If I’d told someone ten years ago that cat authors would soon be all the rage, they’d have laughed me out of town. Back in those “dark ages,” felines just didn’t write books. I don’t think it was because cats didn’t have anything to say, though. I think the primary reason cats didn’t write books until recently was that they hadn’t realized they could command a human to do their transcribing!
Once felines got over the hurdle of not having opposable thumbs, cat books began popping up everywhere, and many have become bestsellers. The Dalai Lama’s cat covered a very important feline topic in The Art of Purring. Sparkle the Designer Cat offered sage advice for a feline’s most pressing problems in her two books. Felines explored the world of poetry in I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats. Psychokitty Max Thompson is a prolific feline author, with five books to date including The Rules: A Guide For People Owned By Cats.
So you see, cats writing books is nothing new. However, I don’t think cats have even scratched the surface of all of the topics they’re qualified to write about. Here are just a few.
1. How to Fit Into Practically Anything
The postal service slogan “If it fits, it ships” inspired a hilarious cat version “If I fits, I sits” which the clever meme-makers had a field day with. So I thought since cats know a thing or two about fitting into the most unlikely places – including itty bitty fish bowls and boxes five times too small – they could write this informative guidebook in the style of the classic How to Clean Practically Anything.
I have had the pleasure of a cat’s company for all of my life. Without giving away my age, let’s just say that this amounts to a very long time. Cats have been my BFFs ever since the cute yellow kitten my toddler self inexplicably wanted to name Blacky (sadly, I was outvoted). I think it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about cat behavior. Which means that whenever I start reading a new cat book, I can tell within the first few pages whether the author really “knows” cats, or not.
As it happens, sometimes people who have a cat decide to try writing some funny stories about the cat. The stories are indeed humorous, but they don’t really describe feline behavior. As you might imagine, I enjoy books about cats more when they’re portraying at least semi-realistic things the cats do … or might do, if given the chance.
When I began reading Lessons in Stalking: Adjusting to Life with Cats, it was obvious that the book’s author, Dena Harris, was a bona fide cat lady. Not everyone gets cats, but Dena Harris most definitely does. Moreover, she captured their feline quirks perfectly, and the stories – although slightly exaggerated for comic effect – were plausible. Events may not have happened exactly the way she described them…but they could have.
I am addicted to cat books. No, not books about cats; books written by cats. I can’t get enough of them. Luckily, it’s easy to get a fix. There are so many cat authors now, that I wouldn’t be surprised if they outnumbered human writers one day. Amazon often has kindle versions of cat books for .99 to $1.99 (sometimes even free!), and like a good pusher they email me to let me know.
My latest cat author discovery is Max Thompson, who describes himself as “14 pounds of sleek black and white glory, with an attitude…and opinions… on everything.” That’s accurate, I think. Max the cat is quite a character. He’s got “catitude,” as they say.
Max first dipped his paws into the writing water in 2003, with a blog called The PsychoKitty Speaks Out. Spurred on by the appreciation of the masses for his witty quips, enlightened feline wisdom and snarky attitude, Max put his musings into book form. Diary of a Mad Housecat contains short daily entries about Max’s life as a “put-upon and under-appreciated feline.”
The book puts a humorous spin on common feline behaviors that every cat lover will identify with. Such as: “If you don’t want me to lick the chicken, don’t leave it on the counter. Simple as that.” The diary format makes it easy to read in snippets, as time permits. It’s a funny look at the day-to-day life of a sarcastic, smart-aleck cat.
Max is cool, but he does have a potty mouth. Yes, he swears. A LOT. If Max were human, I imagine him as a beer swilling, chest thumping macho man who cusses like a drunken sailor, but still has a soft spot for Mom even though he claims not to like or need anyone. The idea of a swearing feline is admittedly not everyone’s cup of tea. I didn’t hate that aspect of Max’s character, exactly, but also feel the bad language could have been toned down because it started to detract from the humor.
