Cats are Critics



I write with cats, two to be precise; their names are Mowis and Xena (full name Xena Warrior Princess). With that being said, I’m sure you imagine a woman with a typewriter, sipping tea, one cat perched on the end of a desk and another asleep in the her lap. Quaint, but anyone who has cats knows there are a few downfalls to writing with creatures of the four-legged variety.

For starters, cats don’t respect personal space.

I always imagined I would write while my cats slept beside me, on the couch, or in their designated sleeping areas. (The only space I’ve been able to designate is where they eat and where that food goes once it’s digested.) It doesn’t matter where I write, one sits on me or my laptop while the other sits on my mouse. Both positions are super effective against writing. Moving a cat once they are comfortable is more difficult than breaking out of a Full Nelson. While I write, I don’t find their proximity soothing or companionable. If anything, I feel like they are breathing down my neck as their marble-glass eyes seem to be reading everything I type.

Which brings me to my next point: cats are critics.

When it comes to writing, my cats are more like critics than companions. Sometimes I think the physical blocking of my mouse or laptop is the only way they can keep me from doing something that they feel is a waste of time. When they meow, I hear, “Give up, you talentless hoomanz!” I don’t escape cat criticism when I go to my sister’s house either because she has two cats as well. Her cat, Mr. Beefy, once shredded writing that I gave her to edit. If that isn’t a flame review, I don’t know what is.

imagesCAEWJK6LAnd if they can’t stop you they will correct you. Cats are editors.

Grammar, syntax, spelling, there’s nothing a cat won’t correct-butcher. My cats walk across the keys constantly, adding letters, deleting text, sometimes entire paragraphs of writing that wasn’t catworthy. Why else would they walk on a keyboard? Cats are known to dislike texture under their paws. It can only be to edit, and their edits are brutal. Where you simply needed an apostrophe, they insert a catastrophe.

This next one goes without saying: cats have claws.

While Mowis has only his back claws, Xena Warrior Princess has a full set. Sometimes when I’m writing she sticks her claws into my legs. They go through everything, even my thickest jeans; I think they could go through metal pants.

imagesCA1XWRXBSo why do I have cats? I think it’s because I fell victim to the Puss and Boots eyes, or that creative minds are just drawn to them. Some of histories greatest authors wrote with cat companions: Ernest Hemmingway, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, and Sylvia Plath to name a few. They all have wonderful quotes about the joys of writing with cats purring in their laps. Which makes you wonder, were they great authors because they were talented, or because they had a cat critic.

10 thoughts on “Cats are Critics

  1. Kylie Betzner

    Reblogged this on Writer's Cramp and commented:
    For those who don’t know this already, I have a twin sister who also blogs on this site, and maybe it’s because we’re twins, I find her blog articles to be genius. Or maybe she really is a genius. Anyway, her last blog, I think, speaks volumes about what it means to be a writer and a cat owner. Enjoy and don’t forget to check out her blog at

  2. LOL. I have three cats and all of them think it’s perfectly acceptable, perhaps desirable, to sit in front of my monitor, step on my keyboard, or pin my mouse down so it can’t be moved. Sometimes they delete things, sometimes they make additions. Olive even knows how to dim the monitor. She’s done it more than once.

    I used to pick them up and put them on the floor, but then they just jump right back up. Then I tried walking away and they would walk away too. But as soon as I sat back down, they were back. Now, I just give up and pet them until they leave.

    • They don’t like to compete for attention, that’s for sure. You have some very computer literate…or illiterate cats. I’m thinking about getting them doped up on catnip before I write. I’ve never tried that before.

      • That could work. Although, sometimes my cats get sleepy after nip and sometimes they get more annoying after cat nip.

        FYI, one of my cats is nuzzling the mouse right now so it keeps randomly clicking on things 🙂

  3. Awesome post! You definitely pegged it. I only have one cat, but she is relentless when I’m trying to write. She’s all over my laptop and mouse, making it nearly impossible to accomplish anything.

  4. Ha! Love it! I am not a spring chicken and my eyes are even older. To assist in my ability to see what I am typing, I have rigged my laptop on my dresser up to my large screen TV. I then type from my bed with a wireless keyboard and mouse. Picassa, my sweet vengeful feline companion, if feeling neglected, will hop up on the dresser. I panic and start yelling “No kitty! No!” I may be wrong, but I swear she looks back at me with an evil mischievous glint in her cat eyes as she proceeds to step onto the keyboard and then lay and roll across the keys (to maximize the amount of project destruction). She will not leave until I get up and physically remove her. Pretty sure she meowed “bitch” at me last time I did this.

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