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On Cats: An Anthology

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This beautiful gift book contains a selection of essays, stories, and poems on cats by writers from across the centuries, revealing that cats have been worshipped, adored, and mistrusted in equal measure. In these pages, writers reflect on the curious feline qualities that inspire such devotion in their owners, even when it seems one-sided. Cats’ affections are hard-won and This beautiful gift book contains a selection of essays, stories, and poems on cats by writers from across the centuries, revealing that cats have been worshipped, adored, and mistrusted in equal measure. In these pages, writers reflect on the curious feline qualities that inspire such devotion in their owners, even when it seems one-sided. Cats’ affections are hard-won and often fickle. Sigmund Freud considered his cat an embodiment of true egoism. Hilaire Belloc found peace in his feline companion’s complacency, and Ernest Hemingway—a famous cat-lover—wrote of drinking with his eleven cats and the pleasant distraction they gave him. These writers, and many others, paint a joyful portrait of cats and their mysterious ways. As Hemingway wrote, “one cat leads to another.” On Cats is a companion volume to the Notting Hill Editions anthology On Dogs, which was published in 2019 and features an introduction by Tracey Ullman.


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This beautiful gift book contains a selection of essays, stories, and poems on cats by writers from across the centuries, revealing that cats have been worshipped, adored, and mistrusted in equal measure. In these pages, writers reflect on the curious feline qualities that inspire such devotion in their owners, even when it seems one-sided. Cats’ affections are hard-won and This beautiful gift book contains a selection of essays, stories, and poems on cats by writers from across the centuries, revealing that cats have been worshipped, adored, and mistrusted in equal measure. In these pages, writers reflect on the curious feline qualities that inspire such devotion in their owners, even when it seems one-sided. Cats’ affections are hard-won and often fickle. Sigmund Freud considered his cat an embodiment of true egoism. Hilaire Belloc found peace in his feline companion’s complacency, and Ernest Hemingway—a famous cat-lover—wrote of drinking with his eleven cats and the pleasant distraction they gave him. These writers, and many others, paint a joyful portrait of cats and their mysterious ways. As Hemingway wrote, “one cat leads to another.” On Cats is a companion volume to the Notting Hill Editions anthology On Dogs, which was published in 2019 and features an introduction by Tracey Ullman.

30 review for On Cats: An Anthology

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    I'm a simple woman: I see 'cats', I see 'Margaret Atwood', I request the advance copy before even reading the blurb. This short anthology collects essays, stories, and poems by writers across centuries who've pondered their relationship with cats—noble, beautiful, yet fickle creatures whose affections are hard-won. I enjoyed digging into one or two of these on my commute to work, after having left my own two cats behind at home; it's silly, but it felt a little like I was taking them with me, and I'm a simple woman: I see 'cats', I see 'Margaret Atwood', I request the advance copy before even reading the blurb. This short anthology collects essays, stories, and poems by writers across centuries who've pondered their relationship with cats—noble, beautiful, yet fickle creatures whose affections are hard-won. I enjoyed digging into one or two of these on my commute to work, after having left my own two cats behind at home; it's silly, but it felt a little like I was taking them with me, and I definitely found a lot of them and their quirks and personalities in these pages, which, taken together, are essentially a string of love letters to felines. The contents range from anonymous Irish monk from the 9th century to esteemed writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Alice Walker, and also included an excerpt from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (the scene in which Alice meets the Cheshire cat, of course). The introduction by Margaret Atwood had all her trademark dry wit, and I loved it. My other favorites were Caitlin Moran's A Death in the Family, which made me weep on the subway, and the piece by Ursula K. LeGuin. I was very much enjoying Edward Gorey's contribution, but it unfortunately cut off mid-sentence in the digital review copy. The rest were fine, a bit of a mixed bag, as is to be expected, but there were two stories I actively disliked: One about baseball and skinning cats for fur which I didn't even finish, and one by some french writer who claimed to adore cats but also had an urge to strangle them—why the editors chose to include stories involving animal cruelty in an anthology celebrating the loving bond we form with cats is beyond me, and the inclusion of those two pieces only detract from the collection, which is being marketed as a "beautiful gift book"... but I guarantee that no cat lover will appreciate them. Those two aside, I found this to be a rather heartwarming volume featuring a wide variety of cats—from kittens to old age, feral to fully domesticated, mistrustful to loyal—best enjoyed with a purring feline on one's lap. ————— Note: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shirin Tondkar

