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?