Channelling cats by Kirsten Bett
Image by Viviane Monconduit from Pixabay
I love it when cats tell the story. One of the best books I read was Jennie by Paul Gallico. On my favourite app Good Reads I looked it up again because my umpteenth copy has long gone missing... Do you know it? It's about a boy who wakes up as a cat. He does not know how to be a cat but luckily he meets Jennie, a real cat who teaches him all he has to know.
This is my memory, and it often fails so maybe I am getting it all wrong. My point is: can books be written from a cat's point of view. My answer is: yes of course they can. Why not?
But then I remember when enrolling into a writing course, I was told in no uncertain terms that cats made flat story tellers. So for a long time, I didn't. And then I read another fantastic cat book: The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa. I am looking at a copy right now. It is not so much what is said in the story but what is left out. The travelling happens in Japan and follows the cat Nana and Sartoru on their road trip.
The Cat Chronicles gave me the idea to write a book about our 10-year move to the other side of the world and back again, seen through the eyes of our cat Wilma. I am on the second draft now and some days wonder if it will ever see the light of day. In an interview with Wilma, she gave me just the advice I needed: "Just get it done."
As Ernest Hemmingway appears to have said, probably in one of his more sober moods: "A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not."