25 Best Books for Cat Lovers

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One of my (many) favorite things about book lovers is that they’re more often than not animal lovers as well. So, what better way to celebrate book lovers than with a list of best books for cat lovers?

There’s a wealth of great books and short stories and whatnot across all genres about cats. My person favorite from this list is The Price by Neil Gaiman, which is a short story about a black cat that shows up one day. Here’s an animated version of it, too.

Table of Contents

Short Stories about Cats
Literary Cats
Sci-fi, Fantasy & Cats
Heartwarming Stories about Cats
Illustrated Stories about Cats
Mystery-Solving Cats
Books about Literary Cat-Lovers

Short Stories about Cats

I’ve listed the stories based on the books they appear in, though many of these stories appear in other anthologies such as Cat Stories or the Sophisticated Cat.

The Price from Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman | Harper Perennial

What It's About: The Price is a story with an eerie feel, but a surprising and almost touching ending. As mentioned above, it's one of my favorite short stories, and it's about a black cat that shows up at a family's house one day.

Publication Date: November 1, 1998

Puss-in-Boots from The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Angela Carter | Penguin Classics

What It's About: The Bloody Chamber is a fantastic collection of fairytale retellings by Angela Carter. Puss-in-Boots is a bawdy retelling of the Italian-French fairy tale story of the loyal, trickster cat, Puss-in-Boots.

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Goodbye to All Cats by P.G. Wodehouse
P.G. Wodehouse | Arrow

What It's About: It's humorous, silly story about a guy who tries (and fails) to impress a girl and her animal-loving, cat-owning family.

Publication Date: March 27, 2018

The Story of Webster and Cats will be Cats from Mulliner Nights by P.G. Wodehouse
P.G. Wodehouse | The Overlook Press

What It's About: Like the one above, it's an unserious story about nephew who is asked to take care of his uncle's cat, Webster.

Publication Date: August 15, 2003

The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Poe | American Roots

What It's About: The Black Cat is more of a story involving a cat than it is a story for cat lovers, per se. But it's well-known enough that it would seem odd to exclude it from this list. It's a dark tale, in the classic Poe style, about a guy wracked with guilt and a cat named Pluto.

Publication Date: March 31, 2016

The Cat that Walked by Himself by Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling | British Library

What It's About: It is a story of the beginning of domesticated life: Man meets Woman and they move into a cave and set up the first household. Dog, Horse, and Cow come out of the Wild Woods and become tame. But Cat refuses.

Publication Date: October 15, 2010

The Cat from The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
Tove Jansson | NYRB Classics

What It's About: It's about a girl who gets a cute cuddly cat that grows up to be not quite so cuddly. A short, cute story.

Publication Date: May 20, 2008

Literary Cats

Kafka on the Shore
Haruki Murakami | Vintage

What It's About: Kafka on the Shore tells two inter-related stories, one of which involves a man named Nakata who is a finder of lost cats.

Publication Date: January 3, 2006

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Haruki Murakami | Vintage

What It's About: This book is about a couple and their marriage, with their cat symbolizing the status of the relationship between the two.

Publication Date: April 12, 1994

Breakfast at Tiffany's
Truman Capote | Modern Library

What It's About: Holly Golightly's cat is probably the most famous unnamed cat in literature. But for whatever Holly's flaws, you have to admit she does seem to love her cat.

Publication Date: February 5, 2013

The Familiar, Volume 1
Mark Z. Danielewski | Pantheon

What It's About: In the simplest terms, this is a book about a girl who finds a cat, and this entire series of books (27 volumes planned) are about that cat. Of course, Mark Danielewski likes writing very complicated post-modernist epics, so obviously there's a lot more to the story than that.

Publication Date: January 1, 2015

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll | Puffin Books

What It's About: Most people remember the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland who gets some of the most quotable lines of the book, but it's worth taking a moment to remember Alice's own little kitten, Dinah.

Publication Date: October 27, 2015

Neil Gaiman | HarperCollins

What It's About: Coraline is a story about a girl who discovers a door into a parallel universe and her journey to try to get back home. She travels with her helpful, loyal black cat.

