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Cats

  • Nothing makes a house cozier than cats.

  • A cat is, by and large, sophisticated and complex, and capable of creating three-act plays around any single piece of action.

  • Cat lovers know that every cat is remarkable.

  • Most cats feel that bird-catching is their duty; the instinct goes back to prehistoric times. Amber keeps in practice by chasing moths.

  • ... Harry is walking with a cane these days. ... What necessitated the cane was the fact of Young Cat scampering among Harry's ankles at a moment when Harry happened to be walking among them himself.

  • Who can tell what just criticisms Murr the Cat may be passing on us beings of wider speculation?

  • Very few people have no opinions about cats.

  • The new little black cat never opens her mouth to say anything, but speaks in her throat, to herself, trotting up and down stairs and in and out of closets chirping and murmuring and exclaiming in a kind of watered-silk pattern of sound that can make the possessor of mere English feel as mute and flightless as a turnip.

  • She's a cat with a strong sense of order and the rightness of things, and would have made an excellent secretary.

  • However long you have a cat and however plainly he lays his life open before you, there is always something hidden, some name he goes by in a place you never heard of.

  • I just don't get cats. To me, they're a waste of fur.

  • ... the cat ... began a low and melancholy calling to the unseen things of the night. There is something strange about cats.

  • [She] swore it was a male [but] cats, like angels, can change their sex at will. When they live with me, they choose a gayer, female phase of existence. So it turned out with this kitten. It tired of being male and in a few months produced a litter of five.

  • The Cat was a creature of absolute convictions, and his faith in his deductions never varied.

  • When cats sat staring into the fire they were thinking out problems.

  • The cat crossed the street daintily, pointing his feet like a ballet dancer, lifting them high as if his feet were too good for the pavement.

  • She is a gray cat, but around her eyes the fur is black, so that she looks a little like those fifteen-year-olds who believe that being Cleopatra is mostly a matter of mascara.

  • Round, gray, plump-jowled like a grandmother, she washed, ate, and saw to it that she and her offspring went outside for calls of nature as regularly as any privy-bound housewife. With a recipe written in cat language, she could have baked cookies or fried a chicken.

  • ... yesterday ... was a very queer and alarming day: classically still and brooding, and both our cats with staring coats, and slinking about at my heels in the most woe-begone way. They have a wonderful talent for being Cassandras, only unfortunately they cannot prophesy with any explicit detail, so we never know whether to expect floods, lightning, or visitors.

  • I wish you could see the two cats, drowsing side by side in a Victorian nursing chair, their paws, their ears, their tails complementally adjusted, their blue eyes blinking open on a single thought of when I shall remember it's their suppertime. They might have been composed by Bach for two flutes.

  • One reason why my memory decays is that I have three cats, all so loving and insistent that they play cat's-cradle with every train of thought. They drove me distracted while I was having influenza, gazing at me with large eyes and saying: O Sylvia, you are so ill, you'll soon be dead. And who will feed us then? Feed us now!

  • ... Agnes took to heart a kitten, who was very fond of her. This kitten, the first night she slept in her room, on wakening in the morning looked up from the hearth at Agnes, who was lying awake, but with her eyes half shut, and marked all puss's motions; after looking some instants, puss jumped up on the bed, crept softly forward and put her paw, with its glove on, upon one of Miss Bailie's eyelids and pushed it gently up; Miss Baillie looked at her fixedly, and puss, as if satisfied that her eyes were there and safe, went back to her station on the hearth and never troubled herself more about the matter.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • 1822, in Augustus J.C. Hare, ed., The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, vol. 2 ()
  • We all know how cats feel about traveling in a car. You never see a cat with his head out the window, fur flying in the breeze. A cat is never anyone's designated driver.

  • So she says I can't have catnip any more because it's like a drug. So, like, what's she worried about: I'm not going to do well in school or what?

  • A man who owns a dog is, in every sense of the word, its master; the term expresses accurately their mutual relations. But it is ridiculous when applied to the limited possession of a cat.

  • This is the sphinx of the hearthstone, the little god of domesticity, whose presence turns a house into a home.

  • ... there is nothing so lowering to one's self-esteem as the affectionate contempt of a beloved cat.

  • The dog is guided by kindly instinct to the man or woman whose heart is open to his advances. The cat often leaves the friend who courts her, to honor, or to harass, the unfortunate mortal who shudders at her unwelcome caresses.

