Loving Literary Cats
There is something about cats and books which go together.
The peaceful enjoyment of reading has something of a symmetry with the many hours cats spend sleeping or quietly watching the world go by. Domestic cats’ frenetic hour or two of activity a day is also mirrored by sudden bursts of human activity (usually a sign that guests are due over and it’s time to tidy up!)
I had great fun writing about Mog, the heroine cat in The Promise of the Bells which was my Regency take of the classic legend Dick Whittington and his cat. Much of her behavior was modeled on the various cats I’ve owned over the years, especially the current pair who are litter mates (same litter siblings).
Here’s one of my favourite scenes with Mog:
Catherine shook her head. Her hair was one long dark plait over her shoulder. Richard closed his eyes pretending to relish another sip, but he knew that if he looked at her, the long-dormant feelings of love would return and his heart couldn’t risk it.
“I may not know much about the law, but I do know a barrister does not accept cases, and only acts on the instructions of a solicitor and father’s solicitor refuses to do so,” she said. “Silas Kincaid is a powerful man, and well-liked by those who don’t know him as well as we do. I cannot afford to pay for another solicitor.”
Mog meowed, bumping first against Catherine’s shin and then his own.
“I’ve applied for dispensation to do both,” said Richard. “It’s not an uncommon course of action, but I want to make sure I have a solid brief of evidence.”
The cat became ever more demanding as her calls for attention were ignored. Finally, she took matters into her own paws and jumped up onto the desk, nearly scattering the neatly ordered stacks of paper.
“Mog! Get down!”
The calico bounded from the desk and raced from the room. Catherine swept up the cup and saucer before it tipped off the desk. Richard lunged forward to protect the precious pile of evidence. Poor Vincent started awake with a cry.
Richard took half a step and could see where Mog paused in the hall, licking her chest as though the chaos was none of her making. He looked down with a sigh at the mess and picked up a paper at random, not knowing where to begin.
Then he saw it.
Exposed by Mog’s mad scramble, was a set of documents which had arrived by messenger this afternoon from Monty Street.
Richard might have overlooked them entirely, focused as he was on tracking down on the men who had signed their names as shareholders, that a couple of sheets pinned together of densely packed numbers might not have been examined closely, but a shorter note on top was written by Monty. It featured a name that stood out – Tyrswick.
Mog was not just named so because it was a common and generic shortform of Moggie; she was named for Judith Kerr’s gorgeous cat Mog who was a staple of children’s book libraries for years.
In fact, I have a copy of Mog’s First Christmas which we bring out every year and of course who could forget the delightful Sainsburys Christmas ad of 2015.
That had me thinking of other favourite literary cats and their film adaptations.
Aslan – the heroic Lion in the Narnia Chronicles.
The Cheshire cat – the grinning feline in Alice in Wonderland.
The Cat In The Hat – teaching children to read for generations.
Cat – She was lovely in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. An Oscar winning performance if there ever was one.
Who is your favourite? Let me know in comments below.