Debut and Emerging Writers’ Cats

August 7, 2018

Behind many successful authors is a furry companion who offers creative inspiration (and also probably falls asleep on the keyboard from time to time). Face it, we have all seen plenty of pictures of the likes of Joyce Carol Oates and Ernest Hemingway with their cats. So, we decided to ask some of our favorite recent debut authors and our readers for pictures of their cats so that we could share them with other aspiring novelists and avid animal lovers. Because life is hard enough and cats are adorable. Check out these cute kitties (and a few dogs, too).

“My rescue tabby, Beezus (named, of course, after Beatrice Quimby of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books), invariably spends her mornings with me in my second-floor home office (also known as “her” room, though the dog will usually join us too). Both pets are moderately well trained to not expect much from me while at work, and Beezus is most helpful to my writing when distracted by the view onto our Southwest Detroit street (as pictured) or when passed out on her nearby favorite chair. While the pets’ proximity alone lends a certain moral support, their patience has its limits, and the sudden, willful presence of Beezus in my lap (or the urgent demand to throw a ball) has been known to clear the mind when stuck on some needless hurdle.” -Katie Chase, author of MAN AND WIFE

“Daisy (who’s technically my parents’ dog, but who’s counting?) occasionally rests her head on my keyboard, forcing me to sit back and consider what I’ve written. For this crucial bit of guidance in the revision process, I am forever indebted to her. And when she’s not helping me edit, she’s asleep on my feet, keeping them warm—and keeping me happy.” -Rachel Z. Arndt, author of BEYOND MEASURE




“I knew Mizu was the one when he hissed at me as I reached in to pet him at the shelter. He’s mostly a morning and late night cat, affectionate and talkative, needling away at my lap when I try to relax. But come time to write, he’s reclusive, a lump under the covers, which is exactly what I need.” -Glori Simmons, author of CARRY YOU and SUFFERING FOOLS


“I am pleased to present Mittens and Nermal, a.k.a. my Cat Council. Their main roles: sitting on whatever I am reading, looking forlorn, judging, and knocking over plants.” Frankie Concepcion is a writer from the Philippines and has been living in the U.S. for almost a decade. Her fiction, essays, and poetry have been published internationally in editorials such as Waxwing, Vagabond City, Rappler, and The Toast. In 2018, Frankie will begin the process of applying for Permanent Residence in the United States. Her latest project, Leaving, is her humble attempt at documenting what it is like to try, and still want to be, an immigrant in America.

“Mr. Biscuits (the pup) has been with me since 2009. He may look old and grumpy, but he’s a fantastic listener. I’m constantly bouncing ideas off of him as he sits in my lap eating my Triscuits and cheese. He does leave enough scraps for me, though, usually. I always know when I have a good idea because he will lick my face. (Yawns are no good, though.) As for Ms. Muffins, she’s a newer addition to the household. She doesn’t appear to take much interest in my writing. She seems to think my freshly printed manuscripts are a scratching post purely for her pleasure, and forget about when I’m trying to highlight—she will rip the highlighter right out of my hand” Christine Jenkins


“I spend my time writing personal essays about the experiences I have with elderly folks that I have the privilege of taking care of and being friends with. Many of my day to day experiences with these wonderful people lead to funny as well as inspiring moments. Jasmine can usually be found laying by my side but her favorite place is actually with her face right up in my computer screen as if she is proof reading my notes! She’s a rescue cat that has been part of our family for 11 years now.”Linda Fereira



“Fable supports me by reminding me to take a break sometimes. He’s pretty patient most of the day, he takes himself for a walk, or dozes nearby. But he keeps an eye on the clock and when he thinks I’ve been on the laptop long enough, he intervenes by sitting himself down on the keyboard and refusing to move until fuss has been given. Then I start again refreshed (& occasionally he does a bit of editing while he’s there, which is less welcome).” -Jennifer Holdich




“Chloe is always there to keep me company while I write. She’s also the sweetest cat in the world. There’s not much to her. She’s always been laid back and calm.”Laurie Riney, about her late cat Chloe







“This is Bruno. He came to me out of a storm 9.5 years ago. He was wicked and wild and attacked my feet like they were furry little marsupial snacks. I tamed him. Now his favorite place to lie is across my arms and keyboard—when he’s not guarding the lettuce, that is.” -Katie Masters






This is JoJo, editor-at-large of The Masters Review. She gives wonderful developmental feedback and likes to help us with our correspondence. She also reminds us that sometimes the best inspiration comes after taking a little break.








Thank you to all the readers who sent us pictures of their cats! We received so many snapshots of your furry muses that unfortunately we could not share them all on the site but we really enjoyed them. We plan to continue to share on social media.


At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

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