writing

Pets in books

CatI bought this card recently and right now it’s pinned to my mood board. It’s my lucky charm. Something about his expression tells me to get writing!

He looks almost identical to my third and most favourite pet – a cream Persian cat called Odysseus (yes really) – who arrived when I was five and lived for thirteen happy years. Even though I was horrifically allergic to him and basically had a bad cold the whole time, he was my best friend. (My first two pets were goldfish called Bit and Bot, by the way, but my memories of them are dim. I don’t think they were very consoling when I came in from a hard day at school. Nor did they make the whole family laugh by hunting across the garden at dusk, unaware that they glowed like orange lamp.)

The new book I’m writing starts with a cat scene. The cat in question is a silver tortoiseshell, which is the breed I’d choose if I wasn’t horribly allergic to cats and could have another one. Did you know that they a) are almost always female and b) have a particularly curious, quirky, attention-seeking personality trait known as ‘tortitude’? Well, after some research for the book, now I do.

Have you got a favourite pet from when you were little, or now? And do you have a favourite pet in books?

There’s Hedwig, of course. And I was really fond of Scabbers until … You know why ‘until’. Black Beauty, all of Jill’s ponies. Do horses count as pets? I hope they do. Spy Dog. Toothless the dragon. So many to choose from …

Let me know who you love, and what you’d call your ideal pet. My tortoiseshell kitten ended up being called Lacy by the way. Not for the reasons you might think. All will be explained next summer! Now back to the book.

9 thoughts on “Pets in books

  1. Hi Sophia,

    What a lovely blog.

    Pets are a big part of my life – and writing life as well. I currently have 3 large dogs (always under my desk when I’m trying to write) an aviary of parrots and pet chickens.

    Though I adore my new puppies (English Mastiffs), I still desperately miss my other dogs and cats who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. One of the most special dogs I’ve ever had was a German Shepherd who clung to me like glue. We were inseparable.

    His formal name was Onslow. I called him Onnie. And if any of your readers have ever read my Shadow of the Dragon series, you’ll know a very special and important character is also called Onnie. (He’s the fox). It was a way of keeping my Onnie alive.

    I couldn’t write a book that didn’t have at least one important animal character. And as writers, I personally feel we should include animals in our stories as much as possible to help our readers gain a better respect and love for them.

    Can’t wait to read about your special cat!

    • I love the idea of putting special names in a book, to remember them. I did the same thing in Threads. And I think a children’s book with animals in it is always that much more special. So you’re definitely doing the right thing, Kate! 🙂

  2. Hi Sophia, hope you’re well and not working too hard! 🙂

    In my 23 years, I’ve had 3 birds, 5 fish, 3 dogs and 2 cats. 🙂 I loved them all but, well…I had to give up my last dog when I moved here in Scotland and it was the hardest day ever.. I have a cat now, my Sophie and I love her so much, apart from i’m a tad allergic to her, so’s my nan..my doctors say give her up but, Never. xx

    Can’t wait to read you’re new story! 😀 I’m working on a new story with a Dalmatian in it. 🙂

    • You definitely beat me on the pet front, Laura. My travels and my allergies put paid to my ideas of owning lots of animals. However, I agree that allergies can never get in the way of keeping a pet you already love. They’re a small price to pay. Good luck with your Dalmatian story. I’ve just bought a Dalmatian-themed t-shirt (it’s very glittery), so I’ll think of you! 🙂

  3. When I was very young we had two cats called Josie and Madgit. They must have been the most tolerable pets ever. I was told that when I was about two I used to sit and watch the teletubbies sitting beside them alternately pulling on their tales and chewing on they’re ears- poor thing!

  4. My dad likes tortoiseshell cats best, so I grew up knowing about tortitude. (Not that his current one has much of that – she’s quite sweet compared to most torties.) And I learnt basic principles of genetics and inheritance (including how torties and blue-cream cats are usually female) from the relevant chapter in a book about cats!
    …yeah, this is a pretty cat-centric household. Grew up with three of them; we now have four: a big dim tabby male, a neurotic but very lovely tortie-and-white, a small and sweet but rather bland ginger male, and the aforementioned strangely-nice tortoiseshell.

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