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Comments for Weekly Geeks 2009-15: Cats

Cats and Books: 04/25/09

caligula on booksTake a look at my icon here in he header or at the avatar I use when leaving comments and you'll know it's a calico cat. Except for my four years as an undergrad in college, I have always had cats in my life.

My favorites:

There are hundreds of nonfiction books about the care of cats or memoirs of living with cats. Most of the caring for cat books focus on a specific breed. I've never lived with a pure bread cat. Exotic breeds for cats (or dogs) isn't my thing. I prefer moggies and mutts.

My current cat, Caligula, is a calico American short hair. Since calico is a color and not a breed, there are very few books devoted to the calicos. There are a few books about calicos in art but what I wanted was a book that explained why calicos are calico. Luck helped me find the perfect book: Cats are Not Peas by Laura Gould. It happens to be a memoir of a woman who had a rare male calico and set out to understand why most calicos are female and what makes their unusual color patterns possible.

There are a number of delightful fiction books that feature cats. Many of the ones I'm listing are children's books.

  • Mama Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming (a calico cat and her three kittens)
  • Manhattan is Missing by E. W. Hildick (a lost Siamese)
  • Alice, the Cat Who Was Hounded by Jules Rosenthal
  • Uh-oh Calico by Karma Wilson

The one that touched my heart the most:

I don't know that I can point to a cat book that touched my heart the most. I don't really think of books in those terms. Here are three sentimental memoirs though that might touch your heart.

  • The Cats of Moon Cottage by Marilyn Edwards
  • Cathedral Cats by Richard Surman
  • The Company of Cats by Michael J. Rosen

Cat books on my TBR shelf:

I call my TBR pile my "to be reviewed" since I read faster than I can review them here. Cat books that I plan to review on this blog include:

  • Bad Kitty and Poor Puppy both by Nick Bruel
  • Grumpy Cat by Britta Teckentrup
  • I Feel Skitty by Tracey West
  • Love is a Many Trousered Thing and Stop in the Name of Pants both by Louise Renison (although a minor character, I adore Angus the cat)
  • The Cat Who Wasn't There (and a few others from this series) by Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Can Kittens Take a Catnap? by Claire Palfreman-Bunker
  • The Cat in the Mirror by Mary Stolz
  • Dewey by Vicki Myron

A childhood favorite?

Three fictional cats come to mind from my childhood: Huckleberry cat and his family from the Richard Scarry books, the Cheshire cat from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the Cat in the Hat who showed up in a number of books by Dr. Seuss.

A cat named after a character in a book or movie?

I have not personally named a pet after a character in a book or a movie but I have relatives who have. My grandmother for instance named a brother and sister pair of cats "Olive and Anne" from Oliver and Company. See, Anne's full name was "Anne Company." My mother named her cat Maxwell Smart and has just as stupid and clumsy as his namesake. We also had a pair of cats (named after dogs!) called Lady and Tramp. And if you're wondering about Caligula cat's name, my husband named her.

Caligula the cat:

Caligula inspires me in many ways. First off all there is this web site and then there is my art work. I have a number of cat themed drawings and many of them are for sale at Zazzle.

Comments (28)

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Comment #1: Saturday, April, 25, 2009 at 18:53:06


Wonderful post. Did you ever read The Fur Person by May Sarton? Caligula is a stunning kitty.

Comment #2: Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 20:25:00


I have and I'm remiss in not mentioning it! I read it before I was actively book blogging. You can read my review at Book Crossing.

Comment #3: Saturday, April, 25, 2009 at 18:53:46


Sarah: Thanks for sharing some great books about cats (specifically calico cats). I have a part Siamese cat named Gizmo - her mother is a torti-point Siamese, so Gizmo is a calico cat with the strong personality of a Siamese! She is gorgeous. Growing up, I had a cat named Becky who was a calico cat with 7 toes on each of her front feet and 6 toes on each of her back feet. She was an exceptional mouser!

Comment #4: Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 20:34:04


Maxwell Smart was half Siamese so I can just guess what Gizmo must be like!

Comment #5: Saturday, April, 25, 2009 at 19:41:08


That is a lot of cat books! We only have one cat book at home. One. Lol. Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes. I love Caligula on that stack of books. I'm more of a dog person but that is adorable.

