Hi! Welcome to Keli Cat’s Book Corner, a page about cats and books!
On this page you will find various things ‘cats and books’. To start off with there is a list of books with cats in them–not one where a cat makes an appearance alone but ones where kitties play a significant role. Next to each book is a short description, a link that will take you to its goodreads page, and next to that the link to my review (wherever I have reviewed the book) or reviews from fellow bloggers.
Since this is literary potpourri, we are not confined to any particular genre so you will find general fiction and classics, children’s fiction, mysteries, and translated titles among others. The list will be updated off and on as I discover and/or read and review ‘new’ titles. Also, many of the categories have links to interesting posts on other blogs and from the internet on the category.
- General Fiction and Classics
- Fairy Tales, Folklore and Myths
- Children’s Fiction
- Translated Fiction
- Cat Astrology and Zodiac
- Quirky Reads
- Non-fiction and Memoirs
Suggestions for more titles, ‘Cat book’ recommendations, and suggestions for new ‘Cats and Books’ posts are always welcome! Also if you have any posts or reviews that you think will fit in here, do drop a comment down below, I’ll be happy to include them.
The ‘Cat’ Book List
Below is a list of books where cats not only feature but play a significant or memorable role. From one of the first prose works to be written in English to a ninth century Irish poem, from classic literature to mysteries, Saki to Le Guin, Beatrix Potter to Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie to Erle Stanley Gardner, cats have appeared in a range of stories and books, in prose and verse, and not just in English, but in works in various languages. I will be adding to the list below often, and I will subdivide into further categories as well. I am including a short description of each and the Goodreads link, and wherever I have reviewed the book (only a handful of cases so far), the link to my review or reviews from fellow bloggers.
General Fiction and Classics
Beware the Cat (1533/1553/1561) by William Baldwin: said to be the first work of prose fiction in English, this book published by a printer’s assistant and poet, William Baldwin, is a satire with talking cats (Goodreads) (Full text of the novel here and here (modern English))
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1871) by Lewis Carroll: No list would be complete (or could even really begin) without this. The Cheshire Cat with his philosophical observations and well-known grin is surely among the best known fictional cats. Then there’s also Alice’s cat Dinah (Goodreads).
The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt (1889) by G.A. Henty: When a priest’s son Chebron accidentally kills the cat of Bubastes, fifteen-year-old Prince Amuba (captured in war and now a slave) must with his aide Jethro, help the family (Goodreads) (my review) (p.s.. The cat does not have much of a role in this one, but it is what gets the story started!)
Tobermory (1911) by H.H. Munro ‘Saki’: the story of a cat ‘Tobermory’ who can talk. Cornelius Appin teaches a cat belonging to his friends, the Blemleys, to talk. He exhibits his skills before various party guests. But when he begins to reveal various guests’ secrets, they begin to start fearing him (Summary and Analysis of the story on Interesting Literature).
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) by Truman Capote: a writer recalls his early days in New York City and his acquaintance with his remarkable neighbour Holly Golightly; her pet, a cat, with no name (Goodreads).
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bugakov (1967): Bulgakov’s Faustian telling of life in the Soviet in the 1930s; the devil arrives in Moscow accompanied, among others, by a black talking cat Behemoth, with a fondness for chess and vodka (Goodreads)
Aunts Aren’t Gentleman or The Cat-nappers (1974) by P.G. Wodehouse: the last completed novel by Wodehouse. In this one, Bertie Wooster heads to Maiden Eggsford to live a quiet life. But his aunt Dahlia has other plans. She involves Bertie in a plot to kidnap a cat so that she can win a wager. Expectedly hilarity ensues. (Goodreads)
Midnight Prowlers: Stories of Cats and Their Enslaved Owners (1981) edited by Phyllis R. Fenner and illustrated by George Gershinowitz; a collection of ten stories by authors including Elizabeth Goudge, Joan Aiken, Sylvia Townsend Warner, and Dorothy Sayers of cats in many guises (Goodreads).
Cat Stories (2011) edited by Diana Secker Tesdell: anthology of cat stories from Everyman’s Library with stories by among others, Patricia Highsmith, Saki, Ursula LeGuin, and P.G. Wodehouse (Goodreads).
