Friday, October 26, 2012

Cats and Writing

It's no secret that many famous writers were and are fond of cats. Sites such as this one ( are only scratching the surface. I assume writers (famous and otherwise) often like cats because, like them, we tend to be independent creatures. And their soothing, undemanding company can be very inspiring to the creative process.

I'm a night person by nature, and tend to do a lot of my writing in the wee hours, after most of the world (and most of its distractions) are safely tucked away for the night. There's a definite changing of the guard that occurs around the time my husband goes to bed each night (sometime between 11-12 usually). The dogs go to bed with him, and the cats, who have been sleeping for most of the day and evening, become active.

Leo, Oberon and Merlin usually announce their presence by using one of the litter boxes. I won't elaborate, but this generally requires me to don a gas mask and scoop the thing so I can go back to work. Okay, stinky cat bombs are not inspiring, unless I'm writing about miasmatic clouds or noisome dungeons.

After emptying their intestinal tracts, the boys will proceed to gallop in circles for a while. Oberon is a tiny little thing (8 pounds dripping wet), but Merlin and Leo are much more amply proportioned (14.5 and 16.5 pounds, respectively). When they get to playing, it sounds like a chorus line of hippos are performing in the hallway outside my study. It's not too hard to tune it out, unless something smashes to the floor  in the kitchen, or one of them decides to leap up into the window behind my desk. Leo, in particular, has been known to come crashing down onto my keyboard when he does this.

Leo awakening

Merlin's a bit too large for the bathroom sink

Oberon thinks it would be incredibly rude for me to actually print anything.
Sometime around 1 AM or so, they start demanding their late-night snack. This consists of a few kibbles, dutifully doled out sometime before my own bedtime. This (theoretically) prevents the cats from waking us too early in the morning.

Recently, I discovered that the cats have an even better scam going than we thought. Doug has informed me that he always gives the cats their pre-bedtime snack before he goes to bed in the evening. So their innocent, wide-eyed assertions of hunger a couple of hours later is ... somewhat exaggerated. This explains why Leo's girth is not decreasing, in spite of our cutting back on the size of their portions.

I have tried to cut out this second "bedtime snack," but Leo now expects it. If I haven't scooped the kibble into his bowl by 2 AM, he starts rearing up and patting me on the wrist. If this fails to get my attention, he'll bite me sharply on the ankle. I've taken to keeping a squirt bottle by the computer.

This continues until I run out of steam by around 3 AM and fall into an exhausted sleep (occasionally interrupted by one or another large, furry presence on my pillow). There's no question that my writing would be far less productive without "the boys."


  1. I love this post. I have cats and I love them, although they don't very much like each other. Never the less, I still keep them both and often have to go out of my current writing place(changes almost every night, love laptops) and bring out my squirt bottle and stop there little cat fights that always seem to end with a vase falling or my father screaming from his bedroom for them to knock it off. But you gotta love em'.

  2. I love my boys, distractions and all.