Publication Date: January 24, 2002

The Master and Margarita
Mikhail Bulgakov | Penguin Classics

What It's About: Behemoth is the (utterly fantastic) name of the enormous demonic black cat that is a memorable character in this classic Russian novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. It's a humorous tale of the Devil's visit to Soviet Moscow in the 1930s, but be beforewarned that it's not an easy read.

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
T. S. Eliot | Harcourt Brace & Co.

What It's About: T.S. Elliot will forever be associated with cats and Cats! due to this whimsical book of poetry. A must to complete any collection of literary-cat-related books.

Publication Date: August 30, 1982

Sci-fi, Fantasy & Cats

Morte (War with No Name #1)
Robert Repino | Soho Press

What It's About: If you're in the mood for some cat-themed sci-fi, check out this series of books. The titular Morte is a cat assassin searching for his lost love in this first book.

Publication Date: January 1, 2014

Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth
Lloyd Alexander | Puffin

What It's About: This is a beloved children's book about a talking, magical cat named Gareth.

Publication Date: February 1, 1996

Warriors Super Edition: Bluestar's Prophecy
Erin Hunter | HarperCollins

What It's About: A series of children's books about super warrior cats. This installment (Bluestar's Prophecy) is a standalone book in the series, so you can get a sense of whether it's something you'd like!

Publication Date: June 1, 2009

The Starless Sea
Erin Morgenstern | Doubleday

What It's About: The Starless Sea isn't really about cats at all, but it's about an underground labyrinth dedicated to storytelling where there are a bunch of cats wandering around.

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Heartwarming Stories about Cats

The Travelling Cat Chronicles
Hiro Arikawa | Berkley

What It's About: From The San Francisco Chronicle: The Travelling Cat Chronicles is a life-affirming anthem to kindness and self-sacrifice that shows how the smallest things can provide the greatest joy—the perfect gift for cat lovers and travelers.

Publication Date: October 23, 2018

All Creatures Great and Small
James Herriot | St. Martin's Griffin

What It's About: The memoirs of this veterinarian deal with a whole range of animals, including cats. This book is considered something of a classic for animal lovers.

Publication Date: May 6, 2014

Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul
Jack Canfield | Backlist, LLC - a unit of Chicken Soup of the Soul Publishing LLC

What It's About: Leave your cynicism at the door for this one, and get comfy before you dive into this heartwarming collection of stories. Also, get some tissues ready, since if you don't cry, are you even really a cat lover?

Publication Date: September 27, 2005

The Guest Cat
Takashi Hiraide | New Directions

What It's About: A wonderful sui generis novel about a visiting cat who brings joy into a couple’s life in Tokyo.

Publication Date: January 28, 2014

Illustrated Stories about Cats

How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You
The Oatmeal | Andrews McMeel Publishing/Hodder & Stoughton

What It's About: If your cat is kneading you, that's not a sign of affection. Your cat is actually checking your internal organs for weakness. If your cat brings you a dead animal, this isn't a gift. It's a warning. How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You is an offering of cat comics, facts, and instructional guides from the creative wonderland at TheOatmeal...

Publication Date: July 15, 2012

Simon's Cat
Simon Tofield | Grand Central Publishing

What It's About: Simon Tofield's animations have taken YouTube by storm. Now, the feline Internet phenomenon makes his way onto the page in this first-ever book based on the popular animated series. Simon's Cat depicts and exaggerates the hilarious relationship between a man and his cat. The daily escapades of this adorable pet, which always involve demanding more food, and his exasperated but doting owner come to life through Tofield's charming and hilarious illustrations.

Publication Date: September 24, 2009

The New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons
New Yorker Magazine | Knopf

What It's About: Here are the funniest and most feline cats ever assembled in 101 cartoons, the cream of the cream, from sixty-five years of the New Yorker.

Publication Date: October 10, 1990

The New Yorker Book of All-New Cat Cartoons
The New Yorker | Knopf

What It's About: Cats again? You can never have too many . . .

Drawn from the hundreds of cartoons published in The New Yorker in the seven years since The New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons--as well as from fabulous older cats--this new collection is as hilarious and irresistible as the first.

