“I associate a person having a cat with them being gentler than other people”

The words in the title were said by Sir Kingsley Amis (1922-1995). Sir Kingsley Amis was an English novelist, poet, critic and teacher. He wrote more than 20 novels and six volumes of poetry and a lot more besides. Also, he was a cat lover. He associated gentleness in people who are the guardians of cats. It’s actually a lot wider than that in my opinion. It isn’t just that cat lovers are more gentle, or perhaps a better phrase is more sensitive, they are, in my estimation, more decent.

Sir Kingsley Amis was a cat lover
Sir Kingsley Amis was a cat lover. Photo: Wikipedia.
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I’m not talking about all people who own cats because there are a lot of people who own cats who don’t love them. I’m referring to genuine cat lovers, ailurophiles. If you are enlightened enough to really like cats you probably like or at least respect all animals and therefore you’re sensitive to the vulnerability of animals in the human world. If you are sensitive to the vulnerable, you’ve got to be decent.

Sir Kingsley Amis loved the company of his cat, a magnificent long-haired green-eyed, pure white cat called Sara Snow. He referred to her as a “Hertfordshire White”. In fact, she looked very much like an old-fashioned Angora. Angoras are frequently white.

Amis had reservations about people who do not have a family cat.

“I’m enough of a cat lover to be suspicious of a household that doesn’t have a cat.”

This reminds me of the thoughts of Jean Cocteau, who made the famous statement (see cat quotes):

“I love cat because I enjoy my home: and little by little, they become its visible soul.”

Amis liked to talk to his cat and admitted that people are silly about their cats. He believed that cats stimulate this attitude.

“Cats stimulate the fancy; we weave fantasies about them.”

His fantasy about Sarah’s was that she was trying to learn English, reports Dr Desmond Morris in his excellent book Cat World.


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