Looking for a story about a cat?

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” – Mark Twain, American author
“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats…” – Albert Schweitzer, humanitarian

Time Cat

Alexander, Lloyd. Time Cat: the Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth. New York: Henry Holt, 2003.
“Jason and his magic cat Gareth travel through time to visit countries all over the world during different periods of history.” – CIP.  A highly imaginative classic that takes readers to Egypt in 2700 BCE, to Roman Britain in 55 BCE, to Ireland in 411 CE, to Japan in 998 CE, to Italy in 1468, to Peru in 1555, to Isle of Man in 1588, to Germany in 1600, and to America in 1775. Highly recommended for readers 11 years old and up. [Adventure and adventurers; Cats; Fantasy fiction; Space and time]

The Underneath

Appelt, Kathi. The Underneath. New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010, c2008.
“An old hound that has been chained up at his hateful owner’s run-down shack and two kittens born underneath the house endure separation, danger, and many other tribulations.” – CIP.  This 2009 Newbery Honor Book is highly recommended for imaginative  9 to 13 year olds. [Animal rights; Cats; Dogs; Fantasy fiction; Friendship; Loyalty; Loneliness; Newbery Medal; Perseverance; Revenge; Texas]


Armstrong, Alan.  Whittington. New York: Random House, 2005. 
The stories of three characters are woven together in this novel: Ben, who can’t who read and hates school; Whittington, a cat who comes to live in a barn with horses, chickens, and a duck called Lady; and Dick Whittington, who once lived in England and made his fortune with the help of a cat without a name.   A highly recommended novel for readers 10 to 14 years old that answers these questions: How do you keep up your courage when everything seems to be against you? How can stories save your life?  [Courage; Cats; Country life; Dyslexia; England; Farms; Friendship; Historical fiction; Newbery Medal; Storytelling]

Cat Who Walked

Banks, Kate. The Cat Who Walked Across France. New York: Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004.
“After his owner dies, a cat wanders across the countryside of France, unable to forget the home he had in the stone house by the edge of the sea.” – CIP. An appealing picture book, an entertaining read-aloud  and discussion starter for 5 to 9 year olds and all cat lovers. [Cats; France; Home]

Bogart, Jo Ellen. The White Cat and the Monk : a Retelling of the Poem ‘Pangur Bán’. Toronto; Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2016.
A monk spends hours studying while his cat spends hours hunting in the darkness. As a new day dawns, the cat has found his mouse and the monk has found the meaning of his manuscript. A retelling of an Irish poem from the 9th century, this picture book illustrated by Sydney Smith is accompanied by an explanatory author’s note. It is recommended for inquisitive readers 7 to 14 years old. [Cats; Middle Ages; Monks; Pets; Truth]

Plain Kate

Bow, Erin. Plain Kate. New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2010.
“Plain Kate’s odd appearance and expertise as a woodcarver cause some to think her a witch, but friendship with a talking cat and, later, with humans help her to survive and even thrive in a world of magic, charms, and fear.” – CIP. A fast-moving 314-page novel for readers who enjoyed the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke. [Magic; Orphans; Witchcraft; Wood carving]

Bob: No Ordinary Cat
Bowen, James. Bob: No Ordinary Cat. London: Hodder, 2013.
James, a young homeless man, is befriended by a ginger cat who changes his life, giving him hope, courage and determination.  An easy-to-read heart-warming true story for readers 11 years old and up.  Fans might also like to follow the two online on James’s Twitter account. [Cats; Homelessness; London; Street musicians]


George, Jean Craighead. How to Talk to Your Cat. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.
How do cats speak? How can we speak to them? The well-known novelist explains in this delightful 28-page book illustrated by Paul Meisel. Recommended for all cat lovers.

Two Bobbies
Larson, Kirby and Mary Nethery. Two Bobbies: a True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival.  New York: Walker & Co., 2008.
Bobbi and Bob Cat survive by staying together after Hurricane Katrina strikes New Orleans in this picture book for readers 8 to 11 years old. [Cats; Dogs; Hurricane Katrina, 2005; New Orleans; Survival]

Le Guin, Ursula K. Cat Dreams. New York: Orchard Books, 2009.
The style and layout of the font help show the mood of this beautiful picture book illustrated by the award-winning S.D. Schindler and written by the award-winning author of the Catwings series.

