Mark Twain: The Great Cat Lover

Twain poses with a cat in his signature white outfit, circa 1906. (Samuel Clemens / Albert Bigelow Paine / 1906 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution / Gift of John Seelye)

Health Editor’s Note: I am in total agreement with Mr. Twain with his liking of cats more than most people. Lots of cat loves around here…Carol  

Mark Twain Liked Cats Better Than People

by Kat Eschner/

Mark Twain, AKA Samuel Clemens, turned his signature wit to a number of subjects–boyhood, the legend of King Arthur and even cats. “If man could be crossed with the cat,” he once wrote, “it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

Twain was far from being alone in his love of cats: many famous nineteenth- and twentieth-century American writers kept and loved cats, among them T.S. Eliot, Patricia Highsmith and Ernest Hemingway, according to Sean Hutchison writing for Mental Floss. Much like Hemingway’s ailurophilia (it means “love of cats”) left a tribe of six-toed kitties in Key West, Twain’s interest in cats took its own strange twists and turns. Here’s the inside scoop:

He gave them illustrious names

Twain owned up to 19 cats at one time, writes Livius Drusus for Mental Floss, “all of whom he loved and respected far beyond whatever he may have felt about people. His cats all bore fantastical titles, among them: Apollinaris, Beelzebub, Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill, Satan, Sin, Sour Mash, Tammany, Zoroaster, Soapy Sal and Pestilence, writes Drusus.

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