Feline- and lit-lovers, your moment has come: these 13 books about cats are your dream bookshelf. I would know, because I'm both, too. Ever since the fateful night when I first came across her dodging car tires on the plateau in Montreal, I have been the loyal owner of a darling orange kitten who opens locked cabinets like a poltergeist and eats from the trash like a starved raccoon. Cat (whose name is in fact Cat) and I have travelled across countries, through deserts, and even, once, had the unfortunate pleasure of rooming next to some really sketchy characters in a seedier part of San Francisco. (I'll leave it to your imagination to figure out what they were doing.)
What strikes me most about straddling the cat person/dog person divide is how few people are willing to profess their love of cats to the world. I know the plethora of cat videos making the rounds on the interwebs would suggest otherwise, but somehow I can't help but feel that there is a lack of love for the feline friends who so silently saunter among us. So, for all the loud, proud cat-lovers out there, I've collected 13 must-read books that celebrate the fierce, furry, fabulousness of the feline.
'The Master and Margarita' by Mikhail Bulgakov
It’s not often that a mischievous, gun-happy, smooth-talking, onyx-colored cat by the name of Behemoth takes center stage in a contemporary classic. So, when you’re looking for a little literary cat-love, dive into The Master and Margarita.
'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll
As one of the most complex, beguiling, and utterly unusual works of YA fiction out there, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a classic with near-universal appeal. Of course, it’s hard to imagine Wonderland without that disembodied grin drawing you in, making this Carroll masterpiece team cat all the way.
'Star Ka'at' by Andre Norton
I like to think that anyone with a cat in the house has considered the possibility that felines may just be aliens from another planet, but only an author of Norton’s style and stature could elevated the idea to the level of literary genius. For an astonishingly original sci-fi classic that begins and ends with the mind of the cat, look no further than Sar Ka’at.
'Breakfast at Tiffany's' by Truman Capote
The cat might not be the star of Capote’s most famous novella, but with and without a name, the mysterious feline who ends up lost in the rain is surely the heart and soul of this beloved romance. For a perfect dose of feline magic with a dash of style and a hint of heartbreak, pick up Breakfast at Tiffany’s the next time you’re curled up on the couch for a good read.
'The Cat in the Hat' by Dr. Seuss
When it comes to classics, The Cat in the Hat is about as quintessential as they come. If you haven’t taken any time with the Seuss masterpiece in recent years, settle in for a delightful read — the Cat’s tricky antics may even help you forgive your own feline’s most recent bout of troublemaking.
'Edward the Conqueror' by Roald Dahl
With so many Roald Dahl classics to choose from, it’s not hard to see how some of the lesser-known works get lost in the shuffle, but Edward the Conqueror is one short story more than worthy of a modern revival. With a music-loving, long-haired, silver cat at the heart of this exceptional tale of art and adventure, Edward the Conqueror is a classic in the making.
'The Norths Meet Murder' by Frances and Richard Lockridge
Those who believe that even the most ordinary cat is blessed with a set of rather extraordinary abilities will find ample proof within the pages of The Norths Meet Murder. A delightful period mystery with a distinct touch of the feline, The Norths Meet Murder may just be the perfect whodunit.
'The Wind Up Bird Chronicle' by Haruki Murakami
Like Burroughs, Eliot, and Poe, Murakami is a writer who often considers the allure of the feline companion, never more astutely than within the pages of The Wind Up Bird Chronicles. Part thrilling detective story, part historical exploration, part romance, this incredible literary adventure begins, as so many great adventures do, with a missing cat.
'The Black Cat' by Edgar Allan Poe
From the witch’s familiar to the harbinger of doom, cats have long been linked with the mysteries of the occult, so perhaps it is only fitting that Edgar Allen Poe, master of the macabre, has written one of the very best cat books out there. Driven by alcohol and his obsession with a feline companion, The Black Cat charts one man’s descent into madness in classic Poe style. For a dark twist on the classic cat tale, you can’t do better than Poe.
'Catwings' by Ursula K. Le Guin
Like most of the characters who populate Le Guin’s complex, captivating, otherworldly landscapes, the cats of Catwings are anything but ordinary. Born with wings, this litter of super kittens soar away from the city slums of their birth, only to discover that life among the clouds and far from the clamor of the urban ghetto can still be remarkably strange and complex.
'The Enchanted Forest Chronicles' by Patricia C. Wrede
Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles deal primarily with the relationship between princesses and dragons, however cats play a notable role in this warm, wonderfully feminist take on the classic fairy tale. Don’t let the YA label keep you away — this delightful series is the perfect antidote to an ordinary day for cat-lovers of all ages.
'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats' by T.S. Eliot
Perhaps the most famous literary ode to the charms of cats, T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats is known and loved by millions as the basis for the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical Cats. But whether or not you’ve tapped your toes to the catchy beats of the theatrical adaptation, you’re sure to find something unique to love in the prosaic perfection of the original.
'The Cat Inside' by William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs was known for many things, but somehow his love of cats seems to have been largely ignored by the architects of his literary legacy. And yet, there never was a more ardent fan of the feline than this beloved icon of the beat generation. Originally published as a labor of love and a very limited edition, Burroughs’ The Cat Inside is a remarkably poignant and thoroughly heartwarming history of the many felines Burroughs new and loved over the course of a lifetime.