The Wildings (2012) and The Hundred Names of Darkness (2013) by Nilanjana Roy: The tale of a band of cats living in Nizamuddin, Delhi, strays and feral cats facing various dangers in their struggle to survive; the sequel sees the band face new dangers including conflict with people. (Goodreads here and here) (my review (of The Wildings))
The Dover Anthology of Cat Stories (2015): with stories by authors including Lovecraft, Honore de Balzac, Saki, Kipling, Booth Tarkington, and others (Goodreads)
Cats: An Anthology of Stories and Poems (2016) by Mark Bryant: from the verse of Chaucer, Baudelaire, Dickenson, Christina Rosetti, Wordsworth and Hardy to the humour of Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, and Jerome K. Jerome, this anthology covers a range of writings from poems and stories to essays and diaries. (Link on Amazon; I couldn’t find the Goodreads listing for this one; this is not an affiliate link, but the only one I could find for the book)
The Emporium of Imagination (2021) by Tabitha Bird: A story of ‘love, loss and grief’ in which a man, a cat and a key arrive in the small town of Boonah, with special phones (to talk just once with those who have passed), giving a ear to grief in all stages (Goodreads) (review by Gretchen on Thoughts Become Words).
On Cats: An Anthology (2021) with an Introduction by Margaret Atwood: a collection of essays, stories and poems, by authors including Belloc, Gorey, Keats, Sparks, Le Guin, and also Nikola Tesla! (Goodreads)
Cat Flap (2018/2021) by Alan S. Cowell: Dolores Tremayne, a successful business executive out on one of her frequent trips finds part of herself waking up in her family’s cat, X. Through X’s eyes, she finds that all is not well in her home, for her husband Gerald is cheating on her, while her older daughter is corresponding with a suspicious character online. But can Dolores as a cat do anything? Does her human part find all this out? (Goodreads) (my review)
Interesting Posts (Classics)
Top 10 Cats in Literature on The Guardian
Feline Good with Our Favourite Literary Cats by Gwen Glazer, an article on various literary cats, from classic to contemporary.
Classic and Golden Age Crime Fiction
Murder is Easy (1939) by Agatha Christie: Officer Luke Fitzwilliam meets an old lady on a train who tells him about a serial killer in her village; he dismisses these as her ramblings but in London, she is run over. The old lady’s cat Wonky Pooh has an important part to play. (Goodreads)
The Puzzle of the Silver Persian (1934) by Stuart Palmer: Sleuth Hildegarde Withers is on a transatlantic liner but even here, she cannot escape mysterious deaths. The cat in question is Tobermory, not too pleased with his trip but playing a role in catching the killer (Goodreads; review by Kate from Crossexamining Crime)
The Case of the Caretaker’s Cat (1935) by Erle Stanley Gardner: In his will, Peter Laxter had guaranteed his caretaker a job and home for life. But Peter’s grandchildren have moved into the house and want the caretaker to get rid of his cat, even threatening to poison it if he doesn’t (Goodreads).
The Cat Saw Murder (1939) by D.B. Olsen and others in the Rachel Murdock series: Written by American author, Dolores Hitches under the pseudonym D.B. Olsen, in The Cat Saw Murder, this one involves a murder, a cat who is heiress to a fortune. Both Rachel and the cat solve the mystery (Goodreads)(review by Kate at Crossexamining Crime here)
The Case of the Careless Kitten (1942) by Erle Stanley Gardner: Perry Mason’s client Helen Kendall, gets a mysterious phonecall from her uncle Franklin Shore who had disappeared a decade ago; before she can follow his instructions, her kitten, Amber Eyes is poisoned. Amber Eyes is very much at the centre of things throughout with her antics giving Perry the clues he needs (Goodreads) (My review).
The Man Who Shot at Cats (1952) by J. Jefferson Farjeon: a short story about a man with wrecked nerves who shoots at a screeching cat but ends up shooting a man instead. But things are not quite as simple as they look.
Modern/Contemporary Crime Fiction
Undercover Cat or That Darn Cat by the Gordons (1963): Darn Cat or DC helps the FBI track down kidnappers and bank robbers (Goodreads).
