Quotations about   cat

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When there was room on the ledge outside of the pots and boxes for a cat, the cat was there — in sunny weather — stretched at full length, asleep and blissful, with her furry belly to the sun and a paw curved over her nose. Then that house was complete, and its contentment and peace were made manifest to the world by this symbol, whose testimony is infallible. 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 (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, ch. 1 (1894)
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Added on 27-Jul-21 | Last updated 27-Jul-21
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For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.

Christopher Smart
Christopher Smart (1722-1771) English poet
“For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry,” Jubilate Agno (1758-1763)
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Set to music by Benjamin Britten, Rejoice in the Lamb, Op. 30 (1943).
Added on 20-Jul-21 | Last updated 20-Jul-21
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Unlike a human smile, purring cannot be, as far as anyone knows, faked.

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (b. 1941) American author
The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats, ch. 3 (2002)
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Added on 13-Jul-21 | Last updated 13-Jul-21
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The cat does not merely experience contentment, he exudes it. You cannot be in the presence of a contented cat and not have some of that contentment rub off on you. Which surely is a good part of the reason we love cats so.

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (b. 1941) American author
The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats: A Journey Into the Feline Heart, ch. 3 (2002)
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Added on 29-Jun-21 | Last updated 29-Jun-21
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Throw a stick, and the servile dog wheezes and pants and shambles to bring it to you. Do the same before a cat, and he will eye you with coolly polite and somewhat bored amusement.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
“Cats and Dogs” (23 Nov 1926), Leaves (Summer 1937)
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Reprinted as "Something about Cats" in Something About Cats: And Other Pieces (1949) [ed. Derleth].
Added on 22-Jun-21 | Last updated 22-Jun-21
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All cats can see futures, and see echoes of the past. We can watch the passage of creatures from the infinity of now, from all the worlds like ours, only fractionally different. And we follow them with our eyes, ghost things, and the humans see nothing.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
“A Dream of a Thousand Cats,” Sandman #18 (Aug 1990)
Added on 8-Jun-21 | Last updated 8-Jun-21
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Nothing’s more playful than a young Cat, nor more grave than an old One.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #3680 (1732)
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Added on 1-Jun-21 | Last updated 1-Jun-21
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The kitten has a luxurious, Bohemian, unpuritanical nature. It eats six meals a day, plays furiously with a toy mouse and a piece of rope, and suddenly falls into a deep sleep whenever the fit takes it. It never feels the necessity to do anything to justify its existence; it does not want to be a Good Citizen; it has never heard of Service. It knows that it is beautiful and delightful, and it considers that a sufficient contribution to the general good. And in return for its beauty and charm it expects fish, meat, and vegetables, a comfortable bed, a chair by the grate fire, and endless petting.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, ch. 20 (1947)
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Added on 25-May-21 | Last updated 25-May-21
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Perhaps God made cats so that man might have the pleasure of fondling the tiger ….

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, ch. 20 (1947)
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Added on 18-May-21 | Last updated 18-May-21
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If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.

Doris Lessing (1919-2013) British author, biographer, playwright [b. Doris May Tayler]
Particularly Cats, ch. 2 (1967)
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Added on 11-May-21 | Last updated 11-May-21
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I said something which gave you to think I hated cats. But gad, sir, I am one of the most fanatical cat lovers in the business. If you hate them, I may learn to hate you. If your allergies hate them, I will tolerate the situation to the best of my ability.

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) American novelist
Letter to Hamish Hamilton (26 Jan 1950)
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Added on 4-May-21 | Last updated 4-May-21
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Lat take a cat, and fostre him wel with milk,
And tendre flesh, and make his couche of silk,
And lat him seen a mous go by the wal;
Anon he weyveth milk, and flesh, and al,
And every deyntee that is in that hous,
Swich appetyt hath he to ete a mous.
Lo, here hath lust his dominacioun,
And appetyt flemeth discrecioun.

[Let’s take a cat, and foster him well with milk
And tender meat, and make his couch of silk,
And let him see a mouse go by the wall,
Right then he refuses milk and meat and all,
And every dainty that is in that house,
Such appetite has he to eat a mouse.
Lo, here has lust his domination,
And appetite drives away discretion.]

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400) English poet, philosopher, astronomer, diplomat
The Canterbury Tales, “The Manciple’s Tale,” l. 175ff (c. 1400)
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Modern English. Alternate modernizations:

Let take a cat, and foster her with milk
And tender flesh, and make her couch of silk,
And let her see a mouse go by the wall,
Anon she weiveth milk, and flesh, and all,
And every dainty that is in that house,
Such appetite hath she to eat the mouse.
Lo, here hath kind her domination,
And appetite flemeth discretion.
[Source]

Let take a cat, and foster her with milk
And tender flesh, and make her couch of silk,
And let her see a mouse go by the wall,
Anon she forsaketh milk, and flesh, and all,
And every dainty that is in that house,
Such appetite hath she to eat the mouse.
Lo, here hath nature her domination,
And appetite drives out discretion.
[Source]
Added on 20-Apr-21 | Last updated 20-Apr-21
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The cat is, above all things, a dramatist; its life is lived in an endless romance, though the drama is played out on quite another stage than our own, and we only enter into it as subordinate characters, as stage managers, or rather stage carpenters.

