Lovecraft’s Views on Cats (and Dogs), Their Function in His Selected Works, and Their Relevance for Today

This post is by John A. DeLaughter, a Lovecraft eZine contributor.

What did Albert Einstein, Sir Winston Churchill, George Burns and H.P. Lovecraft have in common?  Other than death?

Each person was a cat owner.

Einstein kept a tomcat named Tiger, who often got depressed when it rained.  Churchill’s marmalade cat Jock slept with his master, shared his dining table, and attended war-time Cabinet meetings.  George Burns called his cat “Willie”, because if he told the cat to do something, it was a question of “will he, or won’t he” (1).

And HPL owned a black cat, based upon its well-known, racist name.  Of course, a horror writer would own a black cat.  Lovecraft probably did not choose the animal, to heighten his uncanny aura.

Why are black cats linked to Halloween and bad luck?  How did Lovecraft use canines and felines in a sampling of his stories?  How pervasive was HPL’s affection for cats and the place of dogs in his universe?  And is HPL’s attitude towards cats and dogs relevant in today’s culture?

Together, I hope we can share a few thoughts on those questions.

Black Cats Symbolize.

To begin our discussion, why are black cats a symbol of Halloween and bad luck?

During the Dark Ages, a black cat was thought to be a Witch’s Familiar Spirit or a Witch in disguise:

“…Alley cats were often cared for…by…poor lonely old ladies…later accused of witchery. Their cat companions, some…black…were…guilty of witchery by association. This belief was taken up a notch…[by]…a father and son in Lincolnshire in the 1560′s…The pair were…traveling one…night when a black cat crossed their path…They threw rocks at the furry feline until the…injured creature scurried…into a woman’s house…suspected of being a witch.  The next day, the father and son came across the same woman and noticed she was limping… [They]…believed that to be more than just a coincidence. From that day on…it was thought that witches could turn into black cats at night…” (2).

So, once black cats were linked to bad omens, curses, and witches, the bad rap was unshakeable.  You can also see how that association spills over Halloween.

Besides mystic connotations, what other symbolic trappings has grown up around the black cat?

The black cat, with an arched back, claws and teeth bared, is closely associated with anarchism. It was first popularized by the Industrial Workers of the World (or IWW) union in the early 20th century.  As its stance implies, the black cat is meant to suggest wildcat strikes and radical unionism.

Use of the black cat as a union symbol originated:

“…from an IWW strike that was going badly. Several members had been beaten up and were put in a hospital. [Then]…a skinny, black cat walked into the striker’s camp. The cat was fed by the striking workers and as the cat regained its health, the strike took a turn for the better. Eventually the striking workers got some of their demands and they adopted the cat as their mascot” (3)

Thus, beyond its mystic and socialistic undertones, the black cat could symbolize Azathoth, the cosmic anarchy that rules the Lovecraftian Universe.

Lovecraft’s Use of Dogs and Cats in a Survey of His Works:

Now, let us review some ways Lovecraft used dogs and cats as literary devices to heighten the uncanny tension in his stories.  He used the animals as one might string cobwebs to enliven the eerie atmosphere of a haunted house.

HPL described the importance of such “atmosphere touches” in good horror literature:

“Atmosphere is the all-important thing…the final criterion of authenticity is…the creation of a given sensation…A weird story whose intent is to teach or produce a social effect, or one in which the horrors are…explained away by natural means, is not a genuine tale of cosmic fear; but…such narratives often possess, in isolated sections, atmospheric touches which fulfil every condition of true supernatural horror-literature…The one test of the really weird is simply this—whether…there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers; a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes and entities on the known universe’s utmost rim. And of course, the more completely and unifiedly a story conveys this atmosphere, the better it is as a work of art in the given medium” (4).

In this discussion, I would like to examine HPL’s primary work associated with each beast – The Hound, as a canine tale, and The Cats of Ulthar, as a feline tale.

Beyond the specific animal stories, I will reference HPL’s use of dogs and cats elsewhere in his fiction.

