What Are Your Favorite Cat Books – and Why?

| March 15, 2014 | 41 Comments

Understanding Your CatA Floppycats.com reader and I were emailing back and forth and she was mentioning some older cat books that she thinks are just great.

Although it’s dated, one of the best cat behavior books I have is Dr. Michael Fox’s “Understanding Your Cat.”

There are thousands of cat books out there, many genres–cat mysteries, cat classics (“The Black Cat,” “Puss ‘n Boots”), cat art, cat nutrition, cat behavior, cat compendia, cat everything.

I’m not sure what one would call Cleveland Amory’s “The Cat and the Curmudgeon” series and similar books–just living with cats, or a tribute to cats we have known and loved, or cat humor?

So, What Are Your Favorite Cat Books – and Why?

 

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Category: Ragdoll Cat Books

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About the Author ()

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Dementia Boy says:

    Ask and you shall receive!!

    I knew I had a lot of cat books. I mean, a LOT, as in an entire wall devoted to them. But I didn’t really know exactly how many I had until this morning, when I began searching for favorites. I still don’t know *exactly* how many I have, but I’d estimate close to a thousand.

    I’ll try to limit my favorites to 10. I may have to do this in sections because there’s a particular short story I’m looking for; I probably have 30 anthologies, minimum.

    Anyhoo, here are some of my favorites:

    (1) “The Natural Cat,” Anitra Frazier (1981, 1st ed.): My first foray into holistic cat care. Some of it was just too bizarre for me at the time–no dry food?? Is Frazier crazy?? I learned a lot about homeopathic medicine, including the use of herbs and flower essences.

    (2) “Supercat: Raising the Perfect Feline Companion,” Dr. Michael W. Fox (1990, 1st ed.): Thanks to the internet, we know most of this stuff now, but it’s still a worthwhile read for mentally and physically challenging your cat. This is where I learned that it’s more important for a cat to jump than to run. This is where I discovered the feline I.Q. test. Have I mentioned that Jolie scored a perfect zero on it? Her sister scored 180. Talk about sibling rivalry.

    (3) “Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics” (1994): Not to be confused with “Why Paint Cats,” this coffee table book is hilarious, full of great illustrations. A must-have if you’re involved in the art world and you don’t take yourself too seriously. This sort of pokes fun at the white zinfandel crowd while highlighting cats’ artistic temperaments.

    (4) “The Silent Miaow: A Manual for Kittens, Strays & Homeless Cats,” translated from the feline by Paul Gallico (1st ed., 1964): A cat tells other cats how to weasel their way into human homes. My edition automatically opens to the following lines: “And be careful of this human love, for it can be more painful than being beaten with a stick. People often stop loving and leave one. We never do.”

    (5) “Waiting for Gertrude,” Bill Richardson (2001). Set in the famous French cemetery, the humans interred therein come back as cats. Features Alice B. Toklas, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and more. Quite strange–I love it!!

    Must go to the butcher. Will be back later with second installment of faves.

  2. Hey, we have that book at our library! Lol.

    Anyways, as for my fav cats books—I like/know too many to write down, lol. πŸ˜‰

  3. patricia says:

    dementia boy is hard core!! i thought i was bad! i have probably a couple of hundred cat books. of course a lot of them were gifts from people that know i’m a crazy cat lady. i have many from my child hood. puss and boots of course, why cats paint (love that one), the english cat at home, this is a magazine but it’s one of my treasures.. “catmopolitan” it’s hilarious, all of the books “the cat who….” , the complete cat, the cat that came to stay. geesh, there are so many. and i love these because some are funny, some are educational, some are sweet stories about kitties, some are beautiful to look at, some have great mystery and humor (“the cat who.. ) series. my cat books are my most cherished books because cats are the most cherished thing to me. i love them, i’m obsessed with them and there is nothing better than a cat!

    • Dementia Boy says:

      The Cat Who…” Yes!! Yes!! Definitely my favorite cat mystery series. For a place that’s “400 miles north of everywhere,” a lot sure happens in Moose County.

      My favorite cat short story is also by Lillian Jackson Braun, “The Sin of Madame Phloi.” I bawl my eyes out every time I read it–Madame Phloi’s son reminds me so much of William.

      I’ve bought most of my books at thrift stores and used book stores. Probably 1/3 have been gifts or I’ve–gulp–paid full price for them. I can’t find the book my daughter gave me about a year ago, and I can’t remember its exact title: “How to Tell If Your Cat Is Trying to Kill You.” lolololol.

      • Jenny says:

        love this – i am super naive about cat books.

        • Dementia Boy says:

          No spoiler alerts: A newspaper reporter moves to Moose County with his two Siamese, Koko and Yum Yum. (It’s my opinion that Chiggy and Charlie could easily take over these roles.) They live in a converted barn with catwalks. They use a turkey roaster for a litter pan. They eat such exotic fair as prime rib and lobster thermidor. (The author apparently got a lot of heat, from vets and crazy cat ladies like us, that such was not an appropriate diet.)

