The American literature icon Mark Twain may have penned your favorite English class reads, but beyond his life as a writer, he was also a great lover of cats. No, it's not a joke when Twain said he preferred cats over people, also believing that “cats improve the lives of men”. Twain even wrote, “If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” He wrote about them a lot, as evident in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer where multiple random felines make appearances.
In fact, Twain gave his cats fantastical names, Apollinaris, Beelzebub, Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill, Satan, Sin, Sour Mash, Tammany, Zoroaster, Soapy Sal and Pestilence, writes Drusus. When he’s away from his own cats, he’d rent them. A famous anecdote was in Dublin, New Hampshire, where he rented three kittens in the summer of 1906. He named one of them Sackcloth and Ashes.
One time, Twain lost a black cat named Bambino in New York and had put up an ad in the New York American with a $5 reward for restoration. Katy Leary, a biographer of Mark Twain for the book “A Lifetime with Mark Twain” said that a lot of people came bringing in cats to their house (unfortunately the people really just wanted a meet-and-greet with Twain). Katy found Bambino two or three night after across a street in General Sickles' backyard and was finally brought home.
Of course, the American writer was beyond happy. Check out these photos of him petting his feline friends.
Images are from the public domain.