Cats: The True Stars of #StayingHome

Whether you’re curious about what makes your cat tick or interested in adopting a cat of your own, our list of books, comics, and DVDs has you covered—all available digitally.

With many people hunkered down at home, pet adoptions and fosters are on the rise, and no Zoom conference is complete without a pause to ooh and aw over coworker’s cats. Cat videos—and big cat zoo cams—provide welcome stress relief in this anxious time. And movies about cats, from last year’s big budget disaster Cats to Netflix’s recent Tiger King, offer some trainwreck viewing. Whether you’re curious about what makes your cat tick (are they miffed that we’re home 24/7?) or interested in adopting a cat of your own, our list of books, comics, and DVDs has you covered—all available digitally.

And here are a few of the cats of LJ. Feel free to share some of your own cats with us using the hashtag #LJCats.

Cat with copy of Library Journal
LJ Editor in Chief Meredith Schwartz's Mischka curls up with the latest LJ issue.

 

Two cats on a bed
LJ and SLJ Reviews & Production Editor Kiera Parrott's Chet and Larry are ready for their close-up.

 

Cat next to a computer
LJ News Editor Lisa Peet's Alice is the ultimate office assistant.

 

NONFICTION

Book title for Cat SenseBradshaw, John. Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet. Basic: Perseus. 2013. ISBN 9780465031016.

Anthrozoologist Bradshaw (Dog Sense) scrutinizes our feline overlords, examining their ancestors, behavior, biology, and more. Though Bradshaw relies on copious research to deliver a scholarly portrait, the occasional cat anecdote enlivens the text. His final chapter, on the future of cats, is especially intriguing, as he contemplates whether our tendency toward spaying and neutering our pets will result in more skittish cats as feral cats become the only ones to reproduce.

Butcher, Colin. Molly: The True Story of the Amazing Dog Who Rescues Cats. Celadon: Macmillan. 2019. ISBN 9781250204776.
Granted, the titular Molly is a canine, but this dogged detective is a true friend to felines. With former police officer Butcher, this rescued cocker spaniel uses her superior sense of smell to track down missing cats. Butcher’s tender, charming memoir also offers a few strategies for cat owners to try if their own pets disappear.

Book cover for Metal CatsCrockett, Alexandra. Metal Cats. powerHouse. 2014. ISBN 9781576876770.
Wills, BriAnne with Elyse Moody. Girls and Their Cats. Chronicle. 2019. ISBN 9781452176796.

These volumes of photos both delightfully subvert the “crazy cat lady” trope. Musician Crockett photographs heavy metal artists, fans, and promoters, male and female, with their cats, while photographer Wills and Moody (senior editor, Martha Stewart Living) provide images and profiles of female artists, writers, and entrepreneurs and the felines they love.

Delaney, Mac. Engineering for Cats: Better the Life of Your Pet with 10 Cat-Approved Projects. Workman. 2018. ISBN 9780761189909.
Cat experts often advise addressing misbehavior by improving the animal’s living space. Aerospace engineer Delaney lays out problems (“Cats enjoy destroying your upholstered belongings.”) and solutions (“1. Add some cat furniture to your living room…2. Make sure your cat furniture is awesome.”). This bouncy, clearly illustrated volume guides readers through building drinking fountains, litter box cabinets, cat treat slot machines, and more.

Book cover for Total Cat MojoGalaxy, Jackson with Mikel Delgado. Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide to Life with Your Cat. TarcherPerigee. 2017. ISBN 9780143131618.
Though cats are less trainable than their canine counterparts, they’re not nearly as enigmatic as many assume. According to cat behaviorist Galaxy, the problem is that many people just don’t understand the feline psyche. Giving readers “a crash course” on cats, the author describes how to create a home—and life—fit for a feline. Those eager for more of Galaxy’s words of wisdom should visit his YouTube channel, where they’ll find clips from his TV series My Cat from Hell and videos where he expounds on everything from toe beans to how to quarantine with cats.

Louch, Jan with Lisa Rogak. The True Tails of Baker and Taylor: The Library Cats Who Left Their Pawprints on a Small Town…and the World. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. 2016. ISBN 9781250081070.
The mascots of distributor Baker & Taylor are a pair of cats, named for the company. But who are the real Baker and Taylor? In the early 1980s, librarian Louch and another employee adopted a Scottish Fold kitten to address the building’s rodent problem. The cat was dubbed Baker, and the library’s Baker & Taylor rep purchased a second cat, Taylor, for the library. Louch and Rogak (Cats on the Job) have crafted a sweet story that will appeal to cat lovers and library fans alike.

Book covver for The Inner Life of CatsMcNamee, Thomas. The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions. Hachette. 2017. ISBN 9780316262873.
With scientific rigor, affection, and the utmost respect for his subject, McNamee (The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat) probes the psychology and biology of cats, using anecdotes of his late cat Augusta as a springboard for his meditations. Check out this LJ interview with McNamee for more feline insights.

Tucker, Abigail. The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World. S. & S. 2016. ISBN 9781476738239.
Considering that cats have contributed very little to humankind—their prowess for catching vermin has been, the author argues, greatly exaggerated—their ability to carve out a place for themselves in our hearts is impressive. With humor, clever wordplay, and vivid descriptions, science writer Tucker (Smithsonian magazine) tracks the evolution of the cat, visiting pet stores, considering the “indoor vs. outdoor” debate, and examining the curious world of purebred cats.

COMICS

Book cover for RascalDeglin, Jean-Luc. Rascal. Top Shelf: IDW. Apr. 2020. ISBN 9781603094634.
A young woman reluctantly takes in a skittish new pet after his owner dies. Though Rascal’s eccentricities and propensity for mischief are irritating, in spite of them—or perhaps because—he quickly endears himself to his new owner. With fluid linework, Deglin deftly portrays Rascal’s many emotional and physical states: hissing, with back arched; an inky black blur darting around the room; and, now and then, a cuddly kitty loaf parked lovingly on his owner’s lap.

How To Cat
At the behest of his wife, Lucas Turnbloom began posting his comics documenting daily life with their new cat. Turnbloom’s black-and-white line drawings are simple yet compelling, poking gentle fun at both feline eccentricities and cat owners’ utter enchantment with their pets.

DVDs

Film poster for Cat RescuersThe Cat Rescuers. Rob Fruchtman & Steven Lawrence, 1091. 2018. DVD UPC 888608668477.
The New Yorkers working to save stray and feral cats—often on top of day jobs and with limited budgets—are fighting an uphill battle. But, as they make clear in this stirring documentary, none of them would have it any other way; for many, rescuing cats has been their salvation.

CatVideoFest. Oscillope. 2020.
What if you could help abused, neglected cats by simply watching cute videos? CatVideoFest makes it possible, by compiling the very best of these videos and screening them in theaters; this year, the videos are available, with purchase, to be streamed. Funds go toward organizations that help cats in need.

Kedi. Ceyda Torun, Oscillope. 2016. DVD UPC 857490005431.
Istanbul is home to hundreds of thousands of stray cats. Director Turn spotlights seven of them, from Sari (“the Hustler”) to Duman (“the Gentleman”) to Deniz (“the social butterfly"), in this stunning look at the inner lives of cats.

Author Image
Mahnaz Dar

Mahnaz Dar (mdar@mediasourceinc.com) is an Associate Editor for Library Journal, and can be found on Twitter @DibblyFresh.

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