Since 26,000 years ago, dogs have been dubbed as “a man’s best friend” — a stereotype that is profoundly unfair for the feline population. Like the pink-for-a-girl versus blue-for-a-boy dichotomy, cats are always portrayed with affectionate ladies and dogs to strong men. Is it weird for a man to bond with a cat? Does having a cat stain the perfect image of masculinity in men? Are there men who love cats?
While a significant portion of the male population walks away from embracing feline companionship, some men gravitate towards the purr, knead, meow, and bunts of the fluffy feline species.
10 Great Men in History Who Loves Cats
Here is a list of cat-loving gentlemen, the brave individuals who allowed themselves to be inspired by their cats in their journey to being a legend.
1. Haruki Murakami (World Renowned Novelist) – The cat-loving novelist
For Murakami, a superstar novelist and a reluctant celebrity, cats are as thrilling as his novels. Before writing stories about deep wells, interdimensional hotels, and strange libraries, he worked on a jazz bar called “Peter Cat” that he owned. At age forty, he began writing best-selling novels in the company of his feline friends named Sundance, Calico, Mackerel, Kirin, Muse, Scotty, Black, and Butch, to name some.
In his writings, one can never doubt that cats dominate his thoughts. From his story entitled Town of Cats (excerpted from his novel “1Q84”), a man by the name Tengo finds himself observing cats’ nocturnal activities. In his other book, the protagonist can talk to feline species.
And when Murakami lost his cat, he advised his fans, “Cats just disappear sometimes. You have to love and appreciate them while they’re near you.”
2. Nikola Tesla (Inventor, Physicist)
Nikola Tesla is a Serbian-American inventor, engineer, Physicist, and designer of the AC electrical system. His personality may resemble an eccentric mad-scientist, but his brilliant mind led to the discovery of rotating magnetic fields, transformers, and to the invention of an induction coil that benefits radio technology.
Tesla once tried to rub the backs of his two cats against each other to generate electricity. In his letter dedicated to someone named Pola Fotitch, he recalled “In the dusk of the evening as I stroked Macak’s back, I saw a miracle which made me speechless with amazement. Macak’s back was a sheet of light, and my hand produced a shower of crackling sparks loud enough to be heard all over the house … My mother seemed charmed — ‘Stop playing with the cat,’ she said. ‘He might start a fire.’ But I was thinking abstractly. Is Nature a gigantic cat? If so, who strokes its back?… I cannot exaggerate the effect of this marvelous night on my childish imagination. Day after day I have asked myself, what is electricity?”
So, if it wasn’t for Macak—Tesla’s black cat and favorite childhood companion, we won’t be enjoying electricity that powers up our cellphones and computers.
3. T.S. Eliot (Poet, Playwright) – The man behind the Cat’s Musical
T.S. Eliot, short for Thomas Stearns Eliot, is one of the most celebrated poets of his time. Igor Stravinsky described him “not only as a great sorcerer of words but as the very key keeper of the language.”Eliot’s writing includes quirky cat poems with feline characters named Rum Tum Tugger, Munkustrap, Old Deuteronomy, Skimbleshanks, Mr. Mistoffelees, and Mungojerrie. This book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, is the inspiration of Andrew Lloyd Webber’ musical “Cats.”
4. Sir Isaac Newton (Physicist, Mathematician) – First cat flap inventor
Aside from being one of the best scientific intellects of all time and having a strong liking for falling apples, Newton is the man who invented freaking calculus! But what kept people wondering is Newton’s invention of a cat flap.
Allegedly, it started when Newton cut a small hole in a door to give cats access through the door as he conducted experiments in a dark attic. Other stories, however, mention that Newton used to cut two holes in his door for his kittens and the mommy feline.
Whether these stories are true, that is for you to decide. Regardless, Newton’s taste in cats or kittens is worth mentioning.
5. Mark Twain (Physicist, Mathematician) – The male version of a crazy cat lady
Perhaps, Mark Twain is one of those that you can call a male version of a crazy cat lady, or at least, a cat hoarder. Why? Well, the ‘Father of American Literature,’ also known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, cared for as many as eleven cats in his Connecticut farm.
