When I wrote my "Wisconsin" book, Promiscuous Mode, still unpublished, Emma rented a garage apartment in a small town in Wisconsin and the place came with "Cyrano" a stray whom the landlady offered to send to the pound, but Emma demurred and adopted him. The name came from the cat who lived in a (long gone) Wellesley bookstore. As the book advanced, the cat had more importance and at one point was kidnapped (catnapped?) by a bad guy to get back at Emma. Don't worry. Cyrano came out of it fine. When he first showed up, as happens with many of our characters, I had no intention of making him anything except a companion to lonely Emma, away from her home and thrust into an awkward undercover situation. Then he became part of the story.
My other cat as major character is Lucy, a half-grown kitten in my "woman in jeopardy" book, Chased by Death, not published but with an agent. Lucy was also saved from the pound by a spur-of-the-moment adoption. She, too, became an important "character" and travelled across the country in a big RV, disappeared during a thunderstorm and was fondled by a very bad man whom she growled at, once safely under the bed.
I've had cats since I was a child, and we have two now. Since I know cats so well, it's easy to write them into a story. Almost everyone likes animals, and it can make your main character more appealing if she has a lot of flaws.
My latest book, a 1928 historical set in Southern California during prohibition has a cat, Oscar, who again appears to make the characters a bit more loveable. He ends up traveling from Pasadena to Taos by train in a basket. I hope he didn't yodel the whole trip.
Peter Abrahams writing as Spencer Quinn, has a wonderful mysteries series about Chet and Bernie. Chet the dog, who does not have a speaking role, helps solve the crimes. Bernie is the PI. I love these books and other mysteries with cats and dogs. We share our lives with animals, so why not our writing? My cats asked to be included in this post which is going up very late. Do read the other posts on writing with animals
Check out these great "animal" blogs:
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.
Helena Fairfax http://helenafairfax.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.