Dogs in Selected Lovecraft Tales:

Lovecraft had a definite preference for cats, a facet of the man we will explore in detail later.  However, when it came to his writing, he gave equal, if not greater billing to dogs.

On some level, HPL found dogs to be more useful in his storylines than they were in real life.

The Hound

Besides The Hound, Lovecraft steered clear of the use of supernatural dogs – werewolves – the staple of fashionable Gothic horror.

In that work, the beast was atypical – the curse was on an object.  The bane only fastened itself on a person, as he or she possessed the amulet.  Yet, control of the talisman meant death to its bearer; it did not turn a person (or persons) into a werewolf.

HPL did not explain why the cursed pendant changed the grave-bound ghoul into a supernatural beast, while it meant only death to earth-bound ghouls.

Full moons held no significance to the Dutch-speaking ghoul that rose from the grave to seek the talisman’s return.  Unlike classic werewolves, the beast flew, though in select instances, it left footprints.  Those footprints were “utterly impossible to describe”, not the common over-sized canine prints, left by Lon Chaney Jr. or a loup-garou.

The Hound was attended by an escort of bats, more stereotypical of a vampire than a werewolf.   Also, HPL’s beast arose from a sepulchred skeleton, which is typical of a vampire yarn.  Usually, the wolf man’s curse fell on a live person.

Lastly, unlike The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901), no rational explanation awaited those who investigated baying on the moors.

In The Hound, HPL exploded the conventions of vampire and werewolf storylines. His use of misdirection – applying common monster themes to an uncommon beasty – set apart his work from others and heightened the uncanny ambiance of the tale.

Dogs in Other Lovecraftian Works:

Now, let us examine Lovecraft’s use of dogs in other nooks of his literary mansion.

One, look at how dogs act in HPL’s tales that include wizards.  The wizard Ephraim Waite, sheathed in the psyche of his daughter Asenath Waite, “…could make any dog howl by certain motions of her right hand” (5). Dogs do not like Asenath either, though Lovecraft does not make it clear, whether they abhorred the wizard in her, or loathed her Innsmouth’s parentage.

When dogs join in a howling chorus, they often act as canine Geiger counters to the potency of a wizard’s spells.  When Joseph Curwen is resurrected from the Outer Spheres or reduced to his essentials salts in custody, disturbed dogs may go on baying for hours and from distances of a mile away.  Dogs also can be used to track the necromantic byproduct of a wizard’s cabalistic experiments.

Dogs may even be in league with wizards.  More than once, the old Indian caretakers on Joseph Curwen’s farm loosed his dogs against Ezra Weeden’s spying activities (6).

Two, look at how dogs confront the Outer Beings in The Whisperer in Darkness.

Dogs are used as cannon fodder.  When one of the great police dogs dies protecting Henry Akeley from alien encroachment, he was immediately replaced.  The turnover was so bad, the dogs never receive a name.  Some even perished because of friendly fire.  Akeley thought to aim his gun high enough to shoot over his dogs and hit the Outer Beings, but not high enough.

Eventually, Akeley fits gas masks on his dogs, as he intends to gas the fugitives from Yuggoth.

HPL’s use of dogs as canine troops in The Whisperer in Darkness is reminiscent of how nameless, dog-faced doughboys were used in the trench warfare of World War I.

Instinct is Clearer in its Judgments than Intelligence.

As we conclude this section, we see that while dogs had a place in HPL’s cosmos, they played minor, supporting roles.

Beyond The Hound, dogs served specific purposes.

One, dogs represent how nature recognizes and responds to visceral evil and the invisible world, well before rational human beings react.

Why?

“…I readily believe that there are more invisible than visible Natures in the universe. But who will explain for us the family of all these beings, and the ranks and relations and distinguishing features and functions of each? What do they do? What places do they inhabit? The human mind has always sought the knowledge of these things, but never attained it…” (7).