Wonder what the best writer-ailurophile named his cats? Here are some that we know of: Blatherskite, Apollinaris, Sour Mash, Beelzebub, Zoroaster, and Bambino. Now, you’ll have an idea the next time you need the inspiration to name your future cats.
6. Maurice Ravel (French composer, Pianist and Conductor)
Maurice Ravel is one of the composers of impressionist music inspired by painters such as Monet, Renoir, and Manet, as well as poets like Baudelaire and Verlaine. He is known for brilliant masterpieces like Tzigane, Bolero, and La Valse.
The great composer, known primarily for his instrumental textures and effects for his melodies or orchestral music, is believed to be a cat lover too. He even lets his feline friends prowl with freedom amongst his music sheets while composing. In fact, Ravel had a particular fondness for his Siamese cats, allowing them to prowl over music sheets and piano keys as he writes down Bolero.
7. Sir Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister) – The man with a cat personnel
Sir Winston Spencer Churchill served as Britain’s prime minister between the 1940s to 1950s. Cats were part of his life that he’s even pictured stopping to greet cats in Liverpool Street Station, London, in 1952.
During his active years, serving as a British prime minister, his cats — namely Tango, Nelson, and Mickey, served as his stress reliever from the intense political and busy environment. These three furry friends even became known by other staff and guests as his essential office personnel. He dined with them during meals and sneaked smoked salmon pieces for them when Churchill’s wife wasn’t looking.
When Winston turned eighty-eight, he was given a very precious gift — a cat named Jock. Jock was welcomed to live with Churchill and his family at the Chartwell estate, even after Churchill’s death two years after. And as per family’s wishes, the line of ginger cats who reside in Chartwell has been continued. So if you have a chance to visit Chartwell estate, be sure to ask for Jock IV.
8. Marlon Brando (American Actor and Film Director) – The Catfather
With a career spanning for around 60 years, Marlon Brando changed the history of the cinema industry. He is considered one of the greatest movie actor of all time. One of the film industry’s bad boys, his brilliant performances in A Streetcar Named Desire, Last Tango in Paris, and The Godfather, to name a few, has made him a screen legend. What many people do not know about this cunning, mercurial and macho character is his love for cats.
In the opening scene of The Godfather, the mafia boss Vito Corleone was shown petting a cat on the day of his daughter’s wedding. Originally, the gray tabby was not on the script. The director allegedly found this cat prancing around the set at Paramount Pictures Studios and in an unexpected moment they decided to roll the camera with Brando holding the cat. While Mafia Boss portrayed by Marlon Brando enjoyed the cat’s purring, it muffled some of his dialogue, and as a result, his lines had to be overdubbed.
And even before the film, Brando was often documented with his beloved cat on publicity photos. The photos show him hanging out with his cat sleeping atop his shoulders while he works on his typewriter. Other images show Brando kissing cats and spending time with them while on a couch.
9. Robert Downey Jr. (American actor) – Cat Rescuer
Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man actor, Robert Downey Jr. is a very dedicated cat lover. But, years ago, he said that he never thought of having cats. Until of course, he met Dartanian and Montgomery (Dart and Monty), two rescue kittens found in a bush somewhere in West Hollywood.
In expressing his extreme fondness and love for the two kittens he adopted, he exclaimed, “To understand the way cats play and fight is to understand the secrets of the universe… I would kill for these young, sweet little feline souls, these two boys. I would protect them with my life.”
Here is a video of Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan, giving a tour of their windmill house, as they explain why Monty and Dart have total control of the house.
10. Ernest Hemmingway (Journalist, War Veteran, and Noted Novelist) – Cat gentleman
Ernest Hemingway started his career as a writer at an early age of seventeen. Then, after serving the First World War, and being a decorated army by the Italian environment, he became a reporter for both American and Canadian newspapers.
During the twenties, he joined the group of expatriate called Lost Generation with Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. And despite his portrayal of a macho writer/reporter, he still embodied the features of a cat gentleman of enormous proportions. In fact, he accepted a cat given to him by a ship’s captain, even if it was a polydactyl (six-toed) cat.
Hemingway — a great writer of prose and short stories — even said, “One cat just leads to another.”