Margaret Benson (1865-1916) English author and Egyptologist
The Soul of a Cat and Other Stories, “Epilogue,” sec. 2 (1901)
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Added on 13-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
Speech, Digital Biota 2 conference, Cambridge, UK (Sep 1998)
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Segments of this impromptu speech are quoted in Richard Dawkins, "Eulogy for Douglas Adams," Church of Saint Martin in the Fields, London (27 Sep 2001). A variant of the quotation ("If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, you end up with a non-working cat. Do not try this.") is often attributed to that article, but the Dawkins eulogy contains the correct form of the quote.
Added on 6-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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We own a dog — he is with us as a slave and inferior because we wish him to be. But we entertain a cat — he adorns our hearth as a guest, fellow-lodger, and equal because he wishes to be there. It is no compliment to be the stupidly idolised master of a dog whose instinct it is to idolise, but it is a very distinct tribute to be chosen as the friend and confidant of a philosophic cat who is wholly his own master and could easily choose another companion if he found such an one more agreeable and interesting.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
“Cats and Dogs” (23 Nov 1926), Leaves (Summer 1937)
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Reprinted as "Something about Cats" in Something About Cats: And Other Pieces (1949) [ed. Derleth].
Added on 30-Mar-21 | Last updated 30-Mar-21
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If animals could speak as fabulists have feigned, the dog would be a blunt, blundering, outspoken, honest fellow, but the cat would have the rare talent of never saying a word too much.

Philip Gilbert Hamerton (1834-1894) British artist, art critic and author.
Chapters on Animals, ch. 4 “Cats” (1893)
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Sometimes misattributed to Mark Twain.
Added on 2-Mar-21 | Last updated 2-Mar-21
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When there was room on the ledge outside of the pot s and boxes for a cat, the cat was there — in sunny weather — stretched at full length, asleep and blissful, with her furry belly to the sun and a paw curved over her nose. Then the house was complete, and its contentment and peace were made manifest to the world by this symbol, whose testimony is infallible. 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 (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Pudd’nhead Wilson, ch. 1 (1894)
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Added on 23-Feb-21 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
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Confront a child, a puppy, and a kitten with a sudden danger; the child will turn instinctively for assistance, the puppy will grovel in abject submission, the kitten will brace its tiny body for a frantic resistance.

H. H. Munro (1870-1916) Scottish writer [Hector Hugh Munro; pseud. Saki]
“The Achievement of the Cat” (1924)
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Added on 16-Feb-21 | Last updated 16-Feb-21
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The vanity of man revolts from the serene indifference of the cat.

Agnes Repplier (1855-1950) American writer
“The Grocer’s Cat,” Americans and Others (1912)
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Added on 9-Feb-21 | Last updated 9-Feb-21
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Cats are autocrats of naked self-interest. They are both amoral and immoral, consciously breaking rules. Their “evil” look at such times is no human projection: the cat may be the only animal who savors the perverse or reflects upon it.

Camille Paglia (b. 1947) American feminist academic and social critic
Sexual Personae, ch. 2 (1990)
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Added on 26-Jan-21 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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The domestic cat is a contradiction. No animal has developed such an intimate relationship with mankind, while at the same time demanding and getting such independence of movement and action.

Desmond Morris (b. 1928) English zoologist, ethologist, author
Catwatching, Introduction (1986)
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Added on 19-Jan-21 | Last updated 19-Jan-21
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A cat can be trusted to purr when she is pleased, which is more than can be said for human beings.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
A Rustic Moralist (1934)
Added on 22-Dec-20 | Last updated 22-Dec-20
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If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats.

Lemony Snicket (b. 1970) American author, screenwriter, musician (pseud. for Daniel Handler)
The Wide Window (2000)
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Added on 16-Dec-20 | Last updated 16-Dec-20
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The cat is a dilettante in fur.

Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) French poet, writer, critic
Ménagerie Intime, ch. 1 “Temps Anciens” (1864)
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Paraphrase of an anecdote about his cat, Madame Théophile, who would lay a paw on a visiting singer's lips if a certain high note were sung, often tested by guests: "The dilettante in fur was not to be deceived." [Il était impossible de tromper sur la note cette chatte dilettante.]

Excerpted in Champfleury, The Cat, Past and Present, "Supplementary Notes by the Translator" (1869) [tr. Hoey (1885)]
Added on 15-Dec-20 | Last updated 15-Dec-20
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Before a Cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream.