HPL’s use of dogs embodied the idea that primitives were closer to the “truth” and “reality” of the cosmos than “civilized” or modern man.  Instinct is clearer in its judgments than intelligence.

Dead to nature, enlightened human beings best watch their furry friends, to avoid unwanted entanglements with unseen entities.  Even with night-vision goggles, run-of-the-mill humans lack the ability to see into HPL’s darkness.

I want to make it clear, the rationalist Lovecraft did not have to believe in Primitivism to utilize its results, for the ambiance it invoked.

Cats in Selected Lovecraft Tales:

Next, let us turn to how Lovecraft used cats in some of his stories.

Given Lovecraft’s partiality for cats, it surprises me how few cats appear in comparison to dogs in the HPL cannon.

However, when cats do appear, they play bigger roles than dogs do.

Felines star in The Cats of Ulthar, and play prominent, though more supporting roles in The Rats in the Walls and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.  On one level, the colors of cats are mentioned, where the colors of dogs is not.  Cats are individualized, while dogs are generalized.

How else does Lovecraft set cats apart from dogs?

The Cats of Ulthar:

Lovecraft begins the tale, with a mood-setter about cats:

“For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroe and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten” (8).

There is more to a cat than meets the eye.

Here, Lovecraft enwraps cats with the enigmatic trappings of the Sphinx and its suggestion of the dark mysteries of ancient Egypt.  He uses an alternative spelling of Egypt to increase the aura of antiquity surrounding the cat.  The cat is seen as a more ancient figure than the Sphinx, and bears in its person, attachments to lores so old, the Egyptian Totem was unaware of their menacing existence.

Plus, cats bear an unbroken ancestry to the sabre-tooth tigers that watched ancient shamans perform unspeakable rites, around dancing devil flames near the dawn of time in darkest Africa.

Unlike humans, who must acquire a magical standing through arcane arts and gnostic understandings, cats are magic. They innately possess what human beings entirely lack.

And cats have unseen allies that like avenging spirits, may act on a feline’s behalf.

In using this description of cats, Lovecraft paints the present drama against a past diorama.

What Best Said is Left Unsaid.

But, there is more to the story, as Lovecraft portrays the villains in the tale:

“…this old man and woman took pleasure in trapping and slaying every cat which came near to their hovel; and from some of the sounds heard after dark, many villagers fancied that the manner of slaying was exceedingly peculiar. But the villagers did not discuss such things with the old man and his wife; because of the habitual expression on the withered faces of the two, and because their cottage was so small and so darkly hidden under spreading oaks at the back of a neglected yard. In truth, much as the owners of cats hated these odd folk, they feared them more…” (9)

Inferences, the mind’s predilection to read things between the lines, the ocean of tropes each member of his audience possesses – Lovecraft plays on these, in his description of the old couple and their slaying cats.

Exactly, what is playing out behind the walls in that dark corner of town – a bubbling cauldron?  Ritual slayings invoked in dark rites?

What best said is left unsaid.

In the case of the old couple; HPL provokes the dark imagination residence in each of his readers; he dips into the collective symbols of horror, that lie on the edge of their unconscious; rather than invoke in his proses, the vestiges of his own dark ruminations.

HPL, in part, uses a style of narration where:

“The success…depends on learning ways to involve the reader emotionally and inducing what has been called ‘the temporary suspension of disbelief’…In earlier tales, he [HPL] often relied on the excessive use of adjectives rather than the power of suggestion, with disastrous results. But gradually, he learned the value of restraint and of a more realistic approach.  Refining his style, he also refined his method…His narrators are usually scientist or scholars… [who]…exhibit an overcautious tendency to voice unreasonable reservations regarding the fantastic facts they so convincingly and objectively present. As a result, the reader soon becomes convinced that what they… [the narrators]…doubt is actually a dreadful reality” (10).

In The Cats of Ulthar, the narrator reveals more to the reader, than the narrator comprehends.

