A cat or dog can be both a best friend and a muse to a writer. We work at home all day and spend countless hours alone in the tedium of our own company, so it helps to have a little loving ball of fur to cuddle into and, occasionally, crawl along the keyboard or pester you for food.
Robertson Davis said “Authors love cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors foe the same reasons” and many authors (and maybe cats) would agree. But what other animals have formed a connection with this strange breed of human and what pets did your favorite authors prefer?
One of the greatest writers in history was a huge animal lover and kept cats, dogs, a canary and even an eagle, apparently. One of his favorite pets was a raven, or rather a succession of ravens, all of which he trained and named Grip. The very first Grip was such a beloved feature in Dickens’ life that he had him stuffed and even wrote him into one of his best-selling novels.
The author of Slaughterhouse-Five was a big dog lover and owned a shaggy companion named Pumpkin. Dogs require that little bit more effort and unlike cats they need to be walked, are much more active and don’t sleep all day. But they can also be a good excuse to get out of the house and to stop being so lazy—a lesson all writers can learn.
Dog bites and scratches are also considerably less dangerous than cat bites and scratches and it’s easier to win their affections. Still, I’ll take a lazy, independent, self-cleaning feline any day.
The author of The Color Purple also wrote about chickens and was a huge fan of these birds. Her book was a chronicle of the day-to-day lives of her chickens, written with a great adoration and passion, one that we can all learn from.
Steinbeck, just like Vonnegut, was a huge dog lover. The Grapes of Wrath author had two dogs named Toby and Charley, the latter of which formed the basis for a travel journal. You know you have taken your pet passion to the next level when you start chronicling your experiences and professing your love for your pet to your fans.
Toby also tried to get in on the action by eating the first draft of Of Mice and Men. On an unrelated note, grapes are actually poisonous for dogs–maybe that’s where the wrath came from.
This was less of a pet and more of an “F-you” in animal form. Byron was a huge animal lover in general and had dogs. When he took one of these to school with him he was told that dogs were not allowed. Rather than accepting his fate and giving up, Byron decided to test those college rules by taking a bear with him instead.
“You said no dogs, but you never said anything about bears” is a quote you won’t see attributed to Byron often, but it has as much validity as all those other classic quotes.