Cats in 20th Century History (Mrs. Chippy)

As WWI was just beginning, an adventurous cat, Mrs. Chippy, accompanied Sir Ernest Shackleton‘s Antarctic voyage of 1914/15.  Mrs. Chippy, a grey tabby tomcat, acquired his name because he constantly followed around the ship’s carpenter and master shipwright Henry (Harry) McNeish.  “Chippy” is a British nickname for a carpenter, and even though the cat was […]

Cats in the 20th Century History (Sir Winston Churchill’s Cats)

Cats have even been long standing residents of 10 Downing Street brought to the address by Prime Ministers and other staff as mousers or as just pets.  However, perhaps the most famous cat lover and resident of 10 Downing Street was Sir Winston Churchill, who served as Britain’s prime minister from 1940-1945 and 1951-1955. Sir […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Haruki Murakami)

The Japanese author, Haruki Murakami known for liking and having cats has included them in many of his works.  In The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle the story revolves around Toru Okada’s missing cat that he loves more than any of the women with whom he has encounters.  The cat also serves as an omen for the […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Jack Kerouac)

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) author of On the Road (1957) wrote about the death of one of his favorite cats, Tyke, in his memoir Big Sur (1962). Tyke was Kerouac’s calico Persian whose death he strangely equated with his little brother Gerard’s.  Jack writes that it was Gerard “who’d taught me to love cats when I […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Doris Lessing)

The noble prize winning author Doris Lessing was influenced by her deep relationships with cats.  In An Old Woman and Her Cat (1972) the main character Hetty, poor, widowed and abandoned by her children finds her only comfort in her faithful tomcat.  Both outcasts of society, Hetty dies of exposure while trying to hide from […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-William S. Burroughs)

Norman Mailer said of William S. Burroughs that he was “The only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius.” Penguin books described him as “one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century.”  Even so, the cranky Burroughs had a special affinity for his cats and […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Ernest Hemingway)

The masculine hunter, fisherman, bullfight enthusiast and 1954 Noble prize winner for literature, Ernest Hemingway, doted on his cats.  After being given “Snowball” a white 6 toed cat by a ship’s captain, Hemingway let nature take its course until he had 23 felines in 1945.  A whole tribe of polydactyl cats have inhabited his Key […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-H.P. Lovecraft)

The American writer H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) used cats in many of his works, and they played an important part in his science fiction short stories and novels.  The Cats of Ulthar (1920) is a short story that focuses on the ill-fate of those who kill cats. A defenseless black kitten is stolen by a couple […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Rudyard Kipling)

Best known for authoring The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was the first English language writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.  In his children’s story The Cat that Walked by Himself, he describes a time when Man and Woman lived in caves and animals had not yet been tamed.  The superior, independent Cat […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-T.S. Eliot’s Cats)

T.S. Eliot’s Cats T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), one of the 20th centuries greatest poets, found the cat an inspiration for The Naming of Cats, a lengthy poem about the importance of cats’ names, which was the basis for the long running Broadway hit Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  The Naming of Cats The Naming of Cats is […]