          For being such a friendly, genteel little collection of towns, there are plenty of murders, disappearances, extortion and blackmail efforts etc. Koko tries to give clues by knocking classic books off the shelves. But until the last five years or so–is Lillian Jackson Braun no longer with us–you never knew whodunit. Only by tracing the crime back, primarily through Koko’s clues, do you say, “ah ha!!”

          This is all fine and well until your OWN cat begins knocking books off shelves. It is never a good idea for your cat to do this when relatives are present, relatives who think you’re a claw short of a paw to begin with. Muse began doing this when my daughter and her sociopathic boyfriend–not you, Matt–were over. “Did you see that??? Muse is knocking books off shelves!! And they’re all about cat crimes!!” My daughter suggested Muse was trying to find a cool place to lie. Some people’s children.

      • patricia says:

        i’d love to see that one, i’ll have to find it, that’s so funny.

  4. patricia says:

    oh crap i forgot one ts elliots practical cats!! that story is how the musical “cats” came to be. it is absolutely delightful. yikes dementia boy i just saw the “silent miaow” i would bawl my eyes out!!

  5. Brita says:

    Yes, t.s.eliot’s Book of Practical Cats is delicious to read aloud! I delight in all of Simon’s Cat escapades. And for cat characters in fiction, I enjoy “The Cat Who..” series. Great thread, thanks!

  6. patricia says:

    i love “busterfur jones”! i had a cat like that, he would travel the neighborhood and get fed from everyone! a lady came to me one day when i was out pulling weeds and said “oh is that your cat? he comes to my house and the lady a couple of houses down and tells us he never gets fed and how pitiful his life is .. so i cook him up some hamburger”. omg i was laughing so hard. she knew he was just a spoiled moocher but she really did make him hamburger. he was a fluffy black and white and such a funny boy. i saw the musical “cats” before that and it was great when i got this cat how he was so much like the “busterfur jones” i’d call him that sometimes, his other name was “spiderman”. i miss him. any cat lover should see “cats” though. it’s so wonderful. i was like a little kid and i cried it was so fantastic.

    • Dementia Boy says:

      Busterfur was two-timing you!! I read about two-timing both in “The Silent Miaow” and ???. When I finally found out about two-timing, I confronted Max, a huge longhaired brown tabby, also a “spoiled moocher” (too funny!) He gave me the typical cat look: “And…?”

      Eliot is my favorite poet. (I named one of the great loves of my life, also a longhaired brown tabby, Eliot) I didn’t read his cat poems for a long time because I tend to compartmentalize stuff and I didn’t want cats and poetry getting mixed up. (Ok, so I’m a weirdo; like you didn’t know that already.)

      When we first saw “Cats!” my youngest daughter began crying when the cats ran down the aisles with “flashlight eyes.” (Like that makes sense.) “Scary kitties!!” she sobbed. Macavity scared her, too. It didn’t help that my older daughter hissed at her. I, in turn, hissed at my older daughter and grabbed her by the scruff.

      The last time I saw “Cats!” I accompanied a bunch of disabled adults, most of whom were in wheelchairs. So we sat about 10 feet from the stage, all in whiskers and ears. Awesome. The White Cat, Victoria, was from Reno, so we got the Broadway cast right before “Cats!” shut down.

  7. I have not heard of that book, Jenny, but it speaks volumes that it is updated. My great desire is to find a book written by a cat about understanding humans!

    • Dementia Boy says:

      I have these books!! (Mostly they’re about manipulating humans.) Unfortunately, yesterday I went on a rampage and tossed all my cat books on the floor, searching for favorite books. Now I can’t find anything =( and can barely squeeze into my cave/lab. My eyes and body are kaput; I feel like I’ve skied around the lake twice.

  8. Dementia Boy says:

    I need help!! (No kidding, Dementia Boy.)

    I went through my cat anthologies yesterday and can’t find a particular short story.

    A grumpy, mean-spirited guy owns a small business. His employees hate him. He’s not nice to his cat, either (not mean, really, but not nice). The ending will break your heart. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

  9. Dementia Boy says:

    Will list more favorites later, but, really, I feel like a flat cat on the freeway. What possessed me to toss my books and glance through anthologies? I am possessed by all things feline.

    • Jenny says:

      you are and thank god you are on floppycats to help educate us!

      • Dementia Boy says:

        “You, too, can have a snarky kitty with multiple health problems just like Jolie if you just listen to Dementia Boy!!”

        Jolie is suffering from book dust, I’m suffering from just books, but I hope to add a few to this list shortly. (I’ll leave my veterinary manuals out.)

