Cat Books for Weekend Reading

Nine Lives artist Lisa Anne Auerbach shares her reflections on Los Angeles, art-making and commuting by bicycle in this weekly blog.

Cat Books for Weekend Reading

Friday, March 27

Nine Lives is not a show about cats, but who can resist the idea that it might be? We at The Meow firmly believe that the feline is the highest form of animal perfection on this planet. Their sweet little eyes, their beautifully shaped mouths, sweet saggy bellies, precious paws, graceful tails, sandpaper tongues, curving claws, elegant coats.... what could be better? Certainly those needy, drooling, smelly, loud, messy members of that "other" domesticated species (you know, the one that 90% of the pet store caters to) have nothing to recommend itself, except to those perhaps who enjoy the noise and stink and the animal recognition that they, indeed, are special.

A cat doesn't care, unless there's food involved. It's a cliche to admit that they become the kings and queens of the castle when they make themselves at home, but there's some truth to this. The Silent Miaow is written from the point of view of a delightful cat, who, after her mother is killed by a car, looks towards a cushy suburban house for shelter. She trains the residents to love and care for her, and her account of her relationship to this man and woman is the subject of this book. From a chapter simply titled "Food:" "The easiest humans with whom to cope are the ignorant, and the time to train them and make your wishes known should be at the very beginning, when they are still overcome with the honor you are doing them by remaining in their house." Peppered with delightful photographs of a white bellied tabby, the book is a joyous celebration of the domination of kitty cats over their humans.

The Literary Cat, edited by JC Suares and Seymour Chwast, is a collection of poems, stories and artwork about our favorite creature. Theodore Roosevelt describes the antics of his cat Tom Quartz in a letter to his son, Lord Redesdale's story, "The Vampire Cats of Nabshima" is scary, and May Senson's poem "The Secret of the Cat" tells of taking apart a cat to see what makes it purr. Bewitching and magical cats abound in this book, which is also heavily illustrated with paintings and drawings. Yummy.

Catwise is a collection of black and white photographs of cats paired with pithy quotes about serious matters. Aristotle, Emerson, Virgil, and Martin Luther are represented alongside pictures of cats Dandelion, Frisbee 1, Frisbee 2, Itty Bitty, Bootsie, Bird, Mrs. Skeffington, Faustus, Muff, and Little Crazy.

Tags: lisa anne auerbach, nine lives