Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: June 28, 2023 by Crystal Uys


First published in 1989, On Cats by British novelist, poet and Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing is a charming memoir about the cats who shared her life.

From the publisher:

Lessing’s love affair with cats began at a young age, when she became intrigued with the semiferal creatures on the African farm where she grew up. Her fascination with the handsome, domesticated creatures that have shared her flats and her life in London remained undiminished, and grew into real love with the awkwardly lovable El Magnifico, the last cat to share her home.

On Cats is a celebrated classic, a memoir in which we meet the cats that have slunk and bullied and charmed their way into Doris Lessing’s life. She tells their stories—their exploits, rivalries, terrors, affections, ancient gestures, and learned behaviors—with vivid simplicity. And she tells the story of herself in relation to cats: the way animals affect her and she them, and the communication that grows possible between them—a language of gesture and mood and desire as eloquent as the spoken word. No other writer conveys so truthfully the real interdependence of humans and cats or convinces us with such stunning recognition of the reasons why cats really matter.

I discovered Doris Lessing’s novels in the 1980’s and I did what I tend to do when I like an author: I read everything they ever wrote. Of course, I was delighted when I realized that Lessing was a cat lover.

On Cats is available from Amazon in a variety of formats.

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