Classic Cat Books Series: The Fur Person


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Originally published in 1957, The Fur Person is one of the most endearing cat stories I’ve ever read. Featuring the true adventures of Tom Jones, May Sarton’s own cat, this little book captures the essence of what a cat is all about in the beautiful prose of this gifted and sensitive writer and poet. The book has been reissued numerous times with different covers.

Prior to choosing Sarton as his person, Tom Jones was quite the cat about town, but as he was tiring of life on the streets, he began his search for a “housekeeper.” “This was to be a systematic search for a housekeeper suitable in every way,” writes Sarton. When he finds a sunny porch, he thinks that perhaps, his search is over. When the two women inside the house he’s chosen (Sarton and her partner, Judy Matlack) offer him some food, his mind is made up. “…the Fur Person bounded up the stairs, and at the very instant he entered the kitchen, the purrs began to swell inside him and he wound himself around two pairs of legs (for he must be impartial), his nose in the air, his tail straight up like a flag, on tip toes, and roaring with thanks.”

As Tom Jones settles into his new home, we follow his adventures as he comes to understand that he has found so much more than just his forever home. He realizes that he is not just a cat, but a Fur Person. “A Fur Person is a cat who has come to love one, or, in very exceptional cases, two human beings, and who has decided to stay with them as long as he lives.”

I’m still partial to the cover of the 1981 edition I own.


This was one of the first cat books I remember reading. It was also my first book by May Sarton, and I went on to read everything she ever wrote. I particularly enjoyed her journals, Plant Dreaming Deep and The House by the Sea, perhaps partially because cats feature in both books. Sarton clearly loved and understood cats.

The Fur Person is available from Amazon.

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11 Comments on Classic Cat Books Series: The Fur Person

  1. Mary Anne Krohn
    January 22, 2018 at 2:07 am (3 years ago)

    This book was recommended to me as a pre-teen by my soon-to-be-aunt. Many years later I noticed it sitting on top of a stack of other May Sarton’s books when she was very ill. She told me re-reading it made her feel better. So I picked it up and read to her for awhile. It made ME feel better too! Thanks for your recommendations!

  2. Cynthia Southern
    January 20, 2018 at 9:26 pm (3 years ago)

    I just ordered the original 1970 version with the tabby cat on the cover. I had never heard of this book and look forward to reading it. Thanks Conscious Cat for bringing it to my attention.

  3. silvia shanahan
    January 19, 2018 at 3:40 pm (3 years ago)

    I read this years ago….and have also read all her other books, which are a real treasure….so thought-provoking and inspiring.
    She lived just down the road from me in Maine.

  4. Elaine Herndon at "Flowers Saving Homeless Pets"
    January 19, 2018 at 3:14 pm (3 years ago)

    These books of ‘cat stories’ sound great- I will have to read them!- Thanks for sharing this info. Sincerely, Elaine —
    f:Elaine Herndon
    f: Flowers Saving Homeless Pets

  5. Pamela Tomlinson
    January 19, 2018 at 11:26 am (3 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing Ingrid. I always love, love all your book recommendations.

  6. Bernadette
    January 19, 2018 at 11:09 am (3 years ago)

    One of my long-time favorites, both this book and May Sarton.

  7. Janine
    January 19, 2018 at 8:54 am (3 years ago)

    I’m definitely going to add this book to my reading list.

  8. Connie Fischer
    January 19, 2018 at 8:18 am (3 years ago)

    What a perfect title: The Fur Person. I do believe that’s me. I’m going to look for this book right now. Thanks for the heads-up!

  9. Cheri Collins
    January 19, 2018 at 5:23 am (3 years ago)

    One of my all time favorite books.

  10. Sheilah Egan
    January 19, 2018 at 1:12 am (3 years ago)

    I loved this book when I first read it in the 70s. I just recently purchased it again from Amazon, along with William S. Burroughs “The Cat Inside” and Doris Lessing’s “On Cats” which contains her novella “Particularly Cats” as well as 2 other short stories. Excited to reread “The FurPerson.”


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