I read and reviewed a lot of great cat books this year, and it was really hard to pick just ten favorites, especially since the books cover such a wide range from murder mystery to memoir to childrens’ book. Here are my ten favorites, in no particular order:
Grey Zone by Clea Simon. I had eagerly anticipated this third book in Clea’s Dulcie Schwartz series, featuring Harvard graduate student Dulcie Schwartz, Mr. Grey, the spirit of her beloved feline, who offered wise advice and comfort to Dulcie in the past, and Esme, her mischievous and sometimes destructive kitten. Once again, Dulcie finds herself drawn into an increasingly complicated tangle of possible suspects, motives, and murder.
Cat Sitter Among the Pidgeons by Blaize Clement. This book has everything that makes a successful cozy mystery: an immensely likable protagonist, a wonderful setting (especially when you’re reading it in the middle of winter), well-developed secondary characters, and, of course, there are plenty of cats. I love this series and was very sad when Blaize Clement passed away earlier this year. Thankfully, Blaize’s son John is continuing the series. The Cat Sitter’s Pajamas will be released on January 3.
Dogs Don’t Lie by Clea Simon. In addition to launching Grey Zone, Clea also started a brand new series this year. This “pet noir” features Pru Marlowe, a pet psychic, Lily, a former fighting dog, and Wallis, Pru’s old, cranky, opinionated and wise tabby, who always seems to know the right time to provide a little extra guidance to Pru.
The Cat, the Lady and the Liar by Leann Sweeney. In this third book in the Cats in Trouble series, cat quilter Jillian Hart, Jillian’s best friend, Deputy Candace Carson, step daughter Kara, new boyfriend Tom and Jillian’s three cats Merlot, Chablis and Syrah try to help an eccentric old woman who becomes a murder suspect.
Derv @ Co: A Life Among Felines by T.J. Banks opens with this line: “Basically, the cats have our number. And our address. And a map.” This collection of stories and poems about some of the cats who’ve come into the hearts and home of T.J. Banks is a jewel of a book.
I am Tama, Lucky Cat by Wendy Henrichs, with illustrations by Yoshiko Jaeggi, is based on one of the versions of the Japanese legend of Maneki Neko. I found myself pausing at each page, absorbing the words, and losing myself in the pictures. This beautiful book is aimed at children ages 4-8, but I think adults will enjoy it equally as much.
Cat Calls: Wonderful Stories and Practical Advice from a Veteran Cat Sitter by Jeanne Adlon and Susan Logan features two of my favorite things in one book: cats, and New York City. I loved the combination of stories from veteran cat sitter Adlon and common sense advice on everything from adopting a new cat and litter box behaviors to play time and scratching from Susan Logan, the editor-in-chief of Cat Fancy magazine.
Cooking with Clyde by Sue Cassidy is the cat book for food lovers. Even though I don’t cook, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Personal stories and commentary from Sue’s family and friends provide a special context for the recipes. The book also features plenty of photos of Clyde, along with his feline wit and wisdom.
The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey by Deborah Barnes is one of the most beautifully designed books I’ve ever seen. The combination of stunning photos of cats and Barnes’ story of taking lessons from her cats in making the ordinary moments in life extraordinary make this one of the most unique cat books of the year.
Forever Paws by Christine Davis is the kind of book that touches a place deep in your soul. Written and illustrated by Davis with the feline inspiration of two cats that she lost in short succession earlier this year, this little book just may fill in some of the holes our beloved cats leave in our hearts when they pass.
Is your favorite on this list? If not, add it in a comment!
Photo by Bart Howard Everts, Flickr Creative Commons