With summer right around the corner, you might be looking for some new reads. Many authors love their little fur babies and use them as muses to pen stories that have cats as characters, many times stealing the show from the protagonist. Here’s a list of great fiction that includes cats, dogs and other animals that will keep you relaxed and refreshed when you get time to read over the summer.
James Herriot “All Creatures Great and Small”
Herriot’s novels are semi-biographical, but the stories are heart-warming and enjoyable. If you love your four-legged companion, you’ll really connect with these stories about a vet who is new to the community, trying to learn the local dialect and methods. Once you finish the first book, you’ll want to go through the entire series. Herriot wrote five altogether.
Lilian Jackson Braun “The Cat Who…”
Braun almost defined the cozy mystery with her series about Jim Qwilleran, a crime beat reporter, and his brilliant Siamese partner, Koko. Although you don’t have to start with the first one in the series, “The Cat Who Could Read Backwards,” it’s a great place to get all the background on how Qwill came to acquire Koko. You can enjoy reading a great book while your cat is curled up in his cat bed.
May Sarton “The Fur Person”
Sarton’s charming story was originally published in 1957, but gift editions were recently reprinted. Sarton used her own cat as inspiration, recounting how he went from a stray to a gentleman cat to a fur person. If you enjoy sharing your life with a cat but wonder how you ever got to the place you’re at now, this book will bring you delight. Look for the edition with pictures.
Hiro Arikawa “The Travelling Cat Chronicles”
In this international bestseller, a man takes in a stray cat. They travel in a silver van across Japan. If you’ve ever thought of taking your cat on the road, this book will be inspiration. Make you have a kitty harness and leash to keep your cat safe. This novel is written with beautifully descriptive prose to give voice to a cat who has an adventurous spirit and a crooked tail.
William S. Burroughs, “The Cat Inside”
Burroughs was a devoted cat-lover, which doesn’t always come through in his satirical works. This work is a unique look at the friendships with cats that Burroughs had. If you believe that cats can be spirit animals, you’ll enjoy this discourse from the guru of the Beat Generation who gives you an inside look at how cats help you become a better person.
Lewis Carroll “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”
Yes, you might have read it as a child. Pick it up again as an adult to understand the subtle allusions and symbolism. Get a guide that helps you understand the mathematical representations and concepts in this book and its sequel, “Through the Looking-Glass.” The Cheshire Cat leads Alice to note that she has seen “cat without a grin, but a never a grin without a cat.” This is thought to refer to new concepts that were happening in mathematics at the time of the writing. Maybe this book isn’t literary nonsense, but satire.
Neil Gaiman “Coraline”
Gaiman is well-known as a cat lover. In “Dream Country” he wrote, “All cats can see futures, and see echoes of the past.” In “Coraline” a black cat mentors Coraline. The cat can move freely from one world to another but is never given a name. He can speak in the Other World and seems to fear being stuck in that world. He’s a sarcastic cat that is helpful to Coraline.
Mikhail Bulgakov “The Master and Margarita”
The black cat in this book is huge, as big as a hog. The cat, Behemoth, can speak and walk on two legs. He plays chess, drinks vodka and loves pistols. The novel was originally written in Russian, during Stalin’s reign. It’s one of the best Soviet satires from the 20th century. It’s a dark novel that deals with good and evil, love and sensuality and freedom of the spirit.
Haruki Murakami “Kafka on the Shore”
In one of the worlds in this award-winning novel, “cats know everything” and talk. Murakami blends magical realism, suspense, and humor to tell a story that deals with Japanese religious traditions. If you enjoy fantasy, you’ll be intrigued by this novel that won the “World Fantasy Award.”
T.S. Eliot “Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats”
This book of poetry is the basis for the Musical “Cats.” Eliot wrote the poetry for his godchildren, but later collected the poems for publication. Cats need three different names, according to Eliot. There’s the first name that the family uses, then a particular name that is peculiar and dignified. But there’s also a name that only the cat knows and will never tell its humans. Cat poetry is very unique. Once you read it, you’ll be inspired to shop for a special bowl for your favorite feline. Each poem features a different character, making it a fun book you can enjoy over and over.
Edgar Allen Poe “The Black Cat”
Poe was another author who loved cats. This short story is about an unreliable narrator who loves cats. Pluto, the cat, and the narrator have a wonderful friendship that lasts for years. Then the narrator becomes an alcoholic and seriously injures the cat after the cat bites the narrator. It’s a rather macabre story that is written in the same vein as “The Tell-Tale Heart.” It’s been parodied and adapted many different times because it is such a popular work by Poe, but it won’t take long to read.
Look for Cats in Literature
Cats have been in the comics for many years. Garfield has to be one of the most popular cats in the world. He got his start in the newspaper funny pages. Pick up a book about a cat when you’re at the bookstore next time. Shop for cat supplies with BaxterBoo to keep your cat in the life of luxury. Give your cat all the items he would shop for on his own if he had a credit card.
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