Rae Earl: 'Cats and books go together like tea and cake!'
My Mad Fat Diary author Rae Earl has always loved fabulous felines and magnificent moggies, so here she explains how they inspired her latest book #Help! My Cat's A Vlogging Superstar...
Cats and books. Cats and vlogs. Cats just make everything better. They can't help it, they just do. They are inspirational. No wonder the Ancient Egyptians worshipped them - I certainly do. I've written six books and every one of them, whether fiction or non-fiction, has featured a cat in some form or another. Why wouldn't they? Books reflect life and my life is, at any given time, about 34% feline.
Even before I had a pet puss, I really liked stories with cats. My spirit animal when I was five years old was Meg from Meg and Mog. Meg, the witch who always got it wrong, never went anywhere without Mog, her cat. Trying to recreate this magical relationship, I nicked the broom from the kitchen, made a pretend Mog from wool and sellotape and jetted round the living room. Sellotape naturally picks up a lot of house fluff so after no time at all I had a sort of furry and very unhygienic cat.
I got my first real 'Miaow Mate' when I was eight. She was skinny as a rat and pure white. Lots of names were bandied about for her like Snowflake, Snowy and Blizzard, but in the end we just called her White. White was no-nonsense and acted like a paratrooper. She had no fear. She made Alsatians whimper just by looking at them and would surf minibuses. She also, without fail, came to sit at the end of my bed and stared at me while I read.
A girl and her cat have a very special relationship. During the many times in my life when I decided that my bedroom was the absolute best place to be, White was with me. I'd talk to her about the book I was reading and she'd stare. Occasionally she'd attack the paperback or paw at it. I'd stroke her twice then she'd try to bite me. She was a natural rebel but pretty much the perfect reading partner. Always silent and mainly non-violent.
It's a lovely feeling having someone around when you read. It's like being in another world but with a bit of company. Humans expect you to say something eventually. Cats don't. That's why cats and books go together like a cup of tea and cake.
Later when I became a writer, my cat Igor was my muse. Igor came from an RSPCA shelter in Derby. He was as nervous as White was gung-ho and spent most of the first year with us hiding in a bush near our house. I've still got scars from the thorns that attacked me when I rescued him TWICE A DAY.
With the spirit of both White and Igor in mind, my latest book #Help! My Cat's a Vlogging Superstar features a feline called Dave. Dave is a free spirit and my main character Millie's constant companion - whether she likes it or not. Millie starts a vlog and Dave tries to help her.
As we all know, cats RULE social media. I can prove this. You can't spend more than ten minutes on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or any other platform without seeing something cat. Try it now! Cats are gradually taking over and I thoroughly approve. It's only a matter of time before SnapCat becomes a real thing run by a grey tabby called Ezzy. She lives on my street and I've seen her plotting…