More from our Instagram series.
My view of cats is shaped by two things, the first of which is Natsume Soseki’s I Am a Cat, a first-person narrative about a family, told from the perspective of the family cat. The title in Japanese has a formal quality that hints at the royal “we”; it would be just as easy to translate it as We Are a Cat, but confusing to call it that in English, with no context. It’s a brilliant title that captures the psychology of most cats, ie their belief that they are somehow much more than just naked little ball-lickers who eat out of a bowl. “We.” Please. Secondly, my view of cats is affected by my boundless love of The Dog, the innocent enemy of The Cat. I say innocent because The Dog has not an ounce of hatred in its heart for The Cat, just a transparent curiosity about who the cat is, where they’ve been recently, what they had for breakfast, etc, all of which could be answered by a simple whiff of The Cat’s oh-so-special tush. BUT NOOOOO. Most of us would be thrilled if someone actually showed interest in our day, but The Cat will shred your friendly, gently probing nostril with its razor-sharp claws like a total asshole. How unworthy they are of free room-and-board.
Nevertheless, here is a list of books about cats.
Some Very Interesting Cats Perhaps You Weren’t Aware Of by Doogie Horner – 100 illustrated cat characters from across the vast universe of cat civilization (cat superheroes, cat explorers, cat businessmen, cat whatevers) each with their own stories. I have to grudgingly admit these are pretty cute.
Cats of Instagram – You know what this is – over 400 pix, the best of. Ok fine – cats look attractive, and they move well – I just don’t want to have to deal with them.
Cats of 1986 – This is all the cats I knew in high school. All 80s style, a lot of nostalgia, a lot of good times. Cats in the 80s, dude. Man. All that neon and weirdly feathered hair and those Patrick Nagle women. If only there was some way to get all that sleek aloofness back in my life.
The Great Cat: Poems About Cats edited by Emily Fragos – I would think these poems in praise of cats were all written at gunpoint, except for the fact that cats do not have thumbs. Of course, the T.S. Eliot and the Lewis Carroll are in here – but there are also a lot you probably don’t know, from Sufi mystics, Japanese haiku masters, and every other corner of the world where cats have insinuated themselves. Nowhere is safe.
Dancing With Cats from Burton Silver and Heather Busch – No. (Also, hilarious. And… and… healing [sobs].)
Pounce from Seth Casteel – The author behind Underwater Dogs goes turncoat to bring us this nightmare-inducer. These cats and… kittens [shudder] are photographed “beautifully” while leaping thru the air at you. Those vertical eye-slits drawing down on your exposed forearm, claws like Gurkha knives that cannot be re-sheathed without drawing blood carving down as if thru the page — terrifying. Oh suuuure – they’re cute now – but wait til they’re fully developed.
Bonus: What about one of these Decomposition Books? Fill them with anything you want: words, drawings, literally anything. [See our post about the possibilities.] There’s one with cats in astronaut suits called Kittens in Space, because it’s just a matter of time before they bring death from above. Great idea: give them rockets and teach them math. Could 2016 get any worse??