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Feline Fans


Surnames A-K


Feline Fans is devoted to mentioning well-known or famous people, from both historical and more recent times, who have been noted for their liking of cats. For most the name of at least one of their pets is given, although some people had more than one cat, or a succession of them (like Ernest Hemingway, who remarked, 'One cat leads to another.'). Thumbnail portraits of the people are included, in a few cases with cat.

Of course these are only some of the celebrated personages throughout history and right up to the present day who have taken a liking to cats — in some cases a real love of them. Over time we hope to add more names to the roster.



Lloyd Alexander

Alexander, Lloyd

(1924-2007)

Solomon
and others

American author, noted especially for his fantasy books for children; he won a number of awards for them. He had many cats, and cats featured in some of his work.

Kingsley Amis

Amis, Kingsley

(1922-1995)

Sarah Snow

English writer Amis was convinced that his long-haired white cat with green eyes was trying to speak English. He wrote:
I was impressed to hear her say 'Hello'
Not like a person, true
It might not sound quite right to you
More of a simple squeak or squawk —
Still, that's what happens when cats talk.

Cleveland Amory

Amory, Cleveland

(1917-1998)

Polar Bear

American writer Amory wrote three books about his first cat, which he had rescued from a New York street after being until then a 'dog person'.

Ian Anderson

Anderson, Ian

(b. 1947)

Rupi, TJ, Tiffen, Sambhar, Bhagee

The lead singer of the rock group Jethro Tull is a committed ailurophile and has a passion for Bengals in particular. He has pages on the web dedicated to cats and their care.

Matthew Arnold

Arnold, Matthew

(1822-1888)

Atossa

The English poet immortalised his Persian cat Atossa in a poem about his canary Matthias, recalling how the cat would sit immobile for hours beside the bird's cage, without ever trying to attack.

Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI

(b. 1927)

Chico

The 265th occupant of the Holy See, who retired in 2013, is a passionate feline fancier; it is said of him that he adores cats, and likes to stop and talk to any cat he may encounter. Officially pets aren't allowed in the Vatican, but there were rumours that he had two strays in his papal apartments — the Vatican refused to confirm or deny this. What is known is that his former cat Chico, a red tabby shorthair, stayed in the ex-pope's home town of Tübingen in Bavaria, southern Germany, where he was looked after by neighbours.
(See Feline Folios for a review of a children's book about the pope's life as related by Chico.)

Alexander Borodin

Borodin, Alexander

(1833-1887)

Ryborov

Well-known Russian classical composer and chemist who had many cats. Ryborov was one who learned to fish through holes in the ice in winter: 'Ryborov' means 'fisherman'.

David Bowie

Bowie, David

(b. 1947)

Purrie

British rock musician Bowie has been a major figure in popular music for many years, and is apparently a 'cat person', as are a number of other performers in the genre. He co-wrote and recorded a song called Cat People for the 1982 film of the same name.

Russell Brand

Brand, Russell

(b. 1975)

Morrissey

Brand is a rather eccentric English comedian, actor, columnist, singer, author and radio/television presenter. He is also a fan of felines and has named his own cat after The Smiths' frontman, a fellow vegetarian and cat lover.

The Bronte sisters

Brontë sisters

Charlotte
(1816-1855)
Emily (1818-1848)
Anne (1820-1849)

Black Tom, Tiger
and others

The three famous literary sisters, who all died quite young, were well known as cat lovers. Their novels and poetry frequently showed their relationships with their felines, and Charlotte and Anne often referred to their cats in their diaries.

George Burns

Burns, George

(1896-1996)

Willie

The long-lived American comedian, actor and producer was reported to have chosen his cat's name because 'when you tell him what to do, there's always the question of "Will he or won't he?"'

William S Burroughs

Burroughs, William S.

(1914-1997)

various

The American writer and spoken word performer lived with several cats, which became significant in his personal mythology. Among his many books is The Cat Inside, a collection of short essays and thoughts.

