Literary Quotes About Cats

Cat on Books

Of one of his feline companions, H.P. Lovecraft—famed author of the fantastic and macabre—once wrote: “In its flawless grace and superior self-sufficiency I have seen a symbol of the perfect beauty and bland impersonality of the universe itself, objectively considered, and in its air of silent mystery there resides for me all the wonder and fascination of the unknown.”

What is it about cats that has so fascinated and mystified the world’s greatest writers throughout history? That is another mystery that may never be solved. Nevertheless, here we present some of our favorite feline quotes—some witty, some philosophical, but all insightful—from some very notable authors.


“That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.”
~ Ray Bradbury (author of Fahrenheit 451)

“The cat does not offer services. The cat offers itself.”
~ William S. Burroughs (author of Naked Lunch)

“It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that, whatever you say to them they always purr.”
~ Lewis Carroll (author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

“Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.”
~ Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quixote)

“There are no ordinary cats.”
~ Colette (author of Gigi)

“Books. Cats. Life is good.”
~ Edward Gorey (author of The Unstrung Harp)

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?”
~ Charles Dickens (author of Oliver Twist)

“How we behave toward cats here below determines our status in heaven.”
~ Robert A. Heinlein (author of Stranger in a Strange Land)

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
~ Ernest Hemingway (author of The Old Man and the Sea)

“If you want to write, keep cats.”
~ Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World)

“The cat walked stiffly round a leg of the table with tail on high. ‘Mkgnao!’”
~ James Joyce (author of Ulysses)

“If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then a cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.”
~ Doris Lessing (author of Particularly Cats)

“When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not more of a pastime to her than she is to me?”
~ Michel de Montaigne (author of Essais)

“What sort of philosophers are we, who know absolutely nothing of the origin and destiny of cats?”
~ Henry David Thoreau (author of Walden)

“I have lived with several Zen masters—all of them cats.”
—Eckhart Tolle (author of The Power of Now)

“I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course.”
~ Mark Twain (author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)

“I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.”
~ Jules Verne (author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)

“Cats are put on the earth to remind us that not everything has a purpose.”
~ Oscar Wilde (author of The Picture of Dorian Gray)


Last but not least, no collection of literary quotes about cats could be complete without including a passage from T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (which served as the inspiration for the Broadway hit musical Cats):

“Before a Cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste—
He’s sure to have his personal taste.
(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he’s finished, licks his paws
So’s not to waste the onion sauce.)
A Cat’s entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his name.”

If you are a #catlover who likes to post pictures of your feline friend(s) in social media—please feel free to use any of these quotes to accompany your photo!

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One thought on “Literary Quotes About Cats

  1. This reminds me of my all time favorite cat poem:

    THE CAT AND THE MOON
    by W.B. Yeats

    The cat cat went here and there
    And the moon spun round like a top,
    And the nearest kin of the moon,
    The creeping cat, looked up.
    Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
    For, wander and wail as he would,
    The pure cold light in the sky
    Troubled his animal blood.
    Minnaloushe runs in the grass
    Lifting his delicate feet.
    Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
    When two close kindred meet,
    What better than call a dance?
    Maybe the moon may learn,
    Tired of that courtly fashion,
    A new dance turn.
    Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
    From moonlit place to place,
    The sacred moon overhead
    Has taken a new phase.
    Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
    Will pass from change to change,
    And that from round to crescent,
    From crescent to round they range?
    Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
    Alone, important and wise,
    And lifts to the changing moon
    His changing eyes.

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