The cartoons provide a cat's-eye view of the world and the important things in life: food, sleep, love and affection, adventure, food, good friends and doggy enemies, back rubs, and food...

Publication Date: December 16, 1997

Mystery-Solving Cats

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (The Cat Who Series #1
Lilian Jackson Braun | JOVE Books

What It's About: Jim Qwilleran is a prizewinning reporter who's been on the skids but is now coming back with a job as feature writer (mostly on the art scene) for the Daily Fluxion. George Bonifield Mountclemens, the paper's credentialed art critic, writes almost invariably scathing, hurtful reviews of local shows; delivers his pieces by messenger; lives with his all-knowing cat Koko in a lushly furnished house in a moldering neighborhood, and has a raft of enemies all over town...

Publication Date: August 15, 1986

By Book or By Crook (A Lighthouse Library Mystery #1)
Eva Gates | Berkley

What It's About: Get bound up in murder in the first Lighthouse Library mystery!

For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner...

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

Cat Chase the Moon (A Joe Grey Mystery #21)
Shirley Rousseau Murphy | William Morrow

What It's About: Feline P. I. Joe Grey and his friends pounce on three investigations that may connect to one larger mystery—including one case that is very personal—in this hair-raising installment in Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s beloved, award-winning series.

Joe Grey and his partner, Dulcie, are frantic when Courtney, their pretty teen-kitten goes missing...

Publication Date: April 23, 2019

The Cats Came Back (Magical Cats)
Sofie Kelly | Berkley

What It's About: Small-town librarian Kathleen Paulson often seems to gets mixed up in murder, but luckily, her very special cats always find a way to help her close a case . . .

The charming Minnesota town of Mayville Heights is hosting a music festival, and the whole place is bustling with musicians and tourists...

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Cat Out of Hell
Lynne Truss | Melville House

What It's About: Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves) is back with a mesmerizing and hilarious tale of cats and murder
For people who both love and hate cats comes the tale of Alec Charlesworth, a librarian who finds himself suddenly alone: he’s lost his job, his beloved wife has just died...

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Books about Literary Cat-Lovers

Of Cats and Men: Profiles of History's Great Cat-Loving Artists, Writers, Thinkers, and Statesmen
Sam Kalda | Ten Speed Press

What It's About: A stylish, illustrated gift book from an award-winning artist that profiles
notable cat-loving men throughout history in words and pictures.

Of Cats and Men presents a fresh approach to cat entertainment that’s smart,
sweet, and driven by beautiful art (instead of tacky photography, as many cat
books are)...

Publication Date: April 18, 2017

On Cats
Charles Bukowski | Ecco

What It's About: Felines touched a vulnerable spot in the unfathomable soul of Charles Bukowski, the Dirty Old Man of American letters. On Cats brings together the acclaimed writer’s reflections on the animals he so admired. Bukowski’s cats are fierce and demanding—he captures them stalking their prey, crawling across his typewritten pages; waking him up with claws across the face...

Publication Date: December 1, 2015

The Cat Inside
William S. Burroughs | Penguin Books

What It's About: Best known for the wild, phantasmagoric satire of works like Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs reveals another, gentler side in The Cat Inside. Originally published as a limited-edition volume, this moving and witty discourse on cats combines deadpan routines and dream passages with a heartwarming account of Burroughs's unexpected friendships with the many cats he has known...

Publication Date: January 29, 2002

Mark Twain for Cat Lovers
Mark Dawidziak | Lyons Press

What It's About: America is cat crazy, and Mark Twain may have been the American writer most crazy about cats. From his boyhood in Hannibal, Missouri, to his last years in Connecticut, Mark Twain spent much of his life surrounded by cats, and they stalk through many of his best-known books, including The Innocents Aboard, Roughing It, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and Puddn'head Wilson...

Publication Date: May 1, 2015

Hope you enjoyed this list as much as I enjoyed putting it together. For one last piece of cat-related writing, check out this poem entitled “To Mrs. Reynold’s Cat” from an OG cat-lover, poet John Keats.

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