Long before the internet went crazy for cats, writers throughout history wrote our feline friends into their stories - using their quirks, eccentricities and strange but loveable traits to reveal things about other characters in their books. Here are a few of our favourites:
Holly Golightly's cat in Breakfast at Tiffany's (by Truman Capote)
Capote gave us a deeper glimpse into one of literature's most enigmatic and enduring characters - Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's - through the inclusion of a homeless cat she cares for but refuses to name. "Poor slob without a name," laments Holly in the novel. "But I haven't any right to give him one: he'll have to wait until he belongs to somebody. We just sort of took up by the river one day, we don't belong to each other: he's an independent, and so am I." Fun fact: In the film version, Cat was played by a real-life feline called Orangey - a famous marmalade tabby cat who has won two Patsy awards (Oscars for animal actors) for his appearances in many famous films.
Macavity in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (T.S. Eliot)
Many people are familiar with the musical Cats, but few realise it was actually inspired by a collection of whimsical poems written by T.S.Eliot in 1939, entitled Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Perhaps the most memorable feline in the collection (and the musical) is Macavity, the 'Mystery Cat' - a master criminal too clever to leave any evidence behind. Sound like any other cats you know?
Cheshire Cat in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
One of the most well-known cats in literature, the Cheshire Cat and its idiosyncratic mischievous grin has popped up in music, television and numerous adaptions of the original novel since its original publication in 1865.
Behemoth in The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
Russian author Bulgakov created a masterpiece with The Master and Margarita for many reasons - one of them the weird and wonderful character of Behemoth: a giant, demonic black cat who speaks, walks on two legs and can even transform into a human for brief periods of time. Behemoth loves vodka, chess and pistols and is wildly sarcastic. A great character but surely not a cat anyone would like to have as a pet.
Crookshanks in Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling)
Even those not partial to felines found themselves with a soft spot for Crookshanks, Hermione Granger's pet cat in the Harry Potter series. When Harry Potter meets Crookshanks for the first time in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry exclaims, "It was either a very big cat or quite a small tiger." An intelligent, lion-like creature, Crookshanks is central to Hermione's story in the books.