Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: July 14, 2023 by Crystal Uys


I’ve always loved coffee table books. Browsing through a gorgeously photographed and illustrated book can be like a mini vacation, transporting you to a different world. And if the book features cats, so much the better. Where They Purr: Inspirational Interiors and the Cats Who Call Them Home will take you to 28 homes with beautiful interiors, showcasing the spaces and the cats who call them home.

Photographed by Australian-born, New York–based lifestyle and interiors photographer Paul  Barbera, you’ll visit houses ranging from a historic Victorian terrace house and a modern farmhouse with panoramic vistas, to an art-filled inner-city apartment and a cozy rental that melds classic pieces and clever design. You’ll discover each cat’s favorite spots, whether it’s sun puddles, midcentury modern furniture, or breathtaking views.

Carol and Luther; Architects: Telly Theodore and Andy Macdonald / Allied_Office Carol and Luther reside in a converted terrace house at the edge of Sydney Harbor. The home is light-filled, and the cats love exploring every nook and cranny.

Barbera had been photographing cats for years, “but I have never done so with such purpose as during the making of this book.” He found that patience was critical. “I once had to wait for more than two hours for a cat to re-emerge from under the bed!” He also learned that he needed to remain both calm and alert, “ready to spring into action, as a cat can go from a state of tranquil repose to Olympic high jumper at a moment’s notice.”

Molly; Architect: Kennedy Nolan The transformation to Molly’s home—a classic Victorian-period dwelling with additions made in the 1980s—was achieved through careful editing and intervention. Color and texture were used wherever possible, along with bold, graphic gestures, to serve as a counterpoint to the more traditional features of the architecture.

I particularly enjoyed the Q&A sections at the end of each chapter, when we get to know a little about each of the cats. Diva or devoted friend? Lap cat or not? Old soul or kitten at heart? Lazy or active?

Esmeralda; Architect: Sue Carr / Carr Esmeralda is a tortoiseshell Persian who is seven years old and full of mystique. She fits perfectly into the household and is content to luxuriate in her surroundings on her own. Of course, it’s not hard to maintain a relaxed disposition when you live in a modern farmhouse with boundless ocean views.

This book is a true feast for the eyes that will delight cat lovers and lovers of architecture and interiors. You’ll want to visit the featured homes and their cats over and over again.

Where They Purr is available from Amazon.

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Cover image courtesy of Thames&Hudson, cover and interior images used with permission

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