So, interwoven in the commonplace, is an ancient contest that pits human thaumaturgies against animalistic enchantments, older than the Sphinx.

The Cats of Ulthar may contain other lessons, perhaps unintended by its author:

  1. Do not be cruel to animals,
  2. Beware offending gypsies, who may in turn curse you.
  3. Karma extends to animals, particularly cats.
  4. Just deserts are just deserts.

But given HPL’s own diction – that atmosphere is everything – those “morals to the story” are coincidental.

Cats in Other Lovecraft Tales:

Now, in The Rats in the Wall, Lovecraft further elevates the supernatural status of cats.

In that story, cats sense invisible things that human beings do not:

“I told the man that there must be a singular odour or emanation from the old stonework, imperceptible to human senses, but affecting the delicate organs of cats even through the new woodwork” (11).

Cats also know the alleys and avenues “Not in the spaces we know, but between them…undimensioned and to us unseen” (12).

“They were searching the house for some unknown source of disturbance which had thrown all the cats into a snarling panic and caused them to plunge precipitately down several flights of stairs and squat, yowling, before the closed door to the sub-cellar.”

“He motioned to me to notice that the cats at the door had ceased their clamour, as if giving up the rats for lost; whilst N******man had a burst of renewed restlessness, and was clawing frantically around the bottom of the large stone altar in the centre of the room, which was nearer Norrys’ couch than mine” (13).

Finally, HPL did something rare in The Rats in the Walls: he parodies himself with cats, dogs and gothic:

“What I afterward remembered is merely this — that my old black cat, whose moods I know so well, was undoubtedly alert and anxious to an extent wholly out of keeping with his natural character. He roved from room to room, restless and disturbed, and sniffed constantly about the walls which formed part of the Gothic structure. I realize how trite this sounds — like the inevitable dog in the ghost story, which always growls before his master sees the sheeted figure — yet I cannot consistently suppress it” (14).

I am not going into HPL’s racist cat name in the tale, or in his personal life.  Other notable scholars have taken up that challenge.

Here cats possess the ability to see into the unseen world; while dogs seem only to possess the capacity to see evil manifested in the seen world.

The Dream Quest of Unknown Lovecraft:

Next, let us review another Lovecraft tale, with fifty-three reference to cats: The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath.

But, given the style and flavor of Dream Quest, you wonder: did Lovecraft really write this tale?

Where is the Lovecraft of Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth?

There is a lot of whimsy in Dream-Quest; maybe too much. Where is our favorite Howey, the one driven to distraction by cosmic dread?

OK, back to the topic: Dogs and cats in Lovecraft.

It is almost like, when you come to this story, a Monty Python player pops up and says, “…Now for something completely different…”

Dream Quest is one of those tales.

Quietly cats go about their business in the prosaic world; it is in the dream world, where the mystic inner world of cats is fully revealed.

They walk, they talk.  They form armies; they fly to the moon. Cats act as a child might imagine they would.

Cats can do anything the author needs them to do, to further the story.  Or at least it feels that way.

Is the waking life real, or is the dream world real life?  Or does it matter?

As one reviewer put it:

“…the Dreamlands are a sort of pastoral fantasy world of fabulous cities and faraway dangers, where the people worship the mysterious but apparently benign Gods of Earth, and the Gods of Earth are secretly ruled over by Nyarlathotep, the eloquent but cruel messenger of Azathoth, the mindless and hostile Supreme God… At the heart of existence, Azathoth claws and pounds, but here on earth—or dream-earth—there is beauty and playfulness and adventure” (15).

So, even if chaos reigns, as long as you have a cat by your side, things are good somewhere.  Perhaps, in this tale, Lovecraft returned to the naïve innocence of his early childhood, to escape, if only for a moment, the crushing commonplaces of a prosaic adulthood and its devastating ennui.

Did Lovecraft have Cats in the Belfry?

Now we will move away from dogs and cats in Lovecraft’s literature, to discuss his personal views about those animals.

