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Cats and Writers

Why is it cats and writers seem to go together as easily as love and marriage?

My husband and I visited Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West not long ago and got a kick out of the 50 plus cats, six toes and all, running any place they liked on the property. Both of us spent years of our lives teaching Hemingway's novels, yet we both were more interested in the cats than the rooms!

Hemingway had an obvious attachment to cats as anyone can see when visiting his home. Apparently it's not uncommon among writers today as their FaceBook pictures show. It's not a real stretch to imagine why that would be so. Writing is a lonely business and a cat sitting beside us keeps us company. Somehow that serene little body curled up comfortably keeps us from pulling out our hair when we get frustrated at our inability to turn a phrase or connect a plot point. They are stress relief in a fur ball.

Cats for me have always had an almost mystical quality. I use that attribute in Escape in Time. The Antique Rose Emporium is a real place out in the country outside Brenham, Texas. When the business day is done, the employees go home with no physical means to keep intruders out should any decide after hours to haul off any of the products sitting outside. It's always been our family joke that the many cats that roam the premises are there to watch over and protect the place. It would be invoking a lifetime of bad karma to mess with that place! The cat guard would see to it.

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