Meow, Woof, Purr: Animals in Romance Novels – Yes Or No?


I admit it. I’m a total Crazy Cat Lady in the making. We have two, a darling, über-friendly tuxedo named Scilla, and a gorgeous but true scaredy-cat Maine Coon mix, Presley. I’d have more, but it’s either get more cats or keep the husband, and I’m rather fond of the husband. So, our tally remains at two.

Presley, Elvis's inspiration.
Presley, Elvis’s inspiration.

However, I decided one way early on to indulge in my love for animals would be to include them in each of my novels, just for fun. They don’t and won’t necessarily play a main part or be central to any plot, but I feel most humans benefit from having a furry creature around, and how people interact with animals sheds a lot of light on a person’s character, don’t you think?

Einstein. I still miss him.

In A Man of CharacterI mention two cats. One, Elvis, is the Maine Coon-esque cat that Cat and Eliza own. He is unashamedly patterned (and named) after my own Presley. And I figured since I had one of my cats thrown in there, might as well throw in another: Einstein, my first cat from when I was younger, also a Maine Coon mix. If you’ve read A Man of Character, you’ll notice I didn’t even change the name! William Dawes mentions his childhood cat, Einstein, and yes, they are one in the same.

English Foxhound Puppy, from

When it came to A Matter of Time, it seemed only natural to move from cats to dogs, not only because household cats were somewhat rarer in that time (though I’ve seen portraits of cats, so clearly people did keep them as house pets), but because a Duke’s estate was bound to have hunting dogs, and likely lots of them. So what better to include in a story than English foxhound puppies, especially an adorable one-eyed pup named Pirate?

In my current work-in-progress, A Scandalous Matter, I’ve given our hero a cat named Ada, after Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron and one of the pioneers of computer science. Because there’s something about a man who loves a cat…

The then-boyfriend, now husband with Chazzy.
The then-boyfriend, now husband with Chazzy.

Speaking of which, for all my husband claims not to be a cat person, when we were dating and he first visited my apartment, my cat at the time, a little muted calico, Chazzy, promptly came out and sat right next to him and purred. This was a cat who didn’t come out for anybody. I decided then and there that was a vote of confidence in my boyfriend’s favor, so I married him. Okay, yeah, there were a few other elements involved, but I do love to tell that (true) story.

How about you? Do you like seeing pets or other animals included in romances? Or could you do without?

Flash Friday Fiction: Carpe Cattus!

Picture of a small orange kitten in dirt near grass.
Kenya kittens. CC2.0 photo by Kerri Lee Smith.

Carpe Cattus – 208 words

I will not go gently into that good cage.

My ancestors were revered in ancient Egypt. In Rome, they threw you to my cousins. In Europe, we made you believe the crazy ladies who hoarded us had magical powers.

We’ve kept the rodent population down for years. You think it serves you. We think of it as lunch.

Now you come at me, all “Here, kitty kitty,” shaking that treat bag.

You plied me with scratching posts, seduced me with chunks of tuna in gravy, hypnotized me with your brushing of my fur.

But I see you for what you really are now. You are evil.

You want to take me to that horrible place, the one with my wailing brethren and, worse of all, DOGS.

You want to let that “doctor” cut off all that makes me who I am, to prevent me from fathering kittens of my own.

I’ll fight tooth and nail to prevent this injustice.

No longer shall I knead your lap for you. No longer shall I make the noises you enjoy. No longer shall I serve to warm your feet in bed.

For I am a lion, the gladiator of my species.

And I will not go gently into that good cage.


This week in our 200 (+/-10) word stories for Flash Friday Fiction, we had to focus on character, incorporating a gladiator somehow into our stories sparked by the photo prompt of this adorable kitten. Say what? I’m hoping my kitten’s gladiator attitude came through…let me know what you think.

And please head on over to Flash Friday Fiction to read and comment on the other offerings, or perhaps enter one of your own!