A life without a cat is a life without sunshine. – Julia Child

I didn’t know Julia Child was a cat lover until I received Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat from the publisher. I was utterly charmed by this beautifully illustrated book aimed at children ages 3 and up.

Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats by Patricia Barey and Therese Burson brings this little known aspect of Julia Child’s life to light in an engaging and entertaining way. If you weren’t already a fan of Julia Child, you will be after reading this book.

From the book’s prologue: “A reporter once asked Julia Child what she might whip up for her creator when she got to heaven. Julia wasn’t a religious person – she believed heaven was right here on earth, in her own cozy kitchen, hovering over a skillet sizzling with shallots and butter, then sitting down to share a meal with people she loved, a cat wrapped around her ankles, meowing for treats.”

I was, of course, particularly delighted that Julia Child’s introduction to cats began with a tortoiseshell cat named Minette (featured in the childrens’ book mentioned above). Shortly after Julia and her husband Paul arrived in Paris in 1948, Minette showed up on their doorstep. She quickly captured Julia’s heart, and so began a lifelong love affair with cats that was only equaled by her love of food and for her husband.


The book follows Julia’s rise to culinary fame from the early days in France to her return to the United States and the start of her famous cooking show to her final years in California. The book is every bit as joyful and exuberant as Julia Child appeared to be on her famous show, The French Chef,. Julia’s love for her “poussiequettes,” as she called her cats in one of her many “Julia-isms,” comes through on every page.

August 15th would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday. She died in her sleep at age 92, and she was not alone. She had refused further treatment for an infection following complications from knee surgery. Julia just wanted to be home. The night before she died, she asked her assistant to make a batch of her famous French onion soup. As Julia savored her dinner, “a beloved dinner companion that night was a wild little black-and-white kitten named Minou, who shared Julia’s home in a retirement community near Santa Barbara. Full of feline joie de vivre, Minou was the soul mate who brightened Julia’s days. When she was ready for bed, the kitten curled up in his customary spot on the right side of the pillow. Minou kept watch through the night as Julia’s charmed life ebbed away, where she said it all truly began, in the company of cats.”

Interspersed with lots of photos of Julia and her cats, this book is equal parts charming, delightful, and heart warming. I read the book straight through in one sitting, and I felt like I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time. This book is a treasure that belongs in every cat lover’s library. It also makes a great gift for the cat lovers, food lovers, and Francophiles in your life.

The publisher has generously offered to give one copy of this book to one lucky reader! To enter the giveaway, tell me in a comment why you’d like to win Julia’s Cats. For an additional chance to win, tweet about this giveaway or share on Facebook, and post the link in a separate comment. This giveaway is open to US readers only and ends Friday, August 17.

Patricia Barey and Therese Burson own a media produc­tion company and have written, produced, and directed award-winning programs on a range of subjects. Barey’s program on Chicago as a food mecca won an Emmy. Burson, who holds a PhD in English, has taught creative writing to undergraduates and adults.

This book was sent to me by the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Photo of Minette by Paul Child, used with the publisher’s permission.

60 Comments on Review and giveaway: Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats

  1. 1. I love books. I have a whole library in my house, literally and read constantly.
    2. I love cats and books. We have 7 indoor cats and 3 shelves of cat books in the library. I’ve read all of those books.
    3. I love Julia Childs. I have every book she ever wrote (yes, I use her cookbooks) and every book that has been written about her.
    4. I watch Julia and cats on Youtube.
    5. Julie and Julia inspired me to start cooking my way through Alice Waters’ basic cookbook, whereby I am learning to cook all over again.
    6. Our cats are always helping us in the kitchen.