  • Cats, even when robust, have scant liking for the boisterous society of children, and are apt to exert their utmost ingenuity to escape it. Nor are they without adult sympathy in their prejudice.

  • The vanity of man revolts from the serene indifference of the cat.

  • I like to see cats in movement. A galloping cat is a fine sight. See it cross the road in a streak, cursed by the drivers of motor cars and buses, dodging the butcher's bicycle, coming safe to the kerb and bellying under its home gate.

  • See the cat at love, rolling with its sweetheart, up and over, with shriek and moan. But if a person comes by, they break away, sit separate upon a fence washing their faces — and might never have met at all.

  • Oh I am a cat that likes to / Gallop about doing good ...

    • Stevie Smith,
    • "The Galloping Cat," Scorpion and Other Poems ()
  • Without doubt cats are intellectuals who have been, by some mysterious decree of Providence, deprived of the comfort of the word.

    • Rebecca West,
    • "Pounce," The Essential Rebecca West: Uncollected Prose ()
  • Dogs want only love but cats demand worship.

  • People who don't like cats always seem to think there is some peculiar virtue in not liking them.

  • The life of the city cat is short but so sophisticated.

  • We don't have a dog. / We have a hostile cat. / I think Sam's / intelligent; he / resents being a pet.

  • A cat devotes most of his life to gratifying his basic needs and thereby making himself happy. You may have noticed that a cat's first commitment is to himself.

  • Lord, / I am the cat. / It is not, exactly, that I have something to ask of You! / No — / I ask nothing of anyone — / but, / ... /Wouldn't You like someday / to put a curse on the whole race of dogs? / If so I should say, Amen.

  • The way to get on with a cat is to treat it as an equal — or even better, as the superior it knows itself to be.

  • The approval of a cat cannot but flatter the recipient.

  • Nothing looks as self-satisfied as a contented cat.

  • Cats always made up to the people who hated them the most. Depending on how you chose to look at it, it was a touching manifestation of trust, or a malicious pleasure in human discomfort.

  • Oh, the cats in this town have their secrets.

  • A black cat dropped soundlessly from a high wall, like a spoonful of dark treacle, and melted under a gate.

  • ... it is not a good omen to meet a lot of cats when one sets out on a journey, so the Lieutenant spat three times for each cat, as his mother had taught him to do ...

  • There is no animal lazier than a cat.

  • The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.

  • As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat.

  • We've given them our loving care — no small gift — but their gift to us has been immeasurable.

  • Dick Swiveller, our big striped pussy-cat (Thomas J. named him), lay stretching out in luxurious ease on his cushion, a-watchin' with dignified indulgence the gambollin' of our little pup dog. He is young yet, and Dick looked lenient on the innocent caperin's of youth. Dick is very wise.

  • ... my cat does not talk as respectfully to me as I do to her.

  • The tomcat is behaving consistently. On arrival, he struck his forehead and cried 'But of course! This is where I climb up a mulberry tree and sing at the top of my voice and then do battle with a white cat!'

    • Colette,
    • 1927, in Robert Phelps, trans., Letters From Colette ()
  • One reason cats are happier than people / is that they have no newspapers ...

  • ... I can never pass a cat in the street without greeting it and exchanging a few words, and the cat invariably replies.

  • Cats of great personality are always found in association with sensitive, cat-conscious people; it is a two-way process of immense mutual benefit.

  • I do not believe that it is possible to teach a cat to obey; that is contrary to his nature.

  • ... it is perfectly possible to converse with any cat, from prize-winning Siamese to alley tabby. Humans who are slow learners may start with a highly articulate Siamese and progress in time to the more sensitive and difficult business of talking to scared strays. Other people, naturally gifted, can talk to any cat right away.

  • I can't abide cats myself, but of course we have to have one in the kitchen to deal with the mice. I insisted on getting a black one, because anything else shows the dirt so in London.

  • That cat is in love with me, but to say that it's 'mutual' doesn't begin to describe anything. I'm totally irrational about her. She and I are a scandal.

  • Some women insist that pets, and even fine furniture, can fill the same function as men in one's life. Many women swear by cats. Actually, cats are much more difficult than men. Men do not give you small rodents as kiss-and-make-up gifts, men do not try to eat everything smaller than they are, and men do not require tiny little doors just to be let out of the house.

