Cat in the Rain

by

Ernest Hemingway

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The Cat Symbol Icon

When the American wife spots a cat stuck in the rain across the street from her hotel, it strikes a chord in her. This suggests that the creature’s pathetic state encapsulates her own feelings of loneliness and vulnerability. When the wife tells her husband, George, that “It isn’t any fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain,” it echoes her view that her own life is lacking in “fun” and happiness. She feels lonely and vulnerable, something suggested in the long list of unfulfilled desires and wishes she shares with the unsympathetic George. As such, the cat’s plight seems to mirror her own emotions. The wife’s desire for the animal also embodies her desire for close contact and connection. When she returns upstairs to her room, disappointed after failing to find the animal under the café table, she tells George that she wants a cat to sit on her lap and purr while she strokes it. This fantasy of close physical contact and connection with the creature points to the wife’s longing for emotionally intimate bonds, bonds which seem lacking in her marriage to George.

The Cat Quotes in Cat in the Rain

The Cat in the Rain quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Cat. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Longing and Disappointment Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Cat in the Rain published in 1998.
Cat in the Rain Quotes

The American wife stood at the window looking out. Outside right under their window a cat was crouched under one of the dripping green tables. The cat was trying to make herself so compact that she would not be dripped on.

“I’m going down and get that kitty,” the American wife said… “The poor kitty out trying to keep dry under a table.”

Related Characters: The American Wife (speaker), George
Related Symbols: The Cat
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

With the maid holding the umbrella over her, she walked along the gravel path until she was under their window. The table was there, washed bright green in the rain, but the cat was gone. She was suddenly disappointed.

Related Characters: The American Wife, The Maid
Related Symbols: The Cat
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

Ha perduto qualche cosa, Signora?”

“There was a cat,” said the American girl.

“A cat?”

Sì, il gatto.”

“A cat?” the maid laughed. “A cat in the rain?”

“Yes,” she said, “under the table.” Then, “Oh, I wanted it so much. I wanted a kitty.”

When she talked English the maid’s face tightened.

Related Characters: The American Wife (speaker), The Maid (speaker), The Maid
Related Symbols: The Cat
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

As the American girl passed the office, the padrone bowed from his desk. Something felt very small and tight inside the girl. The padrone made her feel very small and at the same time really important.

Related Characters: The American Wife, The Hotel-keeper
Related Symbols: The Cat
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

“I want to pull my hair back tight and smooth and make a big knot at the back that I can feel,” she said. “I want to have a kitty to sit on my lap and purr when I stroke her.”

“Yeah?” George said from the bed.

“And I want to eat at a table with my own silver and I want candles. And I want it to be spring and I want to brush my hair out in from of a mirror and I want a kitty and I want some new clothes.”

“Oh, shut up and get something to read,” George said.

Related Characters: The American Wife (speaker), George (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cat
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:

In the doorway stood the maid. She held a big tortoise-shell cat pressed tight against her and swung down against her body.

“Excuse me,” she said, “the padrone asked me to bring this for the Signora.”

Related Characters: The Maid (speaker), The American Wife, George, The Hotel-keeper
Related Symbols: The Cat
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Cat Symbol Timeline in Cat in the Rain

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Cat appears in Cat in the Rain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Cat in the Rain
Longing and Disappointment Theme Icon
Loneliness and Isolation  Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Femininity Theme Icon
Tourism and War Theme Icon
...window and looking out, the American wife takes in the rainy scene. She notices a cat under a café table, trying to shelter from the rain, and tells her husband George,... (full context)
Longing and Disappointment Theme Icon
Loneliness and Isolation  Theme Icon
Tourism and War Theme Icon
...head. When she arrives under their hotel window, however, she sees the table, but the cat has disappeared. She is disappointed. The maid asks her in Italian if she has lost... (full context)
Longing and Disappointment Theme Icon
Loneliness and Isolation  Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Femininity Theme Icon
...He puts down his book and asks her if she has managed to get the cat. She informs him that it is gone, and he wonders aloud where it has gone... (full context)
Longing and Disappointment Theme Icon
Loneliness and Isolation  Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Femininity Theme Icon
The American wife sits down on the bed, and tells George that she wants the cat so much, though she doesn’t quite know why. She broods over the poor kitty’s fate,... (full context)
Longing and Disappointment Theme Icon
Loneliness and Isolation  Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Femininity Theme Icon
...big knot at the back of her head that she can feel. She wants a cat on her lap, one that purrs when she strokes her. Encouraged, perhaps, by George’s “Yeah?”... (full context)
Longing and Disappointment Theme Icon
Loneliness and Isolation  Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Femininity Theme Icon
...of the window. It’s dark outside but still raining. She repeats that she wants a cat now, especially if she can’t have long hair or any fun. George, who is absorbed... (full context)
Longing and Disappointment Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Femininity Theme Icon
Tourism and War Theme Icon
...George invites them to enter. The maid stands in the doorway, holding a large tortoise-shell cat in her hands. She politely states that the “padrone” (the hotel-keeper) has sent her up... (full context)