Was Lovecraft’s choice of a pet, a minor topic or major theme in his life?

“No summary of Lovecraft’s life is complete without a mention of his passionate devotion to cats…He only owned one cat in his lifetime, but fed and named every alley cat he found” (16).

Naturally, one’s preference in the matter of cats and dogs depends wholly upon one’s temperament and point of view.

As Mark Twain said, “If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”

Like Twain, Lovecraft had definite opinions about cats and dogs, and their owners.  HPL expressed those feelings in a post-humorously published article simply entitled: Cats and Dogs.

Dogs in Dialogue:

To start, Lovecraft outlined his thoughts about dog owners:

“The dog would…be the favorite of superficial, sentimental, and emotional people — people who feel rather than think, who attach importance to mankind and…popular conventional emotions of the simple, and…find their greatest consolation in the fawning and dependent attachments of a gregarious society. Such people live in a limited world of imagination; accepting uncritically the values of common folklore, and…preferring to have their naive beliefs, feelings, and prejudices tickled…”

“…Persons of commonplace ideas — unimaginative worthy burghers who are satisfied with the daily round of things and who subscribe to the popular credo of sentimental values — will always be dog-lovers…Dogs are the hieroglyphs of blind emotion, inferiority, servile attachment, and gregariousness — the attributes of commonplace, stupidly passionate, and intellectually and imaginatively underdeveloped men…” (17).

Next, HPL expressed his opinion on the “high” intelligence of dogs:

“In the matter of intelligence we find the caninites making amusing claims…they…naively measure…an animal’s intelligence by its degree of subservience to the human will. A dog will retrieve, a cat will not; therefore…the dog is the more intelligent. Dogs can be more elaborately trained for the circus and vaudeville acts than cats, therefore…they are cerebrally superior…this is…nonsense.  We would not call a weak-spirited man more intelligent than an independent citizen because we can make him vote as we wish…yet countless persons apply… [a]…parallel argument in appraising the grey matter of dogs and cats. Competition in servility is something to which no self-respecting Thomas or Tabitha ever stooped, and it is plain that any…estimate of canine and feline intelligence must proceed from a careful observation of dogs and cats in a detached state — uninfluenced by human beings…” (18).

Nowhere does HPL drop breadcrumbs, to entice dog owners into dialogue over their choice of a canine companion.  He states his opinion in a take it, or leave it manner.

Cats in Conversation:

Next, we will entertain a fuller discussion of Lovecraft’s perspectives on cats and cat owners.

One, HPL states why cats appeal to a particular class of human being:

“…lover of cats…demand…a clearer adjustment to the universe than ordinary household platitudes provide…He is unwilling to set up himself and his cruder feelings as a measure of universal values, or to allow shallow ethical notions to warp his judgment….cats appeal to the sensitive poet-aristocrat-philosopher…when we reflect on the matter of biological association…Cats are the runes of beauty, invincibility, wonder, pride, freedom, coldness, self-sufficiency, and dainty individuality–the qualities of sensitive, enlightened, mentally developed, pagan, cynical, poetic, philosophic, dispassion-ate, reserved, independent, Nietzschean, unbroken, civilised, master-class men…” (19).

Two, HPL compares perceived cat qualities to those he sees in cat owners:

“Watch a cat…in the…chase, and compare his…quiet study of his terrain with the noisy floundering…of his canine rival. [Cats seldom] return empty-handed. He knows what he wants, and…get it in the most effective way, even at the sacrifice of time — which he philosophically recognises as unimportant in the aimless cosmos. There is no turning…aside or distracting his attention…among humans, this is the quality of mental tenacity…the ability to carry a single thread through complex distractions…a…sign of intellectual vigour and maturity. Children…peasants, and dogs ramble, cats and philosophers stick to their point…”

“The superior imaginative inner life of the cat, resulting in superior self-possession, is well known. A dog …depend[s] wholly on companionship, and [is] utterly lost except in packs or by the side of his master. Leave him alone and he does not know what to do except bark and howl and trot about till sheer exhaustion forces him to sleep. A cat…is never without…contentment. Like a superior man, he knows how to be alone and happy. Once he looks about and finds no one to amuse him, he settles down to the task of amusing himself; and no one really knows cats without having…peeked…at some lively and well-balanced kitten which believes itself…alone” (20).