Le Guin, Ursula K. Catwings. New York: Orchard Books, 2003, c1988. 
Four young cats with wings flee their dangerous city to find safety in the countryside. This short 48-page fantasy novel – the first in a series of four adventure stories –  is a modern classic for cat lovers 7-years old and up.  

Le Guin, Ursula K. Catwings Return. New York : Orchard Books, 2003, c1989.
James and Harriet, lovely little flying cats, return to the city to visit their mother where they discover a tiny black kitten who needs their help. A heart-warming story for readers – and listeners – up to 9 years of age.

Lear, Edward. The Owl and the Pussycat. London: Puffin, 2014.
This lusciously nonsensical poem was first published in 1871. Charlotte Voake beautifully illustrates it in pen and ink and watercolour. The layout of the pages and the size and style of the font enhance the romantic mood. Highly recommended for all ages.

McPhail, David. Crash! The Cat. New York: Holiday House, 2016.
Crash, the pet cat, runs into everything and makes a big mess in the house. But he is still loved. A cheerful picture book – by an superb artist and storyteller – for children up to 7 years of age. [Cats; Pets]

Newman, Leslea. Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2015.

Ketzel, a kitten, is rescued by Moshe Cotel, a composer who lives in a noisy city. Based on a true story, this quietly joyous picture book illustrated by Amy June Bates is highly recommended for cat lovers of all ages. A 2016 winner of the Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Award. [Cats; Composers; Friendship; Pianists]

Schmidt, Annie M.G. The Cat Who Came in off the Roof. New York: Delacorte Press, [2016], c2014.

A shy reporter is about to lose his job. He can never come up with a good story for his newspaper. Until he meets Miss Minou, that is. All of a sudden, she is telling him all sorts of things that are going on in the neighbourhood, all sorts of information that he can turn into newsworthy stories. This 149-page novel by a Dutch author is not difficult to read. But it very easy to enjoy. If you like cats and don’t mind a hint of romance, curl up in a corner and have fun with this story. [Cats; Reporters; Shapeshifting]

Smith, Sydney. Small in the City. Toronto: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2019.
The best picture books have illustrations that are an integral part of the story. The best stories let you feel what it is like to be in someone else’s situation. Small in the City starts with four pages of pictures showing a bundled-up little boy on a bus before the first sentence appears – “I know what it is like…” – and continues as he walks along cold snowy streets, looking everywhere – in alleyways, in fenced yards with angry dogs, under bushes and up in bare-limbed trees, past a fishmonger’s and an empty lot, by a red brick church and a bench in a park – as the snow gets thicker and thicker. Finally, in a sign he’s posted on a light standard, we discover to whom he is talking: his cat, who is lost. The words in the story become fewer again and the illustrations become snowier until the hopeful words, “But I know you. You will be all right.”
The design of this book is brilliant. The style of the illustrations, the size and style of the font, the placement of the sentences on the pages are all perfect. The concept of this book is powerful: a main character imagining life from the point of view of someone else whom he loves. Readers will feel the desperate worry mixed with hope that everyone who has ever had a pet can all too vividly imagine. Most highly recommended for anyone who loves picture books (or cats).

Usher, Sam. Wild. Somerville, Massachusetts: Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press, 2021.
Whenever I see a picture book by Candlewick, I pick it up and take a look. This picture book is such fun that it’s worth picking up again and again. At least it is if you know cats. And like cats. A little boy wakes up to a ‘take care of the cat’ day with his grandfather. Sounds easy. Until the cat arrives with its own ideas. Like all great picture books, the illustrations – full of delightful details – tell as much as the words. Highly recommended for cat lovers 4 to 11 years old. P.S. If you have a new baby in the house, you might like to read this book, too.

Wilson, Troy. Hat Cat. Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2022.
A little cat is adopted by a lonely old man who feeds her, protects her, and cares for her dearly. Until one day he disappears. What will happen now? This charming story about friendship and trust – illustrated by Eve Coy – is recommended for readers 5 to 9 years old. 


“I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed. These things, to me, are expressions of love.” – James Herriot, British veterinarian and writer 

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