I love books and I love cats. My cats love sitting with me when I read books, and I love reading books featuring feline characters. Okay, I love reading some books featuring feline characters.
Unfortunately, it seems like every novel featuring a cat is also a murder mystery (cue the sad trombone) — and I am not a murder mystery fan. I am, however, a big ol’ nerd and I love fantasy and science fiction. Cats get treated pretty well in a lot of sci-fi and fantasy novels, TV series, and movies, but even so, there aren’t many that feature feline protagonists. Here are the best ones I’ve found.
Williams is probably best known as the internationally best-selling author of the fantasy/sf novel Otherworld (incidentally, another one of my favorite novels) and the series of books that came after it. In Tailchaser’s Song, Williams brings is incredible writing skills to work in this story of a young cat named Fritti Tailchaser and his epic quest to find his lady friend Hushpad, who has disappeared under troubling circumstances.
The Wild Road opens with an introduction to a happy and privileged kitten named Tag. All is fine in his life until he starts having recurring dreams about a wise old shaman-cat named Majicou — dreams in which he must rescue a cat known as The Queen from the grasp of a villain named The Alchemist — and he sets out on his journey. The characters in these stories are well-wrought, the adventure kept me up until the wee hours of the morning, and I was terribly sad when I finished both books because they were so good I didn’t want the story to end. One cautionary note: There are some situations in these novels that probably will make you cry.
Every well-equipped spacecraft has a ship’s cat — or maybe more than one. The job of these "Barque Cats" is to keep vermin populations under control, warn people of environmental hazards, and act as morale officers. In Catalyst, the first novel, a widespread livestock epidemic has the government demanding to destroy all exposed animals, including the Barque Cats. In Catacombs, a cat with a hidden agenda guides the now-fugitive Barque Cats and their people to his home planet.
Another cat fiction genre I love is the memoir. Here are some of my favorites:
This is the first feline autobiography I ever read, and it was love from the first sentence. This "manual for kittens, strays and homeless cats" teaches kitties how to get, captivate, and dominate the family of their choice, and is accompanied by lots of great photos. I still have my copy and read it about once a year. It’s that good.
My mother read a lot of May Sarton books when I was a child, but I don’t remember seeing this one in our home. But 25 years later, I found this book at my local library, and once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. The Fur Person is Sarton’s fictionalized account of the life of her cat, Tom Jones, from before he settled down for a life of ease with the author until the day he draws his last breath.
If you love cats and you love the lessons the Dalai Lama has shared in the many books he’s written over the years, you’ll love The Dalai Lama’s Cat. Not only is it an entertaining and wonderful story, it’s also sort of a "Buddhism 101.” But even if you’re not the least bit interested in Buddhism, it stands on its own as a delightful story about a cat rescued from death’s door, whose exploits give some great lessons about finding peace and happiness in a crazy world. Michie’s next cat book, The Dalai Lama’s Cat and The Art of Purring, will be released in November 2013.
What’s your favorite novel featuring cats? Please share your suggestions in the comments. I’m always looking for another good read!
One last note: Although I’ve linked to Amazon.com so you can find out more about these books, I’d strongly encourage you to shop at your local, independently owned bookstore — if there is such a thing in your area anymore.
About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer, and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their cat advice column, Paws and Effect, since 2003. JaneA dreams of making a great living out of her love for cats.
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