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (1966) by Lilian Jackson Braun: first of a series of mysteries featuring award winning reporter James ‘Jim’ Qwilleran and his two siamese cats Koko and Yum Yum. In this first book, Jim meets an eccentric and unpopular art critic, George Bonifield Montclemens who offers him an apartment at a nominal rent. Montclemens has a siamese, KoKo. Later a gallery owner to whom Montclemens was favourable and Montclemens himself are found dead. Qwilleran investigates. (Goodreads) (Series Page)
Dekok and the Sorrowing Tomcat (1969) by A.C. Baantjer: in this mystery, originally in Dutch, the body of a man with a dagger protruding from his back is found. Dekok investigates, searching the city of Amsterdam for answers but soon another body is found; cats have a role in our mystery (Goodreads) (review at Mysteries Ahoy).
Felidae (1989) by Akif Pirinçci: In this novel by German-Turkish writer, Pirinçci, a cat called Francis who is the central character in the story, investigates the murders of several cats in a German city. This is the first of a series of Felidae books, and also goes into ethical and philosophical issues like the relationship between people and animals and race (Goodreads).
The Black Cat (1843) by Edgar Allan Poe: the story of a man who enjoyed family life, and had numerous pets but then starts to loose his mind; his alcoholism leading him down a path of destruction. Cats–including the black cat of the title play an important role (Goodreads) (Summary and Analysis on Interesting Literature).
Heartstones (1987) by Ruth Rendell: fifteen-year-old Elvira is upset at the death of her mother, but perhaps not as much as her sister Spinny, who is also worried about their father Luke. But then Luke decides to remarry, and Elvira will stop at nothing to prevent this; a story with elements of Greek tragedy, gothic novels, psychological study and crime fiction. There is a cat of course, a witch’s cat, a ghostly cat who weaves in and out of our story (Goodreads) (review by Chris at Calmgrove)
The Clue of the Tapping Heels (1939) by Carolyn Keene: Nancy returns a lost Persian cat to Anne Carter, an elderly woman who keeps twenty-five cats. But her neighbours are annoyed by the cats. Soon enough Nancy stumbles onto a new mystery (Goodreads).
The Emerald-eyed Cat Mystery (1984) by Carolyn Keene: Nancy at a hacienda in Colombia investigates the connection between strange events at the hacienda and sunken ships; there is an emerald-eyed cat with not very much role but it does help Nancy (Goodreads).
The Search for the Silver Persian (1993) by Carolyn Keene: Nancy’s friend’s cat is kidnapped after entering a cat show in River Heights. Nancy investigates (Goodreads).
Also on Crossexamining Crime, find this wonderful post on cats in classic crime fiction–not necessarily the cute, cuddly figures of today’s cosies: Cats and Crime: An Eclectic Exploration of the Darker Side to Cats in Early Mystery Fiction
On a lighter note, on this blog, I had written a post about cats in Agatha Christie’s books, Tracing Cats in Christie.
Fairy Tales, Folklore, and Myths
Puss in Boots, dating back to the 16th century in its oldest available telling (in Italian) is the story of a miller’s sons; the older two receive the mill and mules as their inheritance while the youngest gets a cat. Of course this is no ordinary cat, and once he receives the pair of books he asks for, he transforms the young man’s life completely (Goodreads).
The White Cat (1698) by Madame d’Aulnoy: A king sets tasks for his sons to distract them from stealing his throne; the youngest finds a beautifully decorated castle populated by talking cats, with a beautiful white cat as queen. She helps him with his tasks and he falls in love with her (Goodreads).
Dick Whittington and His Cat: English folklore surrounding the real-life mayor of London Richard Whittington, which tells of Whittington’s rise from poverty to fortune, with his cat. (A version of this tale by American Author Marcia Brown is on Goodreads, and something about the folklore on wikipedia).
The Bremen Town Musicians (1819) by the Brothers Grimm: a dog, a cat, a donkey and a rooster, aging and mistreated by their humans decide to go to Bremen and become musicians; there they scare away robbers and live happily ever after (one of the versions on Goodreads).
Cats of Myth: Tales from Around the World (2000) by Gerald and Loretta Hausmann: a collection of nine stories from different parts of the world including India, Japan, Egypt and Polynesia. Watercolour illustrations by Leslie Baker (Goodreads).