In some sense, Lovecraft loved cats more than he did human beings:

“I have no active dislike for dogs, any more than I have for monkeys, human beings, tradesmen, cows, sheep, or pterodactyls; but for the cat I have entertained a particular respect and affection ever since the earliest days of my infancy” (21).

In summation, according to HPL, dogs are peasants and the pets of peasants, while cats are gentlemen and the pets of gentlemen.

Does Research support Lovecraft’s Dogs and Cats Ideology?

Next, does recent research support assertions Lovecraft made about dog and cat owners almost ninety years ago?

A recent study entitled, “Personalities of Self-Identified ‘Dog People’ and ‘Cat People’”, discusses some traits of dog and cat owners.

People who see themselves as “dog people” (46%) are more extraverted, more agreeable and more conscientious that self-labeled “cat people” (12%) (22).

Cat owners, on the other hand, were purported to be more open and more neurotic:

“The openness trait involves a general appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination, curiosity, and variety of experience. People high on openness are more likely to hold unconventional beliefs while people with low scores on openness (dog people) tend to have more conventional, traditional interests” (23).

A full 28% of the respondents said they owned both dogs and cats.  And 15% of the study participants owned neither animal.  The total respondents were 4,565.

Stanley Coren, who also researched the questions of psychological traits and pet ownership, filled in a few more blanks beyond the Gosling study.  He found that people who owned both dogs and cats, seem to be much like people who own only dogs (24).

Therefore, the openness attribute described in recent studies is similar to Lovecraft’s views on cat owners. And whereas the agreeable and conscientiousness traits of dog owners are presented as positive in the research, Lovecraft saw such idiosyncrasies in a less flattering manner.

I am not one to assume a dogmatic position in concluding this discussion.  My purpose was to present Lovecraft’s opinions against a backdrop of current research.

Some Concluding Thoughts:

As we finalize our discussion, I would like to comment on four elements.

First, great people often seek an escape from their pressured lives through their pets.

Albert Einstein once said: “the only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats…”

H.P. Lovecraft did not have recourse to many “normal” avenues of comfort.  He had no money; his marriage failed; he outgrew traditional sources of succor: religious, societal or otherwise.  He did not drink.  Though a man of keen intelligence, he did not receive the accolades afforded to someone with academic achievements. And his health was never his wealth.

So, was it unusual for HPL to turn to a pet that best fit his personality?

Second, my own views are; it is very difficult to make broad, sweeping assessments of human beings, based upon any criteria.

Your choice of an animal may result from your living circumstances.  Or it may reflect your relationship status.  A dog, house, and children go together in many people’s minds, and is borne out by Coren’s research:

“…cat owners were one third more likely to live alone than dog owners and twice as likely to live in an apartment or flat. Being married, living in a house, and having children living in the home, are all factors that are more likely for dog owners than cat owners. A single woman was the most likely individual to have a cat…” (25).

Yet, pets are an important part of our social and emotional infrastructure. Their value cannot be underestimated. The type of pet a person is attracted to is a great indicator not dictator of that person’s personality.

I am a cat owner; one is an older black cat and one, a younger calico.  Some of the cat owner-traits outlined by Lovecraft and illustrated by Gosling’s study fit me.  But, in some ways, I am more “conservative” than many stereotypical dog owners.

One thing is plain: Gosling’s study of pet ownership stirred up many emotions among its readers. One article that reviewed the paper, on the University of Austin at Texas’ website, recorded 180 back-and forth, dog-versus-cat owner responses.

As one blogger described the tumult:

“The fact that there are so many really heated, emotional comments in regard to this study draws me to conclude that it is indeed important research” (26).

