Here’s proof that you can make a list out of anything.
- The Cheshire Cat, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll. The Cheshire Cat has had quite an impact on western culture. The trick of disappearing entirely except for your wide grin is pretty neat, as Alice says, “Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin… but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!”
- The Cat, Coraline, Neil Gaiman. The cat doesn’t have a name (cats don’t need them, apparently). This particular cat is cool; sarcastic (as you imagine cats would be), but a bit scaredy in some ways (as cats are).
- Cornelius, Peeps, Scott Westerfeld. A cat who can make a fearless Nightwatch peep hunter say “Nummy-time!” while holding an open can of tuna deserves a mention. Plus there are other things about Cornelius (and the other cats in the story) that are cool which I really can’t describe without spoilers.
- Lord Gort, Blitzcat, Robert Westall. Blitzcat is told from the perspective of Lord Gort, a girl cat who is caught in Blitz-torn Britain, and travels across country in search of her owner (Geoffrey Wensley of the RAF). There aren’t many other World War II books told from a cat’s perspective.
- Mango, A Mango-Shaped Space, Wendy Mass. Mia has synesthesia, which sometimes I’d quite like to have but wonder if it might get annoying. Anyway, she names her cat Mango because that’s the colour of his breathing.
- Sorenson Carlisle’s cat, The Changeover, Margaret Mahy. Sorry’s a witch, so he has a cat. Sorry’s a lot like a cat himself (this is a stretch): “The cat pushed slickly past her legs and jumped up on to Sorry’s knee where it disappeared, for he was wearing black and his greater blackness swallowed the cat’s lesser one.”
- Garfield, Garfield, Jim Davis. Lasagne.
- Sampson, The Diary of a Church Mouse, Graham Oakley. You’d think that the sole cat in a story about lots and lots of mice would be having a fab time, but Sampson is frazzled and downtrodden. The first time I found this classic I was supposed to be reading it to my nephew, but spent so much time laughing and not reading out loud that he lost interest and went off to destroy Lego or something and left me in peace to read it to myself.
- Scarface Claw, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, Lynley Dodd. Forget the dogs, this book is really about Scarface Claw – the whole plot is structured around him and all that.
- The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat, Dr Seuss. Proof that modish cats can enliven a dull afternoon.
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