How to Write With Cats
Challenges Faced by Writers
Being a writer certainly has its challenges. Finding inspiration, time management, research, proof-reading, re-writing until you are happy with the finished product, overcoming writer's block, formatting, promoting etc. etc. are just some of the things we have to deal with or conquer to either do what we love or earn an income (or both.)
But, for writers who also own pets, especially cats, there are extra difficulties to overcome.
The Feline Psyche
I am speaking from experience here as I currently co-habit with six cats. Notice I didn't say "own." You can't own a cat. They do their own thing. But, as other cat people will attest, they love attention, and to be the centre of attention at that.
Cat's don't think anything else you do should be as important as them. This includes writing, reading, computing, any type of craft, or anything else that takes the primary focus away from them.
Let's get this straight right at the start...CATS ARE BOSS! (at least they think so, and nothing you do will convince them otherwise)
Having so many cats in one household (did I mention I have six?) is challenging. Especially if you have to go away for more than a couple of days, and the feed bill...well, we won't go into the feed bill. The term "putting the cat out," also goes to a whole new level.
"How did you get six cats?" you may well ask. Well, we originally welcomed one out of a litter of four kittens rescued from a rubbish tip where they had been dumped. That cat has since passed on but not before giving birth to one kitten herself, which we kept. That cat, Fanny, then had her own kittens of which we kept three - Phoebe, Basil, and Humphrey.
Since then, we have acquired two more cats, Nike and Chairman Meow. Nike turned up on our doorstep as a tiny kitten soaking wet during a storm, and Chairman Meow was left behind when our neighbors moved out, and subsequently adopted us.
So, now at time of writing, we have Fanny, Phoebe, Basil, Humphrey, Nike and Chairman Meow.
OK, back to the subject of writing.
The Cat on the Keyboard
Most people have a mouse attached to their keyboard, well I am different, I have a cat.
It is rare that I don't have at least one cat on my desk as I write (unless I purposely lock them all outside.) The three most frequent culprits are Phoebe, Humphrey, and Chairman Meow, but they all take a turn at some stage.
At the moment, I am trying to restrict it to one cat inside the house at a time. This alleviates fights as to who will take pride of place in front of my computer and help me write. Don't get me wrong, I love cats. They are loving and fun. But, that doesn't mean they can't also get annoying.
Trying to keep them off the keyboard - but still having to constantly clean cat hair off it anyway - is something I don't enjoy. Yes, I could shut my office door, but it isn't that big and I suffer from claustrophobia. So, that's out.
Truth be told, I think they actually sometimes inspire me - like with this article.
If You Can't Beat Them ...
My point here is: if you have cats you just have to work with them, or around them. You put a cat off the desk a dozen times and it just keeps jumping right back up. Cats don't take hints well.
So, if you can't beat them ... write about them. Hence this article. It was easier to write this as a rough draft in a notebook while Phoebe guarded the computer against overuse, and then type it in later while she was otherwise occupied or asleep. I may have to reach over her to type but at least my hands are free and I don't have to keep petting her.
Chairman Meow is more difficult. He is a big, as in "huge," black cat. He has difficulty fitting on the desk in front of the computer, so he either lies half on me or the keyboard. I have to move the laptop to the back of the desk and reach at arms length if I want to type. We Christened him with that name because every time you speak to him or pet him he meows Loudly.
Chairman Meow, the Poem
I have a cat
Called Chairman Meow.
Make him obey?
I don't know how.
He's big and black
Just like a crow.
"I beg you Meow,
Please cease to grow!"
He sits atop my office desk
Any hour of day or night,
Sprawled across the keyboard,
Which makes it hard to write.
If I ask him nicely,
"I'd like you please to move,"
He just stares up at me and grins,
"Hey, but I'm your muse."
Well, I have shared my in-depth knowledge and experience of felines with you, and now you know all the answers when it comes to dealing with cats as a writer.
Actually, I've come to the obvious conclusion. There are NO RULES when writing with cats. They are the BOSS! You just need to adapt.
© 2018 John Hansen