• Jolene Roehlkepartain

My Writing Buddy

She curls up next to my computer and slips into a slumber. My cat, Kala, makes sure I’m writing while gracing me with her presence.

I’m not the only writer who loves cats (and writes with a cat):

T.S. Eliot. The poet wrote a collection of 15 poems about cats, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The poems captured the personalities of cats, such as Rum Tum Tugger, Old Deuteronomy, and Mr. Mistoffelees. The poems inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber to create the Broadway musical, Cats.

Ernest Hemingway. The novelist loved cats, and he received a six-toed (polydactyl) kitten named Snow White. The cat ran wild, and today as many as 50 six-toed descendants continue to roam around Hemingways’s Key West estate, delighting those who visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.

Samuel Johnson. The essayist, poet, and biographer adored his cat, Hodge, so much that he’d buy him oysters. After Hodge died, he became immortalized (along with his oysters) as a statue that welcomes visitors to Johnson’s house in London.

The Bronte Sisters. All the Bronte sisters loved writing and cats. Cats appears in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. Emily wrote an essay, “Le Chat” (“The Cat”), where she argues the “self-reliance of cats is better than the hypocrisy of humanity.”

While I write, Kala sometimes awakes and zooms around my writing space, sending papers flying. At first, I would get upset by the interruption (and the mess). Over time, I realized that these escapades tended to happen when my writing was slipping and needed a different a look, a different burst of energy, a different direction.

For me, a true writing buddy is a cat.

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