Frivolous Friday – The Debate: Talking Cats Versus Non-Talking Cats

By the title of today’s post, you might think I’m referring to vocal cats—those who are constantly “speaking” to you. Experts say that cats don’t “talk” to one another. They picked up that trait from humans. Some breeds seem to have more to say than others—Siamese cats, for example, are notorious for expressing themselves through meows and mews and yowls. Those others noted for their talkativeness are breeds probably linked to the Siamese—Burmese, Tonkinese, Birman…

I’d say that it’s the more intelligent cats who vocalize. They’re probably mimicking their human and they’ve learned that it rewards them with attention, food, or something else they want.

But today my intent is to discuss talking versus non-talking cats in fiction. There are a LOT of cozy mysteries with cats series. My Klepto Cat Mysteries, of course, Sofie Kelly’s Magical Cat Series, Mollie Hunt’s Crazy Cat Lady series, Paige Sleuth’s Cozy Cat Caper Mysteries, Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Joe Grey Mysteries, Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy series, Carole Nelson Douglas’s Midnight Louie series and so many others. Let’s not forget the possible originator of cozy mysteries with cats, Lilian Jackson Braun and her Cat Who series.

A few years ago I was asked to chime in for an article in the Wall Street Journal on talking versus silent cats in novels. We’ve all known talking cats in cartoons and children’s books, but there are also some authors of cozy mysteries and other novels for adults who put words in their cat characters’ mouth. How do you feel about that?

Those of you who know my books, know that my cats do not talk except for a cat-like yowl or meow once in a while. As with the majority of authors of cozy mysteries with cats, the cats have other ways of communicating, being noticed, sharing a secret, uncovering a clue, and so forth. What is your preference—a cat with a voice and a point of view in the fiction you read or an ordinary cat who acts more like a cat—albeit an exceptionally clever, smart, savvy, inquisitive, cunning cat?

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