The Curious Lover of Cats

Author and illustrator Edward Gorey cares for cats - and other animals - even after his death.


The name Edward Gorey may not ring any bells – at first – but picture a pen-and-ink drawing of a family in high-society, Victorian dress (all furs, straw boaters and sailor suits), attending funerals and creating murder, mischief and mayhem — and you instantly know who this talented author, illustrator and arts lover is. From his first book, The Unstrung Harp (1953) until his death in April 2000, Gorey has not only produced more than 100 books, illustrations, costume and set designs of his own, but has also illustrated the works of countless authors, from Charles Dickens to Raymond Chandler.

What you may not know about Gorey, however, is that he loved cats. In a 1978 interview with Cats magazine, included in Karen Wilkin’s book on Gorey, Ascending Peculiarity, Gorey said, “I got my first cat when I was about 7.” Since then, and with the exception of time spent at Harvard and in the Army, Gorey said he always had cats – “all of them shorthairs.” And all of which he kept indoors. “Indoor cats don’t lose their wildness, which is one reason I am so fascinated by them,” he said. “They seem to retain all of their jungly qualities no matter what.”

**Get the November 2011 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article or click here to purchase a PDF version.**


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