Lord George Byron

Byron, Lord George

(1788-1824)

Beppo

Poet Byron's cat was said to drink milk from a skull, and 'helped' to write many of his master's poems.

Karel Capek

Capek, Karel

(1890-1938)

Pudlenka

Czech writer who loved cats and had dozens of them during his life. The stray Pudlenka arrived on his doorstep after an earlier cat had died from poisoning; she later bore a total of 26 kittens, and her daughter Pudlenka II had 21.

Raymond Chandler

Chandler, Raymond

(1888-1959)

Taki

Famous crime author who read the first drafts of his novels to his cat and called her his 'feline secretary'.

King Charles I

Charles I of England

(1600-1649)

Unknown

King Charles treasured his black cat and was convinced it brought him good luck. He could have been right: the day after it died he was arrested by Parliamentary troops.

Frederic Chopin

Chopin, Frédéric

(1810-1849)

Unknown

The renowned Polish composer and virtuoso pianist had a cat that would sometimes run up and down on the piano keys. Legend has it that this prompted Chopin to write 'The Cat Waltz', a very popular piece for helping aspiring pianists to learn how to play — although he did not name the piece thus.

No image available

Chu Hou-Tsung

(1507-66)

Shuang-mei
('Frost-Eyebrows')

An emperor of China who was inseparable from his favourite cat, described as being of 'faintly blue' colour with 'jade-white eyebrows'. Upon her death, the royal favourite was buried beneath a stone tablet engraved with the words, 'The Grave of a Dragon with Two Horns' — an honour normally reserved for humans of great merit.

Sir Winston Churchill

Churchill, Winston

(1874-1965)

Nelson,
Jock

Churchill was a great cat lover; Nelson would act as a hot-water bottle on the bed. At his country house of Chartwell there was Jock; he was a 'marmalade' cat, Winston's favourite cat colour. Either in his will or expressed by his family after his death, there was a request that there should always be a marmalade cat at the house, now owned by the National Trust. His wish has been respected and Jock V is the current (2013) incumbent — see our separate page for the Chartwell Jocks.

Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain

Clemens, Samuel
(Mark Twain)


(1835-1910)

Tammany

The famous American writer also liked to give his cats names such as Apollinaris, Zoroaster, Blatherskite and Sour Mash, saying that they would be good practice for children learning to spell long and difficult words!

Jean Cocteau

Cocteau, Jean

(1889-1963)

Karoun

Cocteau was a multi-talented artist — a novelist, playwright, director, poet, essayist, painter, set designer, and actor. He called Karoun the 'King of Cats'. Karoun wore a collar around his neck with the inscription, 'Cocteau belongs to me.'

Colette

Colette

(1873-1954)

La Chatte Dernière

French writer Colette had many cats during her life and they featured in her work. When the last one ('La chatte dernière') died, she spent the last 15 years of her own life without any of the animals, finding it too painful to bear when they died. Two others she had were Saha and Kiki la Doucette.

Billy Crystal

Crystal, Billy

(b. 1948)

Mittens

The multi-talented Mr Crystal — American actor, writer, producer, comedian and film director — claims that Mittens enjoys fishing and computer programming.

Marie Curie

Curie, Marie

(1867-1934)

Didi

Curie was the scientist who discovered radium and did extensive work on radioactivity. Before WW1, after her husband's tragic death, Marie and her two young daughters lived at Sceaux, near Paris, where they had two cats. After the war she had an apartment in Paris near the Seine, and there also there was a cat — maybe that was Didi.

James Dean

Dean, James

(1931-1955)

Marcus

Teen film idol Dean was given a Siamese cat called Marcus by Elizabeth Taylor. The night before he was due to go to a car race he gave it to his girlfriend — fortuitously, as it turned out, as he was killed next day in a crash on his way to the race meeting.

Charles Dickens

Dickens, Charles

(1812-1870)

Williamina

The famous English author for a long time refused to have cats, as he was very fond of birds, but then his daughter gave him a white cat, which produced kittens. All were found homes except a deaf, white one that then became 'the master's cat' and his constant companion.

