Suckow and Cats

By Barbara Lounsberry

Ruth Suckow loved cats. In fact, a cat graces the book plate she designed, with Ferner's help. Cats figure notably in numerous Suckow stories and novels—often symbolizing spirited independence.

Here is a sketch of a cat drawn by Ruth.

Here is Ruth with a cat, relaxing outside.

Here is Ruth on a visit to the farm of Mr. E. O. White; on the backside, someone wrote that Ruth had a way of finding cats, if they were around.

Cat lovers will particularly respond to Suckow’s short story “Spinster and Cat” and they will be touched by the presence of cats in other Suckow stories.

  • In “Sunset Camp” in California, Midwesterner Henry Grobaty faces the sunset of his health and life. The tiger cat in the story comes to represent his wife, Nellie, who begins to adapt to the change. Husband and wife’s roles reverse in the face of his fading health, and Henry speaks to the cat on matters he wants to convey to his wife. He tells the cat they will stay.

  • In “One of Three Others” the cat (named Billy Boy) allows Suckow to explore two different types of affection: the devotion shown Billy Boy by one sister versus the care he receives from another.

  • In “The Little Girl from Town,” Patricia, a pretty little girl from town, spends her first day on a farm. Town and rural life are contrasted via barn cats vs. pet shop cats. Patricia names the barn cats after jewels.

Last Updated March 5, 2021

Cherie Dargan, Webmaster