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American-British poet, critic, playwright [Thomas Stearns Eliot]
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, “The Ad-dressing of Cats” (1939)
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Added on 1-Dec-20 | Last updated 1-Dec-20
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I love in the cat that independent and almost ungrateful temper which prevents him from attaching himself to anyone; the indifference with which he passes from the salon to the housetop. When you caress it, it stretches itself out and arches its back, indeed; but that is caused by physical pleasure, not, as in the case of the dog, by a silly satisfaction in loving and being faithful to a master who returns thanks in kicks. The cat lives alone, has no need of society, does not obey except when it likes, and pretends to sleep that it may see the more clearly, and scratches everything that it can scratch.

[J’aime dans le chat, ce caractère indépendant et presque ingrat qui le fait ne s’attacher à personne, cette indifférence avec laquelle il passe des salons à ses gouttières natales; on le caresse, il fait gros dos; mai c’est un plaisir physique qu’il éprouve, et non, comme le chien, une niaise satisfaction d’aimer et d’être fidèle à un maître qui l’en remercie à coups de pied. Le chat vit seul, il n’a nul besoin de société, il n’obéit que quand il veut, fait l’endormi pour mieux voir, et griffe tout ce qu’il peut griffer.]

François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848) French writer, politican, diplomat
In Comte de Marcellus, Chateaubriand et son Temps (1859)
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Added on 17-Nov-20 | Last updated 17-Nov-20
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The cat is not in the long run anxious to please.

Thomas Owen (T. O.) Beachcroft (1902-1988) English writer
Just Cats (1936)
Added on 10-Nov-20 | Last updated 10-Nov-20
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I never saw an author in my life — saving perhaps one — that did not purr as audibly as a full-grown domestic cat on having his fur smoothed the right way by a skillful hand.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894) American poet, essayist, scholar
The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, ch. 3 (1858)
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Added on 11-Mar-20 | Last updated 11-Mar-20
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It’s a cat, singular. A solitary diurnal ambush hunter with good hearing and binocular vision and a predilection for biting the neck of its prey in half while disemboweling it with the scythe-like claws on its hind legs. Basically it’s a velociraptor with a fur coat and an outsize sense of entitlement.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Rhesus Chart (2014)
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Added on 30-May-17 | Last updated 30-May-17
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After we do the washing-up, I get to spend the rest of the evening reading FAQs on cat maintenance on the web. It takes about half an hour to come to the unwelcome realization that they’re almost as complex as home-brew gaming PCs, and have even more failure modes. (When your gaming PC malfunctions it doesn’t stealthily dump core in your shoes.)

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Rhesus Chart (2014)
Added on 9-May-17 | Last updated 9-May-17
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It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.

Deng - cat is black or white - wist_info quote

Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) Chinese revolutionary, politician, statesman [Teng Hsiao-p'ing]
Speech, Communist Youth League conference (Jul 1962)

There are a variety of translations, and Deng used the phrase on numerous occasions.
Added on 5-Aug-16 | Last updated 5-Aug-16
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I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
(Attributed)
Added on 8-Jul-16 | Last updated 8-Jul-16
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[T]he behaviour of the cat was somewhat peculiar. It was soon noticed that when there was work to be done the cat could never be found. She would vanish for hours on end, and then reappear at meal-times, or in the evening after work was over, as though nothing had happened. But she always made such excellent excuses, and purred so affectionately, that it was impossible not to believe in her good intentions.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
Animal Farm, ch. 3 (1945)
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Added on 26-Apr-16 | Last updated 26-Apr-16
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Look, I tried the cat experiment. On the third trial, the cat was dead. On each of the subsequent 413 trials, it remained dead. Am I doing something wrong?

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“SCHRODINGER’S CAT??” sci.physics, Usenet (11 Mar 1992)
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Added on 1-Feb-16 | Last updated 1-Feb-16
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For, though the room was silent, the silence of half a hundred cats is a peculiar thing, like fifty individual silences all piled one on top of another.

Susanna Clarke (b. 1949) British author
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004)
Added on 25-Jun-14 | Last updated 25-Jun-14
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Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare;
At whatever time the deed took place — MACAVITY WASN’T THERE!

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American-British poet, critic, playwright [Thomas Stearns Eliot]
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, “Macavity: The Mystery Cat” (1939)
Added on 22-Feb-13 | Last updated 26-Apr-16
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When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me.

[Quand je me joue á ma chatte, qui sçait si elle passe son temps de moy plus que je ne fay d’elle.]

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
“Apology for Raymond Sebond,” Essays, Book 2, ch. 12 (1580) [tr. Frame (1958)]

Alternate translation: "When I play with my cat, who knows whether she isn't amusing herself with me more than I am amusing myself with her?"
Added on 16-Jan-09 | Last updated 20-Jul-21
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One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Tragedy of Pudd’n’head Wilson, ch. 7, epigraph (1894)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-May-16
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Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.

Joseph Wood Krutch (1893-1970) American educator, writer, critic, naturalist
Twelve Seasons, “February” (1949)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 15-Jun-21
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