Mark Twain has often been heralded as the “the father of American literature,” but one side of this famous writer people don’t generally know about is his enduring love of cats and kittens, for whom he had far more respect and gave far more precedence than people.
To Mark Twain cats were as important as people.
“If man could be crossed with the cat,” he once wrote, “it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”
It's pretty clear this man loved cats!
Mark Twain Cats - A Real Cat Lover
Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens. He lived a colorful and chaotic life, not unlike the lives of his most famous characters. He was born shortly after the appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1835 and predicted that he would “go out with it” as well. What the amazing thing was about this statement is that he died the day after the comet returned in 1910.
He had lived with around 19 cats throughout various periods of his life and gave them imaginative names. Some of Mark Twain cats had names like Apollinaris, Beelzebub, Buffalo Bill, Soapy Sal, Pestilence, Satan, Sin, Sour Mash, Tammany, Zoroaster, Blatherskite, and his beloved cat Bambino.
Bambino was one of Mark Twain's favorite cats whilst living in New York City. Bambino had velvety fur, a faint fringe of white hair and famously went missing for a period of time. The author took out an advertisement in the New York American offering a reward for five dollars for his return. Being a typical feline, Mark Twain's cat eventually came home under his own steam.
Cats often made appearances in some of his most famous works including “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” where we meet a cat named Peter; this well-read book is actually a true story from his childhood.
This famous cat lover also wrote a book called “Concerning Cats: Two Tales by Mark Twain,” which was published long after his death in 1910. It tells two stories about cats and he used to read them to his daughters to help them fall asleep.
Twain loved being with cats, so much so that he would try and “rent” other people’s kitties when he was on vacation. The most famous cat-renting episode occurred in Dublin, New Hampshire when Mark Twain rented three kittens for the entire summer.
Twain was not the only cat lover in the literary world, giant with a fondness for cats, his fellow 19th and 20th-century American authors Ernest Hemingway, Patricia Highsmith, and of course T.S. Eliot, all shared his passion for all things feline. “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction,” he said
He also said: “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.”
A lot of his famous quotes are about cats and one of my favorites is: “One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.”
We’ll leave you with an excerpt from Twain’s 1894 novel “Pudd’nhead Wilson,” a dark story about a master and slave that were switched at birth: “A home without a cat — and a well-fed, well-petted and properly-revered cat — may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?”
And talking of homes, if you are in the United Kingdom and you are a cat lover, a must-visit is The Mark Twain House & Museum, in Hartford.
Mark Twain Cat Quotes
These famous Mark Twain Cat quotes explain why, in his cat lover eyes, cats are total royalty:
"The worship of royalty being found in unreason, these graceful and harmless cats would easily become as sacred as any other royalties, and indeed more so, because it would presently be noticed that they hanged nobody, beheaded nobody, imprisoned nobody, inflicted no cruelties or injustices of any sort, and so must be worthy of a deeper love and reverence than the customary human king, and would certainly get it." -Mark Twain.
"They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course." -Mark Twain.
“A home without a cat — and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat — may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?” -Mark Twain.
"When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." -Mark Twain.
"Every waking moment was precious to her; in it she would find something useful to do -- and if she ran out of material and couldn't find anything else to do she would have kittens. She always kept us supplied, and her families were of choice quality. She herself was a three-colored tortoise-shell, but she had no prejudices of breed, creed, or caste. " -Mark Twain
"Yes, he's your friend, if you like, but you got to treat him like a gentleman, there ain't any other terms." -Mark Twain.
“I simply can't resist a cat, particularly a purring one.” -Mark Twain.
“If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.” -Mark Twain.
“Whenever he was out of luck and a little down-hearted, he would fall to mourning over the loss of a wonderful cat he used to.” -Mark Twain.
Amusing Mark Twain Cat Quotes
These are some of the more humorous Mark Twain cat quotes:
"There is nothing of continental or inter-national interest to communicate about those cats." -Mark Twain.
"If it was the table she would squat, and measure the distance, and make a leap, and land in the wrong place, owing to newness to the business; and, part of her going too far and sliding over the edge, she would scramble, and claw at things desperately, and save herself and make good." - Mark Twain
“One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives." -Mark Twain.
“While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” -Mark Twain.
“ None but the humane treat a cat well.” -Mark Twain
“Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain't so; it is the sickening grammar that they use.” -Mark Twain.
"I like a thin book because it will steady a table, a leather volume because it will stop a razor, and a heavy book because it can be thrown at a cat." -Mark Twain.
“I knew a man who grabbed a cat by the tail and learned forty percent more about cats than the man who didn't.” -Mark Twain.
“I saw a cat yesterday with 4 legs and yet it was only a yellow cat, and rather small, too, for its size.” -Mark Twain.
“Going to law is losing a cow for the sake of a cat.” -Mark Twain
Mark Twain Cats - A Crazy Cat Man
These photos go to show that to Mark Twain cats were a very special part of his life.
There had been many cats in his life, with the most special Mark Twain cat probably being 'Bambino', but he clearly loved many and did a lot for them.
That was clear, as was the way he wrote about them so often and gvae us som nay great and funny quoites about cats that people still use to this day.