  10. Robin says:

    Hey, Dementia Boy, you are GREAT! I have read most of the books that you listed, and lots more, because I researched everything pertaining to cats for years before I ever got one. I don’t think anyone mentioned the late Dr. James Herriot. He wrote lots of sweet animal books. There is one dedicated to cat stories, which is particularly nice. He was probably one of the greatest veterinarians the world has seen.

    • Dementia Boy says:

      That *is* a good one. I love all of his stuff. (Trying not to give a spoiler: His wife’s cat.)

      My favorite story of his, though, has to do with a bull. In the early days of artificial insemination, Dr. Herriot apparently did not check the water of the bag before inserting it into the cow. The bull proceeded to do what bulls do, his eyes and nostrils flared, and he screamed. Dr. Herriot checked the bag (boiling), and tried to imagine what the bull was thinking: “That’s one heck of a woman!!”

      Keep adding them, Robin!!

  11. Uh oh. Am feeling like horrible kitty mommy as I don’t have a favorite cat book (other than your kitten care guide, Jenny!). πŸ™‚

    I just read schtuff from the internet and have favorite cat info sites bookmarked, etc…

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Pink Sugar πŸ™‚

    • Dementia Boy says:

      Now, Miss Patti: How does not reading cat mysteries and stories make you a horrible cat mommy??? Does Pink Sugar plan to get a job as a private detective??

      You have the best book of all for a Ragdoll slave–Jenny’s book πŸ™‚

      • Hi, DB!

        lol πŸ™‚

        Miss Pink Sugar Fluffybottom informed me that she has no plans to work outside the home as she’s a DomestiCATed Goddess (like her Mommy)! πŸ™‚

        Yes, Jenny’s book is the best book ever! πŸ™‚

        Big hugs!

        Patti & Pink Sugar πŸ™‚

  12. ChristyB says:

    I think you all would love, “Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat” by Gwen Cooper.

    Dementia Boy, when you aren’t harassing law enforcement at your door, sharing your endless knowledge, reading, volunteering and taking care of your loved ones, are you doing some stand up comedy too?! Your comments always manage to crack me up!!

    • Dementia Boy says:

      “Homer’s Odyssey” sounds like it would clean my sinuses right out.

      A former lust interest owns a comedy club/nightclub/casino up here. He doesn’t find me the least bit amusing. He introduces me by saying, “she was a fox when she was 15!!” (I was 12.) I’m still wondering how he grew to be rich and I grew to be eccentric.

      • ChristyB says:

        It will but it will also have you cracking up, finding your jaw dropping in amazement and appreciating a great story!

        Sounds like it’s good you can categorize him as “former”, he sounds like a donkey chasm!!

  13. Robert Oh says:

    Glamorpus: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs by Julie Jackson

    It is a book that is made entirely of pictures of cats wearing wigs.

  14. Dementia Boy says:

    More kitty mysteries:

    The Midnight Louie series, Carole Nelson Douglas. Straight out of film noir and pulp fiction, Louie is on the security detail of a Las Vegas Hotel. In his spare time, he saves dames in distress, both feline and human, while refusing to acknowledge paternity of a sleek young thing named Midnight Louise. (Louie is not sleek and often has difficulty getting over fences, but don’t tell him that.)

    The Joe Grey series, Shirley Rousseau Murphy. Cats who behave like cats, but have certain extraordinary powers.

    I won’t recommend another series because the author got lazy after the first five or so, and went bonkers in her acknowledgements–stating the people she wouldn’t acknowledge and why. Also, a vet tech up here used to work for her as a groom and I just get a Joan Crawford vibe.

  15. ChristyB says:

    Perhaps we should start a Floppy Cats Book Club. Jenny could organize and post everything since I’m sure she’s got nothing else to do right?!

    Seriously, maybe we could do it and have discussions in the Forums.

  16. ChristyB says:

    This is an author being interviewed about his book so I’m bending the topic a little bit, I think a lot of you would find this interesting:

    What’s Mittens Thinking? Make ‘Sense’ Of Your Cat’s Behavior:

    http://www.npr.org/2013/09/05/219254626/whats-mittens-thinking-make-sense-of-your-cats-behavior

    **click on the arrowhead facing right (it’s white in a blue “box”), just under the title to listen to the interview**

    • Dementia Boy says:

      Scroll down the whole darn thing!! Cats, poetry and neat stuff. I did not know that NPR had a blog. (I really spend too much time in the woods.)

  17. ChristyB says:

    I can’t believe that nobody has posted the hands-down best-book-about-cats-ever book (shhh, let’s not mention that I didn’t either!).

    The BEST cat book ever is “Miracle Cat” by Sophia Meyer

    Sophia is my niece and she wrote this book when she was only 10-years old! She worked on it almost every day and then published it just shy of her 12th birthday last summer.

    She is the best (and yes, I am up for the “Best Auntie Ever” award!), and it goes without saying that if she is the best then her book is the best!

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