I first wrote this blog in 2012. Recently my computer got two viruses so I was without a computer for almost a week, and since I only got it back and didn’t have time to write a new blog I decided I’d use this one again because I doubt that anyone would remember it anyway. So the authors I used in the first paragraph are none of the later mystery series I became hooked on, although I’m still reading Amanda Flowers many series and the latest has a cat in it, too.
|Brat Cat who tormented Maggie. Pixie now that they're friends.|
Cats are prolific in cozies, and if it’s not a cat, there’s often a dog. Sometimes there are even both, or some other animal. In Amanda Flowers latest series there’s a potbelly pig. Maybe Carolyn Hart started the cat craze in cozies. I’m not sure, but I know it was years ago when I started reading her books. Her character, Annie Darling had a cat named Agatha in her mystery bookstore series. Amanda Flower’s character India Hayes has a cat in one of her series. Lorna Barrett’s character, Tricia, has a cat in her Book own series, while Krista Davis’s character, Sophia, has both a cat and a dog in her Diva mysteries, and then there were the Cat Who . . . series. I’ll admit I tired of them after a while. There are only so many times I could read about a cat licking its private parts. I didn’t think the plots were strong enough to endure that.
Although pets aren’t just in cozies by any means, they are more likely to appear there. Maybe it’s because readers of this genre are looking for something a little less threatening than a police procedural or thriller. And maybe it’s because writers of this genre have cats or dogs. I know most if not all of the authors I mentioned have cats, dogs, or both. In my opinion, there are several reasons why authors include animals in their books
|Maggie loves sleeping in the library near my computer.|
One: Writing is a solitary life. The writer needs to isolate themselves as much as possible to wrote, and unless the writer has another job with social interactions, or an active family living with them. It could be a lonely life. A pet can alleviate some of that loneliness. Enter the cat or dog. They’re a companion, and they sleep a lot giving writers their needed solitude. Over the years following the Guppies list serve among the writers who posted there, cats seemed to be the most popular pet. Perhaps it’s because cats don’t need to be taken out for walk. Also having cats or dogs a writer can write realistically about the animals’ behaviors.
|One of the two rag doll cats my daughter has.|
Two: Pets humanize the protagonist, show a tender side to them, and because both cats and dogs are popular pets, many readers can relate to them. Of course, children can soften a protagonist, too, but children create problems. It’s hard for a sleuth, especially an amateur sleuth, to take of sleuthing on a whim when they have children to consider. Not that it’s impossible, but it’s much easier to leave a cat or dog at home than a child.
In my series, my protagonist, Catherine, has a cat. Eventually she ends up with a dog, too. Her romantic interest, the police chief, who she is now engaged to, had a cat and at the end of the first book, he acquired a dog from the death of a murder victim.
Because I’ve had cats and dogs for years, I find them easy and natural to write about. Do I enjoy reading books without animals? Absolutely! Do I like books with cats and dogs in them? Yes, but only if the book is well written with a good plot. I have a lot of favorite authors who don’t include animals. Cats and dogs are not as important as a protagonist I like and a well written book with a good plot.
Do you include cats or dogs in your work?
Do you have a cat or dog?