Three, I enjoyed researching Lovecraft varied use of dogs and cats in his stories for effect.

HPL used conventions about vampires and werewolves in The Hound, to break those same conventions.  He wrote The Cats of Ulthar in a minimalistic narrative style, to heighten the readers’ involvement in the tale.   Instinct bests intellect, as few cats are better than an ensemble of scientific and psychic investigators when one confronts ancient horrors in The Rats in the Walls.

Repeatedly, as HPL sought ways to heighten the weird factor in a tale, the use of dogs and cats topped the list.

Finally, let us catch a taste of Lovecraft’s love for cats and the uncanny in his poem entitled:

The Cats

Babels of blocks to the high heavens tow’ring,
Flames of futility swirling below;
Poisonous fungi in brick and stone flow’ring,
Lanterns that shudder and death-lights that glow.

Black monstrous bridges across oily rivers,
Cobwebs of cable by nameless things spun;
Catacomb deeps whose dank chaos delivers
Streams of live foetor, that rots in the sun.

Colour and splendour, disease and decaying,
Shrieking and ringing and scrambling insane,
Rabbles exotic to stranger-gods praying,
Jumbles of odour that stifle the brain.

Legions of cats from the alleys nocturnal,
Howling and lean in the glare of the moon,
Screaming the future with mouthings infernal,
Yelling the burden of Pluto’s red rune.

Tall tow’rs and pyramids ivy’d and crumbling,
Bats that swoop low in the weed-cumber’d streets;
Bleak broken bridges o’er rivers whose rumbling
Joins with no voice as the thick tide retreats.

Belfries that blackly against the moon totter,
Caverns whose mouths are by mosses effac’d,
And living to answer the wind and the water,
Only the lean cats that howl in the waste!

———————-

End Notes:

1)      An Online Article: “A Few Famous Cat-Lovers”, by Glenda Moore, user.xmission.com

2)      An Online Article: “Why Black Cats Are Considered Bad Luck,” by Noreen, Today I Found Out, September 10, 2010.

3)      Iain Mckay, ed. (2008). “Appendix – The Symbols of Anarchy”. An Anarchist FAQ. Stirling: AK Press.

4)      An Essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature”, by H.P. Lovecraft, 1927.

5)      The Thing on the Doorstep: by H.P. Lovecraft, 1933.

6)      The Case of Charles Dexter Ward: by H.P. Lovecraft, 1927.

7)      Burnet’s “Archaeologiae Philosophicae”, (1692) as translated by Samuel Coleridge.

8)      The Cats of Ulthar: by H.P. Lovecraft, 1920.

9)      Ibid., 1920.

10)   An Introduction: “Heritage of Horror”, The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, by Robert Bloch, Del Rey Book, October 1982.

11)   The Rats in the Walls: by H.P. Lovecraft, 1923.

12)   The Dunwich Horror: by H.P. Lovecraft, 1928.

13)   The Rats in the Walls: by H.P. Lovecraft, 1923.

14)   Ibid., 1923.

15)   An Online Essay: “Lovecraft Live”, lovecraftismissing.com, by Jason Thompson. February 9th, 2011.

16)   An online article: “Creator: H.P. Lovecraft”, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/HPLovecraft.

17)   Cats and Dogs: by H.P. Lovecraft, 1926.

18)   Ibid., 1926.

19)   Ibid., 1926.

20)   Ibid., 1926.

21)   Ibid., 1926.

22)   An online article: “Research Shows Personality Differences Between Cat and Dog People”, The University of Texas at Austin, January 13, 2010.

23)   An online article: “Canine Corner: The Human Animal Bond”, Canine Corner, by Samuel Cohen, Psychology Today, February 17, 2010.

24)   Ibid., February 17, 2010.

25)   Ibid., February 17, 2010.

26)   An online article: “Research Shows Personality Differences Between Cat and Dog People”, The     University of Texas at Austin, January 13, 2010.

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