Literary Cats and Ailurophile Authors

Copyright: Rosina Wachtmeister; Retrieved from

Copyright: Rosina Wachtmeister; Retrieved from

For some unknown reason, good or bad, literary types have often been associated with the loving of cats. Not that dogs, birds, and the occasional fish haven’t been featured in classic and modern literature, but literary cats seem to carry a distinctive charm of their own. There’s the famous Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, Thomas Gray’s poor kitty that drowned in a goldfish bowl, Suess’ The Cat in the Hat, Kafka’s many furry creatures, and more recently Chibi, the lovable feline from Takashi Hiraide’s unlikely bestseller, The Guest Cat. We at Artful Dodge are a bunch of cat-lovers too and our editor, poet and professor Daniel Bourne, is perhaps the biggest of us all! Here’s a recent enough poem of his that appears in the 50th anniversary issue of Salmagundi literary magazine, alongside works by Joyce Carol Oates and Nadine Gordimer:

To the Feral Cats of Vilnius

(On the Occasion of the First European Union Translators’ Conference at the University of Vilnius, April 24, 1998)

Here in the unexpected sun of Vilnius, why

am I even concerned, feeling oh poor kitty sorry

for the tangled fur and whiskers

skittering across the cobblestone

from a coal-stained grate to a black disappearance

on the other side of the street? On every avenue

there is re-building, one of the few places on earth

where the jackhammer is a pleasure,

where the colors of t-shirts

are themselves a statement

that the dead season has ended,

that the feathers now may be brighter, the nests filled

with dazzling spots on the eggs;

even the sounds of heavy metal

are a brief and delicate birdsong. Meanwhile, singing

or only engaging in rumors of song (they themselves

don’t know which), a small covey of translators

try to build a new tower of babel,

using words this time instead of bricks…

Visit our official website at to read more awesome prose and poetry!

Meow meow,
Ananya Shrestha
Asst. Editor

Copyright: Irina; Retrieved from

Copyright: Irina Usachewa;
Retrieved from

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Ohio based literary magazine, now over twenty years old, still in print, and gradually spreading across the digital world. Official Website:
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