Cat Stories: Calvin, The Literary Muse

Cat storiesAs we know, cats are extraordinary and once in a while a superior feline comes along.  There are many cat stories about extremely talented felines. One rare feline find was Calvin, the four-legged muse for two writers in the mid-nineteenth century.

Calvin was a Maltese cat that found his way into author Harriet Beecher Stowe’s household.  He quickly made himself at home, so comfortable with his life there that he would often perch on Stowe’s shoulders as she wrote.  Calvin’s self-confidence was matched by his intelligence.  Charles Dudley Warner, a family friend, went so far as writing that Calvin understood pretty much everything except binomial theorem!

When Stowe decided to move from New England to Florida, Warner was given custody of Calvin.  Warner wrote that Calvin would pull his sleeve until he got Warner’s attention, touched his face, then went on his way.  Calvin was able to open doors on his own, and heat vents when he was cold.  It seemed Calvin could do anything he set his mind to, except speak.  Warner wrote that it seemed one could see the longing to speak on Calvin’s face.

The talented feline became such an important part of Warner’s family that when Calvin passed away, Warner wrote a eulogy for him in a book of essays called My Summer In A Garden.  The eulogy, called Calvin (A Study of Character) became nationally famous.  Following is a sample from the piece:

“He was always a mystery.  I did not know whence he came.

I do not know whither he has gone.

I would not weave one spray of falsehood in the wreath I lay upon his grave.”

By inspiring these authors Calvin became a permanent part of the literary landscape.

To read more stories of extraordinary felines, check out 100 Cats Who Changed Civilization by Sam Stall, available on

Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.