  • It's true that living alone for years makes you eccentric. I talk to my cat. Why lie? Over the years I've developed the habit of actually answering myself, in the cat's voice (or what I imagine her voice to be).

  • You may not think there is a kitty heaven, but there is. I know for a fact that only dead good little kitties go there. Dead bad little kitties go elsewhere. Human beings are evolved from the souls of good little kitties.

    • Suzanne Weaver,
    • "Catagenesis," in Judy Fireman, ed., Cat Catalog ()
  • ... I have just been given a very engaging Persian kitten, named after St. Philip Neri (who was very sound on cats) and his opinion is that I have been given to him.

    • Evelyn Underhill,
    • 1932, in Charles Williams, ed., The Letters of Evelyn Underhill ()
  • I alone am free — I am the cat.

    • Leila Usher,
    • "I Am the Cat," in Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American People ()
  • ... nothing is so affectionate as a cat with cold feet ...

  • Cats and rebels go together like bread and butter or nickels and turnstiles.

  • Two cats, like two heads, are better than one. Unlike two heads, two cats are easy to get.

  • Cat talk is a complicated, self-centered language. If you speak to your cat first, it probably won't speak back. Cats initiate conversations.

  • Cats ... are completely self-sufficient and can leave you at any time and go off and make a living. And yet cats can have warm and loving relationships with humans.

  • All I need to know I learned from my cat.

  • People project all sorts of emotions onto their cats, and cats like it that way.

  • Nobody keeps a cat. They condescend to live with you is all.

  • ... as helpless as a cat in paper shoes.

  • If you call a cat and it comes running, what you have is a dog.

  • Cats are dogs with a college education.

  • ... a trained cat is a contradiction in terms.

  • Mother Nature was definitely on a roll when she created the cat.

  • When the instructions on the flimsy cat toilet-training device say, 'The cat must weigh no more than 12 pounds,' weigh the cat.

    • Adair Lara,
    • "Some Real People On the Real World," San Francisco Chronicle ()
  • ... cats think about three things: food, sex, and nothing.

  • I've always lived with cats, and I thought they were like people in fur suits.

  • Belying the stereotype of the cat as a finicky, careful eater, ours was a Hoover in a cat suit with no culinary standards.

  • [On her father, Charles Dickens:] 'The master' was reading at a small table, on which a lighted candle was placed. Suddenly the candle went out. My father, who was much interested in his book, relighted the candle, stroked the cat, who was looking at him pathetically he noticed, and continued his reading. A few minutes later, as the light became dim, he looked up just in time to see puss deliberately put out the candle with his paw, and then look appealingly toward him. This second and unmistakable hint was not disregarded, and puss was given the petting he craved.

  • The cat is, above all things, a dramatist.

  • Knowing cats, a lifetime of cats, what is left is a sediment of sorrow quite different from that due to humans: compounded of pain for their helplessness, of guilt on behalf of us all.

  • Oh cat; I'd say, or pray: Be-ooootiful cat! Delicious cat! Exquisite cat! Satiny cat! Cat like a soft owl, cat with paws like moths, jeweled cat, miraculous cat! Cat, cat, cat, cat.

  • If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.

  • That cat bit people like he was being paid for it in kippers.

  • There are three basic personality factors in cats: The kind who run up when you say hello and rub against you in cheap romance; the kind who run away certain that you mean to ravish them; and the kind who just look back and don't move a muscle. I love all three kinds.

  • Nothing on earth can look as smugly pleased with itself as a cat.

  • When you learned the language, his tail was a fairly accurate index to the momentary contents of his mind.

  • But Foss was staring, in that disconcerting way that cats have, at some fascinating but invisible object in the far corner of the room ...

  • Cats here, cats there. / Cats and kittens everywhere. / Hundreds of cats, / Thousands of cats, / Millions and billions and trillions of cats.

  • Sometimes the veil between human and animal intelligence wears very thin — then one experiences the supreme thrill of keeping a cat, or perhaps allowing oneself to be owned by a cat.

  • If God did not intend the cat to live happily with humankind, why is there a meow in the middle of the word 'hoMEOWner'?

  • Catch a dog in your favorite chair, and he slinks away abashed. The cat will pretend incomprehension; surely you must know it's her chair?

