A heck of a lot of fiction writers I know have cats. A couple have dogs, or both cats and dogs. If one ever needs to break the ice at a gathering of writers, just mention the word “cats” and everyone will start talking. Cats and writers go together the same way milk and cookies do.
I used to have a cat, but she passed away, and my spouse tested positive for cat allergies, so I haven’t adopted another. Yet. We adopted a dog, and she’s wonderful to have around too. However, I admit sometimes I miss having a cat to knock over my pens, lay across my papers, and tap out gibberish with her paws on my keyboard.
Cats and dogs provide a valuable service to writers–they drag their owners out of bed before it gets too late in the morning, and demand their writers take stretch breaks out of their work chairs on an hourly basis.
Dogs and cats also keep writers from getting too depressed. It’s hard to stay in a funk when there’s a warm furry body on one’s lap purring, or while scratching a dog’s tummy. And keeping a dog happy requires two walks a day in all kinds of weather, which is great for dragging a writer out of the house instead of staying inside to fume endlessly over a piece of writing.
The other thing cats and dogs are great for is being reminded to not take work too seriously–it’s hard to wallow in self-pity over a critic’s online review when a paw shoots out from behind a monitor to whack one’s mouse in mid-click. Or mope over an editor’s rejection letter when the dog drops her favorite soggy rope in one’s lap.
Now that I think about it, cats and dogs have contributed quite a bit behind the scenes to the happiness and health of writers working in home offices. So let me raise my mug of tea in a salute to cats and dogs everywhere.