  2. I would love to have a copy of this book to read and share with my daughter, a cat lover and cat rescuer.

  3. I simply love and adore kitties. I worship them actually. Am the proud owner of Cheeto, my beloved male pale orange and white tabby and Ragdoll who is nearly ten-years-old. This week, Cheeto won the Cat vs. Dog contest on WCIU’s website!!! He led and won by 500 votes! I have had Cheeto for about eighteen months. He was first found in a dumpster in Orange, California where he was left to die with his little tail broken in two places. He was eventually rescued as a baby in November 2002, then in January 2003, his former owner adopted him at a Petsmart adoption day. She became allergic to him and turned him over to me after eight years. Cheeto is my first animal as an adult, and I love him more than anything. I can totally understand Julia Child’s love, admiration and appreciation of kitties. They are the BEST! I would love to win her book. Am a former instructor of vegetarian cooking classes and have done a number of food demonstrations on television in years past. Thanks kindly for this consideration. If I win the book I will write a review about it for Examiner.com where I am an Entertainment Examiner. Many thanks again!

  4. With upwards of 30 cats, my home is a cattery. I spend about a 3rd of my salary caring for them. This all began when, over a course of several weeks, my daughter brought home 3 stray female cats, unbeknownst to me, and kept them in our basement. She cared for them there for over a month before I had knowledge of them. It wasn’t long after my discovering and insisting she find someone to give them to, that they each, in turn, turned up pregnant.The Humane Society was always ‘Full’ when we called, so we found homes for the ones we could, and as I was able to afford it, began to get the others fixed one by one. That was not fast enough, so a short 4 years later, here we are with 30+ cats! By the same token, I’m glad to say we found homes for an equal number over the course of that time.
    A few of my neighbors take pleasure in watching the cats, while many more are not too happy with me because of them. Its very discouraging at times when I feel the neighbors animosity towards me, so I was very excited the other day when I found out it would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday! I then researched her online, and to my surprise found out she was not only a cat lover, but was the subject of books about her and her cats! This was very encouraging to me, so I started looking for her books. I found the children’s book, but had to look further for one that told of her history with cats. I found the book you’re giving away and added it to my To Be Read booklist, hoping I’d be able to find a used copy of it. Needless to say, I’d very much like to have this book, and hope to get my own copy of it in time.
    -Sorry for being long-winded, and thank you for taking the time to read this.

  5. I never knew she was a cat fan! I grew up with my mother watching her and making some amazing meals! She had the most distinct voice ever and her cooking portrayed her humor well, it’s actually not a surprise that she was owned by cats. 🙂 Happy 100th Birthday Julia!

  6. I grew up watching Julia Child; although I never cook. I loved her autobiography, and I would love to read about her love of cats.

  7. Oh Ingrid….I actually remember Julia Child…a voice you’ll never forget.
    I’m not a big cooking fan but you know how I feel about my kitties.
    Fascinating that she loved kitties….I would have never thought it!!

  8. As both a cooking fan and crazy cat lady I would love to read this book! I never knew she had cats! What a fantastic lady who would have been 100 years old today!

  9. I had no idea Julia Child loved cats! When Julia was on TV, I was a little too young to fully appreciate her presence. Now, that I’m older, I love to learn about Julia Child, and would love to read about her and her live with cats!

  10. I’m an avid reader and a cat lover and owner as my book & cat blog indicates! (The House of the Seven Tails – http://homeofaimala.blogspot.com/) I would love to read this book. I’m thrilled that Julia Child, an nteresting, terrific woman loved cats and had several over her lifetime. I really enjoy reading about other cat owners felines because cats have such interesting personalities, each with their own quirks! I’m curious to know if she cooked for them!

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

  11. Like Julia Child and did not know she had any cats. Would be an interesting read and I would like to win the book.

  12. Thank you, Ingrid, for your wonderful review. And good luck to all you cat- and Julia-lovers. Don’t forget to celebrate her 100th on August 15. Give your kitties an extra treat!

  13. Your review is wonderful – Julia’s Cats sounds like a charming read. I love cats and I love books so it stands to reason that I will love a book about cats! I had no idea Mrs. Child’s was such a cat lover, it adds another dimension to an already fascinating character. Thank you for the giveaway.

  14. Wonderful review about a gem of a book. I’m too impatient to wait on winning, so I went out and bought the book. I’m just about finished and don’t want it to end — it IS as charming as you described. Actually I bought two books — one was a welcomed birthday present to a cat adoring friend.

