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Man's Best Feline: 6 Books About Cats from Literature's Most Influential Men

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Get your feline fix here.

If some of history's greatest literature has anything to say for it, cats are man's best friend. The quiet, regal, and often times mischievous creature has clawed itself into the hearts of many, and the literary greats have made no secret of it. Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and the Margarita is the first on many a list of literary felines, but beyond the fast-talking black cat is a world of romantic and sentimental stories, poems, and true accounts of man and cat.

Here are 7 books from some of literature's best-known men about – as Andy Warhol put it – Cats, Cats, Cats.

Of Cats and Men

Some of history’s greatest men have been cat lovers, and their cats have contributed to their genius and legacy: the static charge from a cat’s fur sparked young Nikola Tesla’s interest in electricity; Sir Isaac Newton is said to have invited the first cat flap; visitors to Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill’s homes still encounter the descendants of their beloved cats; William S. Burroughs and Andy Warhol both wrote books inspired by their feline friends.

Stylishly illustrated and full of charming, witty profiles and quotes from history’s most notable “cat men,” Of Cats and Men pays tribute to thirty luminaries and visionaries who have one thing in common: a pure and enduring love of cats.

The Cat Inside

Originally published as a limited-edition volume, this moving and witty discourse on cats combines deadpan routines and dream passages with a heartwarming account of Burroughs's unexpected friendships with the many cats he has known. It is also a meditation on the long, mysterious relationship between cats and their human hosts, which Burroughs traces back to the Egyptian cult of the "animal other." With its street sense and whiplash prose, The Cat Inside is a genuine revelation for Burroughs fans and cat lovers alike.

On Cats

For Charles Bukowski there was something majestic and elemental about cats. He considered them to be sentient beings, whose searing gaze could penetrate deep into our being. Cats see into us; they are on to something. An illuminating portrait of one very special writer and a lifelong relationship with the animals he considered his most profound teachers, On Cats brings together Bukowski's reflections on the ruthless, resilient, indigent and endearing creatures he so admired.

"A cat is only ITSELF, representative of the strong forces of life that won't let go."

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

In 1925 T.S. Eliot became co-director of Faber & Faber, who remain his publishers to this day. Throughout the 1930s he composed the now famous poems about Macavity, Old Deuteronomy, Mr Mistoffelees and many other cats, under the name of 'Old Possum'. In 1981 Eliot's poems were set to music by Andrew Lloyd Webber as Cats which went on to become the longest-running Broadway musical in history. This charming new edition contains original colour illustrations by the award-winning illustrator of The Gruffalo, Axel Scheffler.

I am a Cat

Cat lovers will delight in the thoughts of a cat whose particular joy in life is commenting on the folly of human beings. Based on a nameless cat's observations of upper-middle-class Japanese society of the Meiji era, the essence of I Am a Cat is its humour and sardonic truths. Written over the course of 1904-06, this book is full of acerbic wit as it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten.

Warhol cats cats cats

Cats, Cats, Cats is a small book of early drawings of cats by Andy Warhol, with quotes about animals, cats and people. Assembled from a scattering of Warhol's sketches, Cats, Cats, Cats, is part of as series of books on the famous painter's obsessions, including Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, and Style, Style, Style. That should give you a good indication of the place cats occupied in Warhol's heart.


Egyptian-American food enthusiast born in Chicago, raised in Beirut, and living in Dublin. Multitasker at Bookwitty. Intimately familiar with the term "identity crisis".