The Los Angeles Times recently pitted cat books against dog books for a year-end roundup. We hear some people like canines so much that when they aren’t paying attention to their dogs they’re paying attention to dog-related items. Fine. To each his/her own.
For your convenience, however, we have provided a CliffNotes version that eliminates the dog stuff entirely and focuses on what’s important: the best cat books of the year. Let us know your favorite!
1. “Men & Cats.”
“Men & Cats” compiles images from the popular French blog by Marie-Eva Gautingt and Alice Cheygneaud. It delivers on handsome men and cute cats … but not necessarily together. Still, both those things are winners so it gets a paw up.
2. “Shake Cats.”
In this book, cats are frozen in time through snapshots by photographer Carli Davidson. The fascinating freeze-frames show cats mid-slow-blink or with fur wrapping around cat faces like whirlpools.
3. “The Hermitage Cats.”
The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, has a collection containing cats in several works of art — paintings, ancient pottery, sculpture, and tapestries. The museum also houses its own collection of feral cats but we’re unsure whether they’re featured here.
(Harper Design; Chronicle Books)
4. “You Need More Sleep: Advice from Cats.”
“You Need More Sleep,” by Francsco Marciuliano, has previously conveyed cat messages through “I Could Pee On This.” He has a pretty decent handle on what’s going on behind feline eyes. Cats observe us every day doing our odd human activities. Finally, someone has given cats a chance to question our choices and offer their own input. Thank you.
(Penguin Press; Ecco)
5. “Charles Bukowski On Cats.”
“Charles Bukowski On Cats” compiles the author’s cat-related poems and stories alongside photos of Bukowski with his pet cats. Poems include “5 cats,” “Looking at the cat’s balls” and “I do not always hate the cat that kills the bird, only the cat that kills me.” As the Times says, “Usually, they’re about cats but also about something more.” We are intrigued.
(Three Rivers Press; Chronicle Books)
6. “Grumpy Cat: No-It-All.”
“Grumpy Cat: No-It-All,” pairs Grumpy’s mug next to pleasing scenes such as adorable animals, gifts and art. She does what she always does: says “No” and looks displeased. It’s everything people have come to know and love from the cat. Who are you to resist?
7. “Splat the Cat: Christmas Countdown.”
Rob Scotton has written a cute book for kids called “Splat the Cat: Christmas Countdown.” You get to touch and feel things on the pages like a Velcro tree, shiny star and furry cat belly. Kitteh belleh! What a rare chance to pet the tummy of a cat. Thank you, Rob Scotton, for breaking down barriers.
(Artisan; Simon & Schuster)
8. “Felines of New York.”
If you’ve seen “Humans of New York” you can imagine the concept behind “Felines of New York.” This online project angles then lens on cats the way social media account Humans of New York turns to people. Author Jim Tews turns the twist into more a satirical take but still keeps us looking.
(Princeton Architectural Press; Thomas Dunne Books)
9. “A Gift from Bob: How a Street Cat Helped One Man Learn the Meaning of Christmas.”
“A Gift from Bob” by James Bowen touches on the emotional connection we share with cats. After Bowen’s bestselling first book, “A Street Cat Named Bob,” we learn how street cat Bob came into Bowen’s life. Now, the two are up against the glittery high expectations of Christmas. Generosity and gratitude battle against tough times, making this a compelling read.
(Harper Design; Tarcher-Penguin)
10. “Fat Cat Art.”
Russian artist Svetlana Ptrova photoshops giant cat Zarathustra into artwork for “Fat Cat Art.” Paintings by the masters such as Fragonard, Bruegel, Caravaggio and Da Vinci get the cat treatment and might be the better for it.
(The University of Chicago Press / Coffee House Press)
11. “Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong.”
“Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong,” inspired by the Walker Art Museum’s Internet Cat Video Festival, offers14 essays on cat videos. With works by captivating writers David Carr, Maria Bustillos, Alexis Madrigal and Stephen Burt, the cats get some loved in this tome.
12. “Catify to Satisfy.”
Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell,” explains where and which litter boxes to use for which cats, how to create cat superhighways with shelves and high stops. Kate Benjamin is co-author.
13. “Cats: A Literary Anthology.”
The British Library has published excerpts of classic authors on cats. The cat stories come from Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, D.H. Lawrence, William Blake and more. Such literary titans are well-matched with cats — in our opinion.