Comment #6: Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 20:47:20


My daughter would really like Kitten's First Full Moon. I think she's more crazy about cats than I am.

Comment #7: Saturday, April, 25, 2009 at 19:51:35


Caligula is a great name for a cat! One of my cats terrorizes my plants and dictates where on the bed I sleep. She could pass for a Roman emperor!

I really like the photo you included. What is it with cats and books? No matter what I am reading or where I am reading my cats find me and demand my attention. Perhaps they fear I am reading about dogs.

Comment #8: Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 20:50:53


Thanks! The name suits my cat. She's also a terrorizer of plants and dictator of sorts in this house.

I don't know what it is about cats and books. Or cats and blogging. I can spend hours doing other things on the computer but as soon as I switch over the blogging, she comes and sits on my arms. What's up with that?

Comment #9: Saturday, April, 25, 2009 at 22:57:15


I love your cat. :) We have two dilute calicoes, and they do have a lot of personality. I forgot about the Cat Who ... .series. I've read most of those. The earlier ones are better.

Happy Weekly Geeks :)

Comment #10: Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 20:54:51


Speaking of dilute calicos, have you ever read Daisy the Curly Cat's blog?

Comment #11: Saturday, April, 25, 2009 at 23:12:28


Caligula is a very cool name. I never new that most calico's were female. huh... I had one calico she followed me everywhere. She was a cat I found and the owners didn't want her anymore. Her name was patches. She was very sweet.

Comment #12: Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 21:14:22


The genetic sequence for colors orange and black (or peach and gray if it's a dilute) are kept on the X chromosome. White isn't a sex linked color. So for there to be a black, orange and white cat there needs to be two X chromosomes (and hence a female cat). A tortoiseshell is a female cat with black and orange but no white. If you find a male calico, he has to be a chimera (XXY). You can learn more in Cats Are Not Peas.

Comment #13: Saturday, April 25, 2009 21:24:44 PM


Gizmo has personality plus :) I love the Siamese personality - and Giz likes to talk...all the time :)

Comment #14: Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 19:54:44


Max was a talker too. Caligula except for when she wants something is a strong silent type.

Comment #15: Sunday, April, 26, 2009 at 00:43:48


I hadn't, but thanks for the link. :)

Comment #16: Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 19:57:24


You're welcome!

Comment #17: Sunday, April, 26, 2009 at 06:18:38


I don't know why I didn't think of the Cat in the Hat - classic

Comment #18: Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 19:58:23


I probably wouldn't have thought of it if I didn't have two young kids who were reading it now.

Comment #19: Sunday, April, 26, 2009 at 08:31:12


The Cat in the Hat is a favorite of mine as well. A mischievous fellow who eats cake in the bathtub. You've got to love that!

Comment #20: Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 20:01:21


Yes. Who else would think of cake and bubble bath?

Comment #21: Tuesday, April, 28, 2009 at 14:59:46


Great post! Our inlaws in New Zealand sent our son an adorable paperback picture book called "My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes."

Comment #22: Friday, May 1, 2009 at 10:18:04


Thank you for the book recommendation. My daughter would love My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes.

Comment #23: Thursday, April, 30, 2009 at 07:29:01


Wow, cats galore here! Caligula is quite a gorgeous cat and partial to books too, by the looks of it.

I didn't realise you were a fellow Bookcrosser.

Comment #24: Friday, May 1, 2009 at 10:21:10


Caligula is partial to books as a place to sleep. She will sleep on almost anything. I've been a Bookcrosser since 2003.

Comment #25: Thursday, April, 30, 2009 at 19:42:12


As a cat owner, I don't think I've read any of these books, with the exception of the Dr. Seuss, and am beginning to wonder about my own cat illiteracy after seeing your list. ;)

Comment #26: Friday, May 1, 2009 at 10:25:21


Cats are such popular subjects in books I don't think it's possible to be well read in the subject!

Comment #27: Saturday, December, 26, 2009 at 00:46:04

Siamese Cats

This is funny...we actually had a cat named Caligula. Siamese cats make the best pets IMO.

Comment #28: Friday, January 1, 2010 at 20:28:04


I've had a couple Siamese cats in my life but I prefer the the moggy cat.