It’s International Cat Day according to the entire internet and my research! The celebration takes place every year on August 8th, and was started in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Cat_Day).
I feel like every day is Cat Day in my life, since I live with two of them, and that means they’re kind of everything. I wish I could take the day off from work as a proper holiday. But, I will gladly take any opportunity to write a cat themed post!
So, I thought to mark this fantastic day, I’d share some of my favorite cat books and cats in stories.
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats-T.S. Eliot
The first time I read this book I felt like I had discovered money or something. It was just the best. It’s poems about a cast of cat characters, written by the superb T.S. Eliot. Eliot was an owner and fan of cats. I think the fact that Eliot wrote these charming and amusing poems makes them even more precious, considering how serious a lot of his other work is. They were originally written for the children of friends, and for his godchildren. This makes me want a friend like Eliot, who sends me mail consisting of charming cat-based writing. It also makes me feel like I need to step up my godmother game. Maybe one day.
“The Naming of Cats” is one of my favorites. And has always made me think a little extra hard to try to give my cats a good name.
Also, this book was adapted into the musical Cats. Which I have never seen all the way through. But still an interesting fact.
Shop Cats of New York-Tamar Arslanian and Andrew Marttila
This book is a collection of great photos of the cats who live in New York shops. There are also profiles about the shops, so you get to learn about some interesting places that you might want to visit on a trip to New York, and you get to meet the cats who live there. I totally wish I worked with a cat every day, but that’s actually not a thing a lot of libraries allow. So I guess I’ll be ok with my two at home.
Also, the photographer of this book, Andrew Marttila (@iamthegreatwent) happens to be the boyfriend of the Kitten Lady herself, Hannah Shaw, who has an amazing website with resources for fostering and rescuing kittens, who are often brought to shelters too young to adopt out (which puts them at high risk). Check out her website www.kittenlady.org for more information. You can also find her on Instagram (@kittenxlady). Seriously, go look at her Instagram if nothing else. Chloe the kitten is one of her current fosters, who has no feeling/motion in her back legs due to injury, but who is a complete and total champion. Chloe is my hero, and she’s a precious ginger kitten.
The Cat (Coraline)-Neil Gaiman
A mysterious black cat helping Coraline navigate through her new home and the treacherous promises of the Other Mother? YES. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate that Coraline is an awesome story. An interesting, clever, brave heroine, dealing with some strange and scary situations. The Cat has no name, because as he states himself, “Now, you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.” Of course, that makes complete sense.
Written by the incomparable Neil Gaiman (for his daughter, who was young, but liked scary stories). I highly recommend this read. I also love the movie, done by LAIKA films. Read it, watch it, enjoy the ride.
I’m a sucker for a black cat. My 18 and a half-year old black cat, Sebastian, one of the great loves of my life, passed away at the beginning of the year, and I was actually shocked that I did not end up adopting a black cat. They’re special. But, as we know, I saw a little ginger tabby who meowed at me and convinced me I was his person.
I’ll still probably end up with another black cat eventually. It’s bound to happen.
The Price-Neil Gaiman
You might be able to tell that Neil Gaiman is a fan of cats, which is another reason I’m a fan of him. I saw him speak in Dallas last month, and he answered the question about what animal he would be with “a black cat.” Sounds right to me.
The Price is a short story originally published in Smoke and Mirrors. I’m a big proponent of short stories, and have not yet found one by Gaiman that disappoints. This one is about cats, and visitors of different kinds. There is one line in particular that stayed in my mind long after I read it, maybe because I had a black cat. “I wonder what we did to deserve the Black Cat. I wonder who sent him.”
It’s a great story.
A Dream of a Thousand Cats-Neil Gaiman
A Dream of a Thousand Cats is found in the third volume of the Sandman collected paperbacks series (Dream Country), and I found it weird in the best way. The story is told from the perspective of the cats, and their viewpoint is fascinating, to say the least. I won’t say much more than that, because I don’t really like giving away all too much. But I will include these panels because they’re perfect.
Last but certainly not least:
Lying Cat-Saga (Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples)
There are many, many, many things I adore about Saga, and Lying Cat is one of the top. This glorious creation embodies aspects we all love in our pet cats. That lack of giving a damn. Little patience for lies, not afraid to make your life awkward or difficult, but also a friend. Oh, and (at least in my opinion) very elegant and adorable in appearance.
So that’s a small sampling of some of the cat books, and cats in stories, that hold top spots in my heart. There are more, and I could probably make another list of authors I enjoy who are (or were) cat people (Ray Bradbury, anyone?). But, for now, I hope you can get some feline goodness out of this list.
I must note that the two cats in my life, Masha Scream and Space Oddity, have approved these choices, and wish you a joyous International Cat Day. As long as you like cats, wish them well, or know at least one that you treat well. Otherwise, they rescind their good wishes.
Until next time,
Y, and the cats.