A cat does not live with one; rather, one lives with a cat

happy cat

Mysterious but also superior in good sense and understanding

The tales and legends dealing with cats always present them as being not only mysterious but also superior in good sense and understanding to our own species. There was Dick Whittington’s cat who made his master’s fortune as surely as Puss-In-Boots wrought favorably for the somewhat stupid and feckless young man who inherited his services.

Perhaps it is because cats do not live by human patterns, do not fit themselves into prescribed behavior, that they are so united to creative people. Always the cat remains a little beyond the limits we try to set for him in our blind folly. A cat does not live with one; rather, one lives with a cat.

by Andre Norton (February 17, 1912 – March 17, 2005)
from Catfantastic. Nine Lives and Fifteen Tales
introduction – Speaking of Cats – A Very Weighty Subject
image – Jack Brodus

Cat Tales

Dick Whittington’s Cat and Puss-In-Boots are both folktales about marvelous, resourceful cats whose special skills helped their human comrades make good in the big, wide world.

The real Mr. Whittington was Lord Mayor of London in 1400. No solid records exist about his cat, but the tradition remains of a beggar boy who earned a penny and bought a superior mouser. The boy sent the cat away on a merchant vessel, as his contribution to the ship’s cargo. The ship’s captain returns with a small fortune for the boy: a king with a rat-infested palace eagerly paid a small fortune for the cat. With money to spare, the boy becomes a generous gentleman and a rich merchant.

Puss-In-Boots is a brilliant trickster and gallant friend. Unbeknownst to his feckless master, Puss-In-Boots vanquished an ogre, claimed a castle and befriended a king with a beautiful daughter. When the “master” moves into the castle and marries the daughter, one can only assume that the cat is pleased to luxuriate right alongside his humans.

Add Martin Harry Greenberg, co-editor along with Andre Norton, to a series of five Catfantastic books with a long list of talented authors, and classic cat stories are only the beginning of the backstory.


You may have noticed me using human style pronouns when describing cats. Technically, a cat is an “it,” not a “who” or a “he.” Us cat people can get wobbly over the “it-ness” of critters – once animals move from possession to companion, never again an are they an “it.”

One more thing – didja notice me successfully using the word “feckless” in a sentence? LOL!

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3 Responses to “A cat does not live with one; rather, one lives with a cat”

  1. starla Says:

    I also have a cat, All white except for a few strands of black. His name is Oli, named after Oliver Twist. He has one blue eye and one gold eye. YOu got it right when we live with a cat not the other way around. He is mischievious in every sense of the word…when he was younger he knock things down it seemed on PURPOSE just to see how we would react. In the first year we had him, his favorite thing to do was to sit on my husbands chest starring at him until he opened his eyes in the morning. As soon as his eyes opened Oli would sneeze in his face…EVERY MORNING :0) LOL

  2. clarissa mcfairy Says:


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