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Have you ever tried to hug a cat? I'm talking really hug and squeeze one. It’s damn near impossible. These feline-friendly authors have at the very least attempted to give their kitty a nuzzle.

Ernest Hemingway is famous in the polydactyl cat world not for his writing but for his love of the six-toed cat. After a voyage, a ship captain presented Hemingway with his first polydactyl -- a white cat named Snowball. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, Florida, is home to over 40 six-toed felines, some of which are direct descendants of Snowball.

This author’s name doesn’t only live on in his novels. “Hemingway Cat” has grown to become the vernacular to describe polydactyls.

While it may seem safe to assume that Edgar Allan Poe had a black cat, it is now believed that he and his wife Virginia actually owned a tortoise-shelled kitty named Catarina. Poe wrote that Catarina liked to sit on his shoulder as he worked.

No matter Catarina’s breed, it is widely accepted that she is the inspiration behind Poe’s 1843 short story “The Black Cat.”

In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the feline-loving Truman Capote demonstrated his cat-wrangling prowess in Holly’s character.

She was still hugging the cat. “Poor slob,” she said, tickling his head, “poor slob without a name. It's a little inconvenient, his not having a name. But I haven't any right to give him one: he'll have to wait until he belongs to somebody.”

Not very much is known about this photo of Truman Capote with this cat, other than the fact that it was taken by photographer Steve Schapiro in Holcomb, KS in 1967. Capote was on location of the film “In Cold Blood” at the time.

It wasn’t unheard of for William S. Burroughs to have five cats living with him at any given time. When biographer Victor Bockris asked Burroughs if he learned anything from his cats, he said that they taught him how to feel.

"People, you know, think of me as being so cold -- some woman wrote that I was someone who could not admit any feeling at all. My God. I am so emotional that sometimes I can't stand the intensity. Oh my God. Then they ask me if you ever cry? I said Holy shit probably two days ago. I'm very subject to these violent fits of weeping, for very good reasons. Yes."

Burroughs sites The Cat Inside as a tamer version of the feelings evoked by his feline friends, admitting that “some of it is so extreme that [he] couldn’t write it.”


Danielle Mohlman's picture

Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a playwright, bookworm, and library connoisseur. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. (She has a lot to say.) And on Instagram. (She never foodstagrams.) When she grows up, she wants to be Leslie Knope.