  15. I have never had french food (except french fries 🙂 but I admire Julia Child very much.
    I remember her TV show when I was growing up. I always thought she was a hoot.
    When I got to know more about her I kind of fell in love. I have three cats that are my children. I would like very much to have this book. I am an avid reader and crazy cat lover.

  16. This is so AWESOME!! It would be great a great read and Thank You for the chance to enter to win it FREE. I will have to get the kids book for my two boys, they love books and cats. Again Thank You Ingrid for the chance to win.
    Will post of FaceBook as well.

  17. I would give anything to win a copy of this book… I am an avid reader and I love to ‘attempt’ to make Julia Child’s recipes.. and I LOVE CATS!!! what is better than having the same interests as Julia did….food, cooking, her marriage, and cats… awesome…thanks for letting us know about this book

  18. We loved Minette’s Feast! My human would love to be entered for several reasons: she loves cats (especially me ;-), and cooking, and reading! We also are all (humans and kitties alike) from France, now settled in the NY area! So that’s all linked to Julia Child’s story.
    In any case, thanks for letting us know about this book =^.^=

  19. As I am a cat lover AND an aspiring writer, this book looks absolutely amazing to me! I would love to have it!!!

  20. I had no idea that Julia was a cat lover!! I even read her book, “My life in France” and didn’t pick up on that fact. Maybe I need to read it again. Anyway, I would love this book. I like Julia and I love cats. I think I’d enjoy it. Thank you!

  21. I remember watching Julia Child on TV as a child and how much she inspired me to learn how to cook. My Mother would brag how I took over cooking the family dinners at 11 years old! I still enjoy cooking and especially baking and my feline overlords often supervise the process. To learn that one of my culinary heroes was a cat person (just like me) is AWESOME! I would love to read and have this book!

  22. I knew about Minette from another book about Julia and Harry and I were thrilled to find out her first cat was a tortie! I just was looking a this book the other day and thinking it would be a great book to buy, so I would love to win it!

  23. I would love to “read the book straight through in one sitting” and not “stop smiling the entire time.”

  24. I would love to win this book and read more about the woman who refers to her cats as “poussiequettes”. I love that! We have 2 adopted “twin” torties. Sisters abandoned as part of a litter of 5 that were born under an office space that my husband was renting. When he moved into the office, he called me to ask if he could bring home an abandoned kitty. Then it turned into 2 kitties. He said “there are 2 torties in the litter, and you KNOW how partial I am to torties”. I could I say no? Seven years later, they’re a huge part of our lives!

  25. How wonderful to know Julia Child was not only a great chef but a cat lover as well,I grew up watching her and now I love her even more,Thanks 🙂

  26. Being a mom of 6 cat’s and an avid baker , I would love this book.
    Thanks for offering the chance to win.

  27. Not only am I a “foodie” (as in collecting cookbooks, cooking, and a Food Network and a Cooking Channel freak), I ADORE cats! Love Julia Child, (it was the movie Julie & Julia that planted the seed for me to start a blog)…I would LOVE to win this book!!

  28. Hello Ingrid, thanks again for offering a unique and nice giveaway. I have heard a lot of Julia Child’s cats throughout the years and would love to read about Minette. I imagine her cats loved her profession as a cook. I am sure they received lots of treats and tidbits of whatever she was baking or cooking. Hopefully Julia used lots of tuna. I love to read and reading about cats is one of my favorite hobbies. I will post this on Facebook and Twitter too.

  29. I love cats and books. And as a child, I remember watching Julia Child on tv. I’d love to read her book, I’m sure I’d enjoy it immensely! And, no better way to celebrate the birthday of such an inspirational woman!

  30. I had no idea she loved cats! I am surprised that someone else is like me and understands that “everything tastes better with cat hair in it”. I would love to read about her love of food and cats. I am by no means a great cook, but I do love to make attempts and try new recipes. There is almost always at least one cat under my feet while I’m cooking 🙂

  31. I would Love to have a copy of this book! Being both a cat lover (we currently have 3) and having a love of baking it is the perfect combination. My husband and I’s first cat together is a torti, (Calli) will be turning 15 yrs next month.

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