  • If you are reading a large newspaper, all spread out on the table, your cat will come and sit on the very paragraph you are reading, the talented cat draping her tail with miraculous precision over the very line you're not finished with.

  • A cat is a purring parcel of paradox, a cunning collection of contradictions. A cat is lazy and busy, dainty and savage, affectionate and aloof, greedy and finicky, sound asleep in one instant, and awake and stalking in the next. A cat is a limp puddle of softness, surrounding a steel-hard and ever-alert set of muscles. ... A cat has the face of a pansy flower, and is just as velvety. A cat holds infinity in her eyes, and your heart in her front paws.

  • No creature on earth can be so gracefully insulting as a cat.

  • It always gives me a shiver when I see a cat seeing what I can't see.

  • Cats sleep / Anywhere, / Any table, / Any chair, / Top of piano, / Window-ledge, / In the middle, / On the edge ...

  • People are always commenting that you never know what cats are thinking. The observation tells us a little about cats and a lot more about people. It implies that people ought to know what other beings are thinking, and that cats violate this norm in some strange way. Why?

    • Anne Mendelson,
    • "Cats Are Not People," in Judy Fireman, ed., Cat Catalog ()
  • Cats sleep fat and walk thin.

  • The playful kitten ... is infinitely more amusing than half the people one is obliged to live with in the world.

  • And God asked the feline spirit / Are you ready to come home? / Oh, yes, quite so, replied the precious soul / And, as a cat, you know I am most able / To decide anything for myself. / Are you coming then? asked God / Soon, replied the whiskered angel / But I must come slowly / For my human friends are troubled / For you see, they need me, quite certainly. / But don't they understand? asked God / That you'll never leave them? / That your souls are intertwined? For all eternity? / That nothing is created or destroyed? / It just is ... forever and ever and ever.

  • What did you see, O pussy-cat-mew, / Pet of the Half-Moon's turbulent crew? / Who taught them mew-tiny? Wasn't it you? / ... / Henry Hudson, the master sage, / Write large his name on history's page, / But you, you too, were a purr-sonage.

  • Cats regard people as warm-blooded furniture.

  • I am suffering to a degree that I wouldn't have thought possible from grief over my poor old marmalade cat, Ginger Pounce. ... He thought I was neurotic and apt to be intrusive, and was always very careful not to make a fuss of me, but in a cagey way let me know that he knew I was doing pretty well for him and there were no hard feelings. He had a very reserved, reluctant way of licking my hand in a way that suggested he was saying to himself, 'I hope to God the woman won't start to think I want to marry her.'

    • Rebecca West,
    • 1952, in Bonnie Kime Scott, ed., Selected Letters of Rebecca West ()
  • For some of us, cats are graceful creatures, loyal companions, and the most intuitive friends in our lives.

  • A cat is like a puzzle with no solution.

    • Anne Campbell,
    • in Arline Bleecker, The Secret Life of Cats ()
  • Cats, for the most part, seem indifferent to human activities that do not revolve around their needs and wants. They all but roll their eyes at the owners who expect their cats to do things for them.

  • ... American cats have become consumers just like the rest of us. ... Shop around before settling on the best boutique for your cat and budget.

    • Irma Reichert,
    • "Puss in Boutiques," in Judy Fireman, ed., Cat Catalog ()
  • ... I have never seen any evidence to support the theory that cats try to please humans. Their demeanor would suggest that they are judging rather than being judged. Perhaps that is why some people don't care for cats.

  • The next time a guest remarks, 'The thing I don't like about cats is that they always ..,' I am not going to push the cat out of the door and apologize to the friend. I am going to push the friend outside and apologize to the cat.

  • A catless writer is almost inconceivable ... It's a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.

  • You get the cat you expect to get ...

    • Debra Pirotin,
    • in Debra Pirotin and Sherry Suib Cohen, No Naughty Cats ()
  • Is it enough to know that one creature likes what you do and the way you do it and that that creature is your cat?

    • Naomi Thornton,
    • in Sara Ruddick and Pamela Daniels, eds., Working It Out ()
  • Have you ever noticed the softness of a kitten's feet? — they are like raspberries to hold in one's hand.

  • Just let him come back, / let him show up. / Then he'll find out / you don't do that to a cat. / Going toward him / faking reluctance, / slowly, / on very offended paws. / And no jumping, no purring at first.