On Enchanted Living Magazine, Sarah Cletto and Brittany Warman have a post on The Magical Cats of Fairy Tales
Terri Windling has a marvellous post on Feline Folklore with some lovely art to accompany the piece.
Kittyboy’s Christmas (1898) by Amy Ella Blanchard and illustrated by Ida Waugh: the story of a lost black kitten, Kittyboy, and his first Christmas (Goodreads) (find the full text of the book will illustrations on Project Gutenberg here).
A Cat’s Christmas Carol (1947) by Dorothy L. Sayers: A small book in verse by Sayers with lino-cuts by Norah Lambourne, this one is verses by a cat, for whom Christmas brings ‘joy’ and ‘giblets’ (some pictures at jonkers)
Jennie (1950) by Paul Gallico: A young boy Peter, is knocked down by a car; but when he recovers, he is no longer a boy but a cat; he then meets a cat Jennie who teaches him feline ways (Goodreads).
The Carbonel books by Barbara Sleigh: published between 1955 and 1978, this set of three books, the first being Carbonel: The King of Cats tells of a young girl Rosemary who buys a broom and cat from a woman at a marketplace. The broom turns out to be a witch’s broomstick and the cat is no ordinary one either, but Carbonel, the King of Cats imprisoned by a spell (Goodreads).
Thomasina (1957) by Paul Gallico: Seven-year-old Mary is on the verge of death after her father puts her ginger cat Thomasina down. But Thomasina has been rescued by a mysterious lady in the forest (Goodreads).
Swamp Cat (1957) by Jim Kjelgaard: a feral cat and the last of a backcountry family who owns mostly swamp. But the family’s rivals tries to sabotage their plans of running a muskrat farm. Nominee for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s book in 1959 (Goodreads)
The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof (1970) by Annie M.G. Schmidt: A down-on-his-luck reporter Tibbles is on the verge of losing his job because he only writes about cats; but the unusual Miss Minou begins to provide him with juicy news; but why does Miss Minou climb trees and rooftops so well? This is a Dutch book translated to English; I’ve seen the film (with subtitles) but not read the book yet. (Goodreads).
Socks (1973) by Beverly Cleary: Socks lives with his owners Mr and Mrs Bricker and is the centre of their world; but then a new baby arrives and the Brickers have less time for Socks (Goodreads).
The Cat in the Hat (1985) by Dr Seuss: A giant cat in a hat transforms Sally and her brother’s boring day into an extraordinary adventure (Goodreads).
Catwings (1988) by Ursula Le Guin: four kittens, born with wings. escape the city slums and head to the country; but they soon discover, country life isn’t very much easier. The book explores various themes from marginalisation to race (Goodreads) (review by Jonathan Shaw)
The Night Before Cat-Mas (1998) by Karen Anagnost and Arlene Greco: ‘T’was the Night Before Christmas’ in its catty version; a tiny pocket book with illustrations where a little kitten happens to meet KittyClaws.
Kitten’s First Full Moon (2004) by Kevin Henkes: Kitten sees her first full moon and mistakes it for a bowl of milk and she wants that bowl of milk from the sky; described as having simple but cute artwork (Goodreads) (review by Calista on Goodreads).
A Cat About Town (2022) by Lea Decan: Lisa’s cat has a very busy schedule through the week, visiting different human friends on different days of the week–writers, musicians, painters, and gardeners. Narrated by the moggy himself, this one has lovely pictures of the various places he visits (Goodreads) (review on Red Reading Hub)
Beatrix Potter has so many lovely works featuring cats, I thought she needed a whole section for herself!
The Tale of Tom Kitten (1907) by Beatrix Potter: Naughty Tom kitten and his sisters are dressed in their best (Tom is found to have grown too fat to fit into his suit and the buttons burst), and sent outdoors, but all three get into trouble (Goodreads). The book is now in public domain so you can find it on Project Gutenberg here with Potter’s gorgeous illustrations.
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or the Roly-Poly Pudding (1908): further adventures of Tom Kitten as he accidentally enters the home of a mouse, Samuel Whiskers, and finds himself in trouble again (Goodreads) (Project Gutenberg).