Alexandre Dumas

Dumas, Alexandre

(1802-1870)

Mysouff

When the French writer left his house in the morning his cat would accompany him to a certain point and then return to the house. When Dumas was due to come home later, Mysouff would ask to be let out and would return to the same point and greet his master. The strange thing is that he seemed to know when Dumas was going to be late and on those occasions would remain sleeping. Dumas founded the Feline Defence League.

T. S. Eliot

Eliot, T. S.

(1888-1965)

Jellylorum, Noilly Prat, Pattipaws, Tantomile, Wiscus

Jellylorum inspired Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats and appears in it. The work in turn later inspired the very successful musical Cats.

Foujita

Tsuguharu Foujita

(1886-1968)

Unknown

The Japanese artist lived in Paris and made many art studies of cats.

Anne Frank

Frank, Anne

(1929-1945)

Moortje

Moortje was Anne's cat that she had to leave behind when the family went into hiding from the Nazis. She says in her diary that she missed him terribly. But she found that there were two cats when the family arrived at their hiding place. One of them was more aggressive, so she called it Boche, while the other was less aggressive but always won in the end — so she called it Tommy. Later there was a third cat, the pet of a young man who, with his family, later joined the Franks in hiding. That cat was called Mouchi.

Paul Gallico

Gallico, Paul

(1897-1976)

Unknown

Writer Paul Gallico had several cats and wrote about them in some of his work. He said that once a cat had presented its owner with a mouse, the owner will be forever changed as 'the cat can use you for a doormat. And she will, too.'

Theophile Gauthier

Gauthier, Théophile

(1811-1872)

Gavroche, Don Pierrot, Zizi, Séraphine, Chateaubriand, Madame Théophile

French author Gauthier had his house full of cats until the siege of Paris in 1870 decimated them. Best of all he loved Gavroche, a charitable creature who would 'bring in from the streets gaunt and ragged cats (Chateaubriand was one such) who devoured in a scurry of fright the food laid aside for them'. Another favourite was Don Pierrot, a white cat about whom the French author wrote extensively; Don and Séraphine — described as 'dreamy and reserved and addicted to perfume' — produced three black kittens, who were named after characters in Les Misérables. Zizi was a superb Angora who liked to walk up and down the piano keyboard, while Mme Théophile, red and white, would steal morsels from his plate.

Guy Gibson, VC

Gibson, Guy, VC

(1918-1944)

Windy

Many WW2 aircrew had cats and other pets that accompanied them on missions. Windy clocked up more air miles than most in the company of Gibson, one of Britain's most decorated bomber pilots of WW2.

Whoopi Goldberg

Goldberg, Whoopi

(b. 1935)

Oliver Hoyt Goldberg

The American comedienne, actress and singer-songwriter (real name Caryn Johnson) had her cat 'write' to the Obamas after Barack was elected President in 2009 and the family was looking for a puppy, suggesting that instead they take on a 'self-sufficient, tidy and clean' cat.

Thomas Hardy

Hardy, Thomas

(1840-1928)

Cobby

Cobby disappeared after writer Hardy's death, and there is a curious story involving Hardy’s heart, which we won't go into here.

Stephen Harper

Harper, Stephen

(b. 1959)

Cheddar, Stanley
and others

The Canadian prime minister elected in 2006 seems to have a reputation as an uncompromising and outspoken man — yet he and his wife have been fostering cats for years through the Ottawa Humane Society. Some are kept as their 'own' cats, and Cheddar was one such. Stanley arrived in mid-2011; his name was chosen in a Facebook poll and Harper was pictured having breakfast with Stanley in early 2013.

Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway, Ernest

(1899-1961)

Big Boy Peterson, Boise, Cristóbal, F. Puss, Friendless, Izzy, Princessa, Snowball, Uncle Wolfer, Willy

Hemingway was a complex and sensitive man, at odds with the macho image often attributed to him. He was very fond of cats, found comfort in them when he was depressed, and said they helped him to write. There were large numbers of cats, and some dogs, at his home in Cuba; some of his favourites over the years are named opposite. The six-toed (polydactyl) cats among those at the Hemingway Museum in Florida are said to be descendants of Snowball, given to Hemingway by a ship's captain in 1935.

Herge (Georges Prosper Remi), author of the Tintin stories

Hergé
(Georges Prosper Remi)

(1907-1983)

Thaïke

Although cats were never prominent in the Tintin stories, the Belgian author and his wife Germaine had many cats during their lives. They took their Siamese Thaïke with them when they fled the German advance during WW2, and the cat is mentioned in a biography by Pierre Assouline & Charles Ruas. Hergé made drawings of her. Two earlier cats were Siam and Chonchon.

Whitney Houston

Houston, Whitney

(1963-2012)

Marilyn Miste

The American singer, actress and producer, who tragically died in 2012, gained more awards than any other female act ever, according to Guinness World Records. She also liked cats.

Victor Hugo

Hugo, Victor

(1802-1885)

Gavroche,
aka Chanoine

Hugo was a French playwright, poet, novelist and politician, best remembered today for Les Misérables. He had a magnificent Angora cat Gavroche, later renamed as Chanoine. Hugo marvelled at the companionship of a cat, remarking that 'God has made the cat to give man the pleasure of caressing the tiger.'

No image available

Ichigo

(10th/11th century)

Myobu no Otodo

Ichigo, Emperor of Japan from 980 to 1011. Ichigo awarded cats special treatment and high status. His favourite, Myobu no Otodo ('Chief Lady-in-Waiting of the Inner Palace') was awarded a special rank at court and had human ladies-in-waiting appointed to tend to her needs. The hapless owner of a dog that chased her was imprisoned!

Samuel Johnson

Johnson, Samuel

(1709-1784)

Hodge

'A very fine cat indeed', as writer and lexicographer Johnson described him, Hodge loved oysters, which the great man himself would go out to buy.

Janis Joplin

Joplin, Janis

(1943-1970)

Kitty Cat

The American singer and songwriter, who became something of an icon of the psychedelic 1960s, died tragically from a drugs overdose.

Lech Kaczynski

Kaczyński, Lech

(1949-2010)

Rudolf

The former Polish president and his wife, tragically killed in a plane crash in April 2010, were both great cat lovers. In communist times secret Solidarity meetings used to be held in his mother's apartment; she also had cats, and to avoid suspicion the gatherings were referred to as 'meetings on cat street'. Following the Kaczyńskis' deaths, Lech's brother Jarosław took in Rudolf and looked after him.

Paul Klee

Klee, Paul

(1879-1940)

Bimbo, Mys, Nuggi, Fritz

The Swiss artist was so fond of his cats that a whole book was written about them: The Cosmic Cats of Paul Klee, and he took the photographs of them for the book himself. He also celebrated them in some of his work.

Gustav Klimt

Klimt, Gustav

(1862-1918)

Katze

Klimt was a famous Viennese painter, the founder of the late-19th-century Secessionist Art Movement in Vienna. A children’s book Klimt and his Cat, by Berenice Capatti, helps young readers to explore his work.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Kuniyoshi, Utagawa

(c1797-1861)

Unknown

The Edo studio of the Japanese master was said to be always full of cats and kittens, which he featured often in his woodcuts.



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Our featured feline at the head of the page is Freddy, pictured in 1996. As can be seen from his photo, Freddy was a very handsome cat. He and four other cats lived next door to me in North Wales in the mid-1990s. For various reasons I was unable to have a cat of my own, and he was a frequent and welcome visitor for a few biscuits. He even brought one of his housemates along sometimes, and the two of them would curl up and sleep on the spare bed. When I moved back to the area permanently in 1999, I still saw him occasionally. He died in 2006 at a good age.


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