    Collection of 26 essays, stories, and poems and an introduction by Margaret Atwood. If wasn’t for a few good short stories, this book didn't deserve a 3-star. This was an anthology so, I kept continue reading it but unfortunately couldn't finish it. Some stories were beautiful, others not. The worst thing about a cats' beautiful story it’s ending. I know I know about collateral beauty and something like that but, it's heartbreaking. So some stories were heartbreaking, others weren’t enjoyable and Collection of 26 essays, stories, and poems and an introduction by Margaret Atwood. If wasn’t for a few good short stories, this book didn't deserve a 3-star. This was an anthology so, I kept continue reading it but unfortunately couldn't finish it. Some stories were beautiful, others not. The worst thing about a cats' beautiful story it’s ending. I know I know about collateral beauty and something like that but, it's heartbreaking. So some stories were heartbreaking, others weren’t enjoyable and were so strange, and even animal cruelty seems! I hate to give a low rate especially for a book that had few readers till now. But I have a shelf avoid-animal-cruelty and it's hard for me to finish this to get maybe-better stories. I liked the Hemingways story (Letter to Hadley Mowrer) and Cat-echisms: Time spent with a cat is never wasted. Colette What greater gift than the love of a cat. Charles Dickens Thanks to Edelweiss for giving me the chance to read On Cats: An Anthology, I have given my honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kathie

    This is a quite delightful little book consisting of a wide selection of book excerpts, essays, letters, poems and short stories dating from the 9th to the 21st century, all about cats and the humans that love them. Margaret Atwood has written a charming introduction telling the story of her life with cats. Most of the selections are very interesting and entertaining, often highlighting the peculiar nature of the human/cat relationship. A couple of them seemed to be a poor fit, most notably, the This is a quite delightful little book consisting of a wide selection of book excerpts, essays, letters, poems and short stories dating from the 9th to the 21st century, all about cats and the humans that love them. Margaret Atwood has written a charming introduction telling the story of her life with cats. Most of the selections are very interesting and entertaining, often highlighting the peculiar nature of the human/cat relationship. A couple of them seemed to be a poor fit, most notably, the Ernest Hemingway letter and the Ring Larner essay. Particularly enjoyable is Ursula K. LeGuin' story, "My Life So Far, By Pard", told from the perspective of the cat. And most moving is "A Death in the Family" capturing the bond between cat and human and the loss that the death of a beloved pet bring - "a cat is a place where you put all the feelings you can't share with humans.... They clean our hearts, these tiny cats."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aaronlisa

    In some ways this book was a disappointment. I suppose I expected the book to be a celebration of cats. I didn’t have an issue with some of the works dealing with the passing of a cat, but I did have an issue with one essay that dealt with animal cruelty. The piece entitled “On Cats” by Guy de Maupassant should not have been included at all. I am also on the fence about the piece entitled by “All My Cats” by Bohumil Hrabal. I think that most readers are going to be looking for a collection that In some ways this book was a disappointment. I suppose I expected the book to be a celebration of cats. I didn’t have an issue with some of the works dealing with the passing of a cat, but I did have an issue with one essay that dealt with animal cruelty. The piece entitled “On Cats” by Guy de Maupassant should not have been included at all. I am also on the fence about the piece entitled by “All My Cats” by Bohumil Hrabal. I think that most readers are going to be looking for a collection that celebrates cats. The other issue I had was that there was no coherent style. Poems were mixed with essays and pieces of fiction with no real rhyme or reason. It felt messy to read this collection as there was no cohesion between the pieces so that you could see why they were selected over other pieces.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stevie

    Most of the stories were sweet and humorous--there were a few that spoke of violence towards furry little friends, that I think they should have left out, as no cat-lover wants to read a book about harming cats!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kirill Abbakumov

    Decent little book that collects various stories and writings on cats by authors, famous and not. Most are meditations on humanity, using cats as a mirror to reflect on love, loss, happiness, and sorrow. My favourite story from this collection was by Mary Gaitskill from Lost Cat.

  7. 5 out of 5

    elizabeth chivers

    3.5

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauraine

    Like any anthology, there are stories you like and some that you don't, overall human's love and admiration for our feline friends shines through. Like any anthology, there are stories you like and some that you don't, overall human's love and admiration for our feline friends shines through.

  9. 4 out of 5

    leila

    why not? (side note: i'm allergic to cats so this might be the closest i can ever get to them) why not? (side note: i'm allergic to cats so this might be the closest i can ever get to them)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Linda Higgins

    A darling book of cat stories from multiple prolific and well known authors. It was fun and joyful to read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    It was okay - a little too highbrow for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Freyya Quinn

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emily Reigart

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sara Quirk

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pugugly

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ejona Varangu

  19. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Lu

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kate Connolly

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abi Smith

  23. 5 out of 5

    MICHAEL LADUSAU

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maddie Keefe

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lira

  26. 5 out of 5

    Remy Leaf

  27. 4 out of 5

    James

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dorene Brugman

  29. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne Leaver

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Tellez

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