The Story of Miss Moppet (1906): the story of Miss Moppet, a kitten teased by a mouse; once again with gorgeous art work; this one is not one of Potter’s more popular works (Goodreads) (Project Gutenberg).
The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (1909): Ginger, a yellow tomcat and Pickles, a terrier open a shop; but they give unlimited credit to all their customers, ending up with their business in trouble (Goodreads) (Project Gutenberg).
Bimbo and Topsy (1943): Different from Blyton’s other books, this one features her own children and own pets; Bimbo, a Siamese arrives at Green Hedges, but is bored when the children are at school, so a little fox terrier called Topsy is brought as a playmate; the two get into all sorts of mischief including eating their way out of the larder when they get locked in (Goodreads) (See a review and the artwork at the enidblytonsociety page)
The Witch’s Cat and Other Stories About Cats (1991): A collection of Blyton’s short stories, all about cats.
Cat Country (1933) by Lao She: A science fiction, dystopian novel by Lao She, this one finds the unnamed narrator on Mars which is populated by people with the faces of cats. He becomes acquainted with the people and language, and finds them suffering the same flaws that human kind does. A dark satire in the guise of an easy read. (Goodreads) (review here)
Prayashchit or Atonement by Bhagwati Charan Verma: In this short story, the bane of a fourteen-year-old bride, in her in-laws home for the first time, is a spotted cat who drinks up the milk or eats the ghee and cream, or sometimes upsets and gobbles up the rice pudding, for the little bride at times forgets to lock the storeroom or falls asleep inside. The girl decides to get rid of the cat and takes action. But killing a cat is a sin of the worst kind. The priest must be called and the sin atoned (find a translation of this short story here).
The Guest Cat (2001) by Takashi Hiraide: A cat moves in with a estranged couple in their thirties bringing light and colour into their lives (Goodreads).
I am a Cat (2001) by Natsume Soseki: This ‘comic masterpiece’ satirizes the life of the upper-middle-class Japanese during the Meiji era; it follows the adventures of a world weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of those around him (Goodreads).
The Travelling Cat Chronicles (2012) by Hiro Arikawa: Nana the cat is on a road trip with his beloved owner Saturo, travelling through Japan in its changing seasons (Goodreads) (review by fellow blogger Emmabbooks).
The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa: Rintaro Natsuki has inherited a second-hand bookshop from his grandfather which he is about to close; then a talking cat visits and helps him liberate lonely books (Goodreads). (review by Nira, my mom)
Kafka on the Shore (2002) by Haruki Murakami: a metaphysical tale featuring among other things a rescuer of lost cats, and a talking cat (Goodreads).
Stephanie on Adventures of a Bibliophile writes about 5 Japanese Bestsellers…About Cats that she read.
Pangur Bán: A ninth century poem in old Irish written by a monk about his cat Pangur Bán; the poem compares the experience of the author and Pangur Bán, each engaged side by side in their own pursuits, the author in his study, and Pangur Bán in hunting mice. Each of them enjoy their respective pursuits and amuse themselves in them. Find the full poem in Irish and a 1903 English translation by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan on Wikipedia here
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939) by T.S. Eliot: loveable cat poems, including my favourite MacCavity (Goodreads)!
On Cats by Charles Bukowski: poetry, musings, reflections on cats and their humans; raw and funny (Goodreads).
Cat Astrology and Zodiac
You might be one of those who look at your horoscopes often or some times, seriously or for fun, or you might be one who doesn’t look at them at all, but did you know cats have zodiac signs too? These books tell you all about them!
Cat Zodiac: An Astrological Guide to the Feline Mystique by Maeva Considine and illustrated by Vikki Chu: insights into the inner lives of cats, character traits, lifestyle insights and more (Goodreads)
Cat Astrology by Mary Daniels: sun sign profiles of your feline pals (Goodreads).
Feline Astrology: The Horoscope for Your Cat You Never Knew You Needed (2019) by Clair Lofthouse: practical advice on making your cat happier based on their sun sign (Goodreads).
Cat Astrology (2011) by Vivian Buchan: how the planets influence your cat’s personality (Goodreads).