    • Wisława Szymborska,
    • "Cat in an Empty Apartment," in Joanna Trzeciak, trans., Selected Poems ()
  • The more you talk to cats ... the smarter they become. An occasional 'nice kitty' will have no measurable effect; intelligent conversation is required.

  • Cats have a contempt of speech. Why should they talk when they can communicate without words?

  • You can't look at a sleeping cat and be tense.

  • To understand a cat, you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality.

  • Some people say that cats are sneaky, evil, and cruel. True, and they have many other fine qualities as well.

    • Missy Dizick,
    • in Missy Dizick and Mary Bly, Dogs Are Better Than Cats ()
  • Cats are the slipperiest of domestic animals. Thousands of years of genetic coding has taught them to melt into azaleas, lie motionless behind garden gnomes, glide along fence tops, and slink under benches.

  • A good recipe for a human reducing breakfast is a lot of good things to eat, and three spaniels and two cats to eat with.

  • ... I cannot imagine a cat in an Obedience ring, running around in the hot sun and doing things on command. For it would not make sense. Whereas a dog is tolerant of your not making sense and only wants to fix things so you are happy.

  • ... I love both the way a dog looks up to me and a cat condescends to me.

  • By and large, people who enjoy teaching animals to roll over will find themselves happier with a dog.

  • Naked ourselves, we long for fur. Fur is superior to human skin in every cosmetic and practical respect; it insulates the flesh, resists sunburn, and doesn't show wrinkles, bruises, acne, sweat, or cellulite. It looks much the same in old age as in youth. It feels good, too. We like to touch it, but in recent years a cloud has fallen over the ancient custom of appropriating animal furs and swaggering around pretending they're ours. If we're going to run our hands over fur, it's now correct only if the creature's still in it. (Actually, it feels better that way, the creature adding a warmth and solidity under the softness.)

  • Most of us are animal lovers. We insist that we love all animals equally — the hamster, the weasel, and the zebra — but if pressed, we will admit to being either a cat person or a dog person.

  • ... whereas the dog strives to lessen the distance between himself and man, seeks ever to be intelligent and intelligible, and translates into looks and actions the words he cannot speak, the cat dwells within the circle of her own secret thoughts.

  • The dog is guided by kindly instinct to the man or woman whose heart is open to his advances. The cat often leaves the friend who courts her, to honor, or to harass, the unfortunate mortal who shudders at her unwelcome caresses.

  • Dogs want only love but cats demand worship.

  • ... dogs ... can be made to feel guilty about anything, including the sins of their owners. Cats refuse to take the blame for anything — including their own sins.

  • You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets, but I didn't care.

  • It's funny how dogs and cats know the inside of folks better than other folks do, isn't it?

  • ... dogs love us unconditionally and cats are big on redemption. Our sins and shortcomings don't bother them as long as we delight in their presence.

  • Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.

  • Dogs teach you how to love. Cats teach you how to live.

  • No means everything to a dog, nothing to a cat.

  • A dog ... is prose, a cat is a poem.

  • In my day, we didn't have dogs or cats. All I had was Silver Beauty, my beloved paper clip.

    • Jennifer Hart,
    • in Louis Patler, Don't Compete ... Tilt the Field ()
  • Dogs will come when called. Cats will take a message and get back to you.

    • Missy Dizick,
    • in Missy Dizick and Mary Bly, Dogs Are Better Than Cats ()
  • Dogs will roll over and play dead. This is a cat's natural position.

    • Missy Dizick,
    • in Missy Dizick and Mary Bly, Dogs Are Better Than Cats ()
  • Your dog loves you. Your cat thinks you are funny.

    • Missy Dizick,
    • in Missy Dizick and Mary Bly, Dogs Are Better Than Cats ()
  • Cats always land on their feet. Dogs don't.

    • Mary Bly,
    • in Missy Dizick and Mary Bly, Dogs Are Better Than Cats ()
  • Dogs do tricks. Cats play tricks.

    • Mary Bly,
    • in Missy Dizick and Mary Bly, Dogs Are Better Than Cats ()
  • Dogs are high on life. Cats need catnip.

    • Mary Bly,
    • in Missy Dizick and Mary Bly, Dogs Are Better Than Cats ()
  • Dogs serve people, but people serve cats.

    • Temple Grandin,
    • in Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson, Animals Make Us Human ()