I have been reading quite a few short stories over the last few months, mainly to look at structure as I have a few short stories I wish to write. But having read so many I am wondering whether, in fact, the cat is a staple ingredient to the short story. Seriously, so many stories I have read seem to be progressing quite comfortably, and then there is a cat to throw the proverbial spanner in the works.
Now you must understand: I love cats. I grew up with cats. I miss not having cats around every day now. This blog not a criticism, it is an attempt to understand why the naughty feline sneaks so easily into stories that are otherwise completely unrelated to cats, pets, or indeed naughtiness. I’m sorry but it so often just puts me in mind of Sylvester in the Tweety Pie cartoons where things would just run so smoothly if it weren’t for that pesky cat’s interference.
I know that a bit of the writer ends up in the story, it is inevitable and I have found it in my own writing. But are we so attached to our cats that we cannot bear to leave them out of a story even if it would have worked perfectly well without them? Has the cat become the parrot on our shoulders?