Dog-Eared Cat Tales

Since I got such a wonderful response from all you Crazy Cat Peoples in Training and just finished the second and third Carbonel books, I thought I’d start compiling a list of the awesome cat books (with a few other-animals stories stuck on the end, plus a few fabulous books that mention the word cat at least once!) that you all recommended. I can’t personally recommend all of them, but other people did wholeheartedly.

This is absolutely a work in progress and if you leave more ideas in comments I’ll totally add them.

Books entirely about cats, from what I can tell:
(and more kitty pictures for rosetintdworld)

Recommended by Blacksmithbutnotemo and lostinshadow, descriptions and further recommendations courtesy of the fabulous Lindsay Ribar:

  • Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams
    “I fell for this one in junior high, and it remains a perennial favorite. This world, in which cats have their own language, culture, and mythology, is a lesson for all aspiring secondary-world fantasy writers in How To Do It Right. Most importantly, Williams’ characters are distinctly feline, but never in a cutesy way. Plus, the baddies were creepy enough to give me nightmares when I was eleven, and that’s always a plus.”

  • White Cat by Holly Black
    “Everyone and their mom is giving this one a thumbs-up. The titular cat begins as a MacGuffin of sorts, but ends up being one of the best characters in the book. I won’t say anything more, for fear of spoilers, but this cat is a winner.”

  • Mossflower by Brian Jacques
    “Given that the heroes of the Redwall series are usually mice, there are surprisingly few cats in the series, even as villains. Mossflower, however, features Tsarmina Greeneyes as the fabulously evil dictator who must be defeated, and her traitor brother Gingivere as one of the most lovable minor characters in the series.”

  • What the Cat Told Me in Unexpected Magic, and Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones (Note: Plus lots of other DWJ books!)

Recommended by ceitfianna: A Circle of Cats by Charles De Lint and Charles Vess

Recommended by “Just Jo”: The Moon in the Cloud by Rosemary Harris

Recommended by Freelancer: The Three Lives of Thomasina (A movie, not a book)

Recommended by “Carbonel”:

  • Breed to Come by Andre Norton (Carbonel’s note: “Andre Norton is simply excellent on cats, whenever they make an appearance.”)

  • Grimbold’s Other World by Nicholas Stuart Grey (Also recommended by “geraniumcat”.)

  • Jennie by Paul Gallico (Note: I’ve not read this, but Gallico is one of the most beautiful writers ever.)

  • Jenny Linsky, authoress Esther Averill

Recommended by leighdb:

  • Storm Rising by Mercedes Lackey (Her Valdemar books are mostly about companion horses, but cats show up later.)

  • Tower and the Hive by Anne McCaffrey (“I’m not sure I would recommend the books regardless; they start out well but go swiftly downhill in quality.” Note: These are actually the only Anne McCaffrey books that I loved pretty much wholeheartedly.) 

  • Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe (“[They] are hilarious and absolutely delightful…told from the point of view of the dog, Harold, but Chester the cat is unquestionably the best character in the books. Great fun. Also, The Celery Stalks at Midnight is one of my favorite pun titles ever.”)

Recommended by jamesedjones (seconded by Nina): The Black Unicorn by Terry Brooks

Recommended by Amalisa: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats T. S. Eliot (Note: I am ashamed to say I haven’t read this.)

Recommended by Quercus:

  • Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders (Pam Adams says: classic children’s dog story)

  • To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (Note: While there is a major cat plot point, there aren’t really cats in the book. I’m leaving it in however, because it is one of my favourite books of all time and everyone should read it. Right now.)

Recommended by jskanderson: Fool on the Hill by Matt Ruff (jskanderson says it has a terrific cat and dog)

Recommended by Angiportus:

  • Thomasina by Paul Gallico

  • The Story of Serapina by Anne H. White

  • The Mysterious Cat of Cobbie Bean by Barbee Oliver Carleton

  • The White Panther by T.J. Waldeck

  • Harimau, Simba of the White Mane, Jangwa, Yellow Eyes, Utah Lion, Bichu the Jaguar, and the Wahoo Bobcat (Note: WARNING at least one of these, Harimau, has a grim ending.)

  • Animal Heroes by Ernest Thompson Seton (All recommended by Angiportus. Note: I worry about including a lot of this list because I suspect some of them don’t qualify as happy stories. Thoughts? Gallico is one of my favourite authors, ever, but his stories are often unhappy.)

Recommended by cybernetic_nomad: Catwings Ursula K. LeGuin’s

Recommended by NancyLebovitz: Cats in Cyberspace by Beth Hilgartner

Recommended by Jstarr:

  • Outworld Cats by Jack Lovejoy (Josh mentions he hasn’t actually read this; can anyone say anything about it?)

  • Rosemary and Rue by Seannan Macguire (Note: There is a major cat character, he’s just kind of human, sometimes. Maybe.)

Recommended by Megan Messinger:

  • Catswold Portal by Sherwood Smith

  • Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (Note: All of her Enchanted Forest books are entirely worth reading and full of great animals)

  • Timecat by Lloyd Alexander

  • No One Noticed the Cat by Anne McCaffrey

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
    “It’s about rabbits, not cats, but a) there is a cat in it, and b) it’s awesome.”

Recommended by Irene:

  • The Questing Road by Lyn McConchie

  • Starcat World by Andre Norton (Irene mentions that she hasn’t read it since 5th grade and has been told it doesn’t stand up well over time)

We are entering the section of the list that deals more with “and a cat” than “all about a cat” (also possibly substitute rat/dog/pony etc. for cat):

Recommended by cybernetic_nomad:

  • Rootabaga by Carl Sandburg (stories include one featuring “5 rusty rats”)

  • Cheek by Jowl by Ursula Le Guin (“She has some cogent and thought-chewy things to say. Therein, she points out that some works, like Watership Down, impose human gender-roles/politics on animals and these are neither true/realistic nor edifying even when the books are otherwise a fun read.”)

Recommended by Milo1313:

  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman

  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

  • Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones

  • Milo and Otis

Recommended by me:

  • Red Dwarf: Infinity welcomes careful drivers by Grant Naylor (There’s a highly evolved cat-person)

  • Cat The Who Walked Through Walls by Robert Heinlein

We foster cats and are always looking for cat names, what would you or have you named a cat that you are proud of?

Nina Lourie is totally enraptured with tiny baby tiger cubs this time, thanks to Melissa Singer. Tybalt (His Tybs), we recently discovered, is part Maine Coon and has started growing to prove it. He still needs a loving home who wants a ginormous, purring, ginger lap kitty with tufty ears. Tad Williams once inscribed the title of this post in a well-loved copy of Tailchaser’s Song, to the delight of a friend of mine.


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