And it was so yesterday. Half slumbering on the little girl's lap after a delicious refreshment of custard and cold liver, I heard suddenly, or thought I heard, a voice that called me: and an old desire for vast lonely spaces, for the Deserts of the Roofs, for silent cobbled streets, seized me. I thought of the vague gutters stretching away into solitude and night, and the old hungry haunting, the strong longing to go out and look for something, possessed me. I got down from the little girl's lap and went out of the door that led to the street.

Edwina Stanton Babcock


Divine Inspiration - Memoirs of Boudelaire

They come to sit on the table by the writer, keeping his thoughts company, and gazing at him with intelligent tenderness and magical penetration. It seems as though cats divine the thought that is passing from the brain to the pen, and that as they stretch out a paw, they are trying to seize it on its way.

Theophile Gautier (1811-1872)


Paws & Paper

He loved books and when he found one open on the table he would lie down on it, turn over the edges of the leaves with his paw, and after a while, fall asleep, for all the world as if he had been reading a fashionable novel.

Theophile Gautier (1811-1872)


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