Books featuring important cats

Authors so rarely give feline characters the prominence we all know they deserve, so we’ve cherry-picked some of the most audacious and delightful uses of the humble housecat in all of literature.

No One is Talking About This, by Patricia Lockwood

Come for the dazzling prose that crystallises the ennui and desensitisation of the internet era, stay for the cat named Doctor Butthole.

The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov

The vodka-swilling, human-talking, two-leg-walking cat Behemoth is one of classic Russian literature’s most notorious creations. Violent, witty, heavy-drinking and also slightly demonic, he probably has more in common with your real-life cat than you’d like to think.

A Cat, A Man and Two Women, by Junichiro Tanizaki

A quiet but caustic tale of a soured relationship, the bitterness of which descends into a petty war over the possession of one innocent (but characterful) little cat. The real trick of this book is that it remains unsentimental and un-cute throughout – no matter which side of the argument you end up on, the entertainment is unbeatable.

Kafka On The Shore, by Haruki Murakami

Talking cats. Lots of them. Also a bifurcated bildungsroman narrative that slinks irresistibly towards a pyschosexual climax with a hint of government cover-up thrown in for good measure, but mostly it’s about the talking cats.

The Liar’s Dictionary, by Eley Williams

The resident cats in the offices of the dictionary publisher in Eley Williams’ riotous novel have always had the same name – Tits. The current Tits is a ‘duffer-moggy with a coat the colour of old toast’. We’ll repeat that: Tits the cat. Tits.

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