Because it’s the giving season, CANIDAE decided to hold a comment-a-thon to benefit PAWS (Pets are Wonderful Support)! I’ll give you all the important details for that below. But first, I want to tell you about a pawsome novel that should be on the bookshelf of every cat lover.
The Dalai Lama’s cat is back, which makes me so happy that I’m purring! Not actually purring, mind you, but metaphorically. I was over the moon when I received my copy of The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring, because it’s a sequel to one of the best books I read in 2013.
In that first book, The Dalai Lama’s Cat, I met and fell in love with a witty, wise and mischievous feline who “had me at hello.” She’s every bit as charming in this delightful new book, which also offers pearls of Buddhist wisdom from a cat’s point of view. The principles are sprinkled so subtly throughout the book that you may not even be consciously aware of them, but they will have a lasting impact nonetheless.
The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring offers gentle but profound lessons about life and most importantly, happiness – where it comes from, how to be joyful not just in the moment but for a lifetime, and how to discover more of the things that make you purr. Although the Dalai Lama’s cat walks on four legs instead of two, the wisdom she uncovers through various events can be applied to all of our lives.
My only disappointment is that the Dalai Lama was absent for most of the book, having left on a trip at the start of the story and returning just a few pages from the end. I do understand the point for his absence – a valuable lesson learned – but I loved the interaction of the Dalai Lama and Little Snow Lion (his affectionate name for the cat) in the first book, and was hoping for more of that.
Sometimes “Meow” doesn’t quite get the point across. At least, that’s the premise behind I Could Pee On This (and Other Poems by Cats), a delightful book that I am totally in love with.
If we buy into the notion that cats can write – and why shouldn’t we? Scads of cat blogs and cat memoirs already exist, which suggests that felines have found a way around the whole “lack of opposable thumbs” thing – then it’s not such a stretch to believe that cats can also pen poetry. Not just any poetry, however; witty, wise, laugh-out-loud poems that claim to “reveal the true artistic and neurotic genius that every feline possesses.”
Indeed. I Could Pee On This does that and so much more. The 64 short poems delve into the reasons behind funny feline behaviors, explore hilarious eccentricities and even include some existential musings. All from the cat’s point of view, of course.
At approximately 5” x 6” and 112 pages, I Could Pee On This is a tiny little thing. Nevertheless, every page is a gem, each poem one that will elicit a knowing smile from every cat lover. Because clearly, these poems have captured the very essence of what makes felines so enticing to us.
Have you ever wondered what kind of kooky trouble cats would get into on the internet if they could type? (Wait, what? You mean they can’t type? Then how do they write all of those cat blogs, tweets and Facebook status updates? Oh right…“Staff.” Who needs opposable thumbs when you can get an unwitting human to do your bidding?). So yeah, every cat who is anycat has an online presence and legions of adoring fans. =^..^=
And now, as if our internet-savvy cats needed any more inspiration for their online escapades, there’s Whiskerslist: the Kitty Classifieds, a clever book that is sure to become every feline’s favorite. Whiskerslist features 160 craigslist-style classified ads written by cats, for cats. With categories like Personals, For Sale, Help Wanted, Services, Discussion and Gigs, this book delves into the devious feline mind like never before.
Cats will find everything they could possibly want in Whiskerslist, whether they are looking for love (or just some heavy petting), trying to sell their slightly-used-but-still-in good-condition cat toys, hoping to rent out their sink, find a job or score a new nip connection.
Whiskerslist has a few recurring characters that I loved, including Mittens McCullen, opportunistic Attorney at Law, and the smarmy Hector, a Lothario wannabe. Hector starts off being picky about the type of female companion he wants to hook up with, but when that doesn’t work he attempts to seduce pretty much any female cat who will have him. E.G., “I am an 8-year-old gray-and-white mancat who likes whatever you like. You are a thin/fat/purebred/crossbred/stray/one-eyed/three-legged female with or without fleas, mites, ticks, kittens or mange.”
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