Cat Astrology: The Complete Guide to Feline Horoscopes (1993) by Michael Zullo: in depth descriptions of cats born under each sun sign.
The Zodi-cat Signs
The Zodi-cat Signs is a special series of posts prepared for Keli Cat’s Book Corner by my friend and astrology blogger, Deepa Kansra (find her blog here). This series explores cat’s personalities (or should that be purrsonalities?) based on their zodiac (zodi-cat) signs!
The No 2 Feline Detective Agency Series by Mandy Morton: set in a cat world, Hetty Bagshot and Tilly Jenkins, two tabbies run a detective agency, the No 2 Feline Detective Agency; while the animals are anthropomorphic and the mysteries very much in the human realm, the author has given this world plenty of lovely cat touches. I have so far read and reviewed one title, A Pocket Full of Pie (here). The series list is on Goodreads (here).
Tabby Trouble (2021) by Iris Leigh: The first in a cosy mystery series. In this we have Kat who is pet sitting three cats for a friend and finding herself out of her depth doing so. One morning, her neighbour, Rose Hastings, is found dead and another neighbour, Mrs Higgins (wife of a former policeman), suspects this is murder. Outside her door, she finds Rose Hastings cat Rusty. Some time later, Kat is suddenly hit on her head and when she comes to she finds she can understand what Rusty and the cats she is looking after are saying. And Rusty wants her to solve Rose Hastings’ murder! (Goodreads) (my review)
The Great Catsby and Romeow and Juliet by Eliza Garrett: Part of the Classic Tails books, these are retellings of some of our favourite classics but starring kitties; so whether it’s Jay Catsby or the Montamews or Cattulets, I’m sure you’ll enjoy meeting the feline versions of your favourite classic characters. On Goodreads: The Great Catsby and Romeow and Juliet.
On Cats (1967) by Dorris Lessing: Lessing’s memoirs of the various cats in her life (Goodreads).
Cat Miscellany: Fascinating Facts About Cats (2005) by Max Cryer: All kinds of interesting facts from the Bible not mentioning cats at all to why we think they have nine lives: a collection of poems, stories, facts, and more (Goodreads) (review on ReadingNook).
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World (2008) by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter: The beloved library cat of a small town, Spencer, Iowa touches more lives than one (Goodreads) (review by blogger Kayli A Hertel).
The Dalai Lama’s Cat (2012) by David Michie: A mud-smeared kitten, rescued from Delhi is transported to a completely different life in the Himalayas, as the Dalai Lama’s cat (Goodreads).
A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets (2012) by James Bowen: The unlikely story of a man on the street and a ginger cat that adopts him and helps him heal (Goodreads).
Of Cats and Men: Profiles of History’s Great Cat-loving Artists, Writers, Thinkers, and Statesmen (2017) by Sam Klada: This gift book profiles thirty men from Murakami and T.S. Eliot to Churchill, Newton and Tesla. What makes it stand out is the inclusion of illustrations (Goodreads)
The Cat with Three Passports (2020) by C.J. Fentiman: The story of the author’s time spent in Japan (partly because of a silver tabby) and the cats she adopted there (Goodreads) (review by Emmabbooks).
A Cat’s Tale: A Journey Through Feline History (2020) by Baba the Cat as told to Paul Koudounaris: This nonfiction read traces the history of cats including their origins, relationship with humans, and surprising parallels between feline and human history. (Goodreads)
The Writer’s Cats (2021) by Muriel Barbery, trans. Alison Anderson: A peek into Muriel Barbery’s day and writing process told from the eyes of her cats. (Goodreads) (Review on From First Page to Last) (Review on What Cathy Read Next)
Cat Pun Book Titles
On the blog I’ve put together some lists of Cat Pun book titles; the two posts I have so far are linked below. I have plenty more fun ones planned out and will add new posts to the list soon.
About Keli Cat
Keli or Keli Banana (her name was a play on the word for black in Hindi (Kali) and then a play on Kela (meaning banana) was my five-year-old tabby cat who I lost in an accident on May 20 this year, just a day after her fifth birthday. She was the sweetest and most loving little girl and I miss her beyond what words can express. This ‘books and cats’ page, Keli Cat’s Book Corner, is my little tribute to her.