Book recommendations from my cats. (Or, pictures of my cats.)

I adopted my kitty-girls from the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society a little over a year ago in a two-for-the-price-of-one deal, although I hesitate to call them “mine” – it’s much more appropriate to call me “theirs.” There weren’t a whole lot of books at the shelter but they’ve been thoroughly immersed in the litter-ary life since moving in with me and have a few favorite books of their own now. I’ll let them tell you why.


Clementine snark
World’s most perfect cat.

Of course I get listed first – I wouldn’t even have to point it out except that the black-and-white one would be oblivious otherwise. *rolls eyes*

My first favorite is I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! by Jill Esbaum and Gus Gordon. This is the inspirational story of Nadine, a brilliant cow who saves the world, and also the lives of her two doltish friends who managed to get lost in the woods – and has some serious adventure to boot. (Think cliff-diving.) I Am Cow carries me through trying moments with the two dolts in my own life…

clementine is bored
I am cat, hear me-ow!

A Curious Collection of Cats by Betsy Franco is my other first favorite. It’s a book of concrete poems (colorfully illustrated by Michael Wertz) that are all about me. Of course, it would appear to be about several different cats – an entire collection of them – but the authors did that so lesser cats than me wouldn’t feel jealous. *yawns, stretches, flops onto back*

Clementine and faulkner
Clementine on Instagram…

Simon Tofield’s Simon’s Cat vs. the World is another inspirational read, except it’s different than Cow because it’s non-fiction. That Simon person wrote and illustrated an entire book about his creative, moderately intelligent feline roommate – he really knows how to show appreciation. *angrily cuts eyes at Emily* Of course, Simon’s cat has a lot to learn, and he’ll probably never reach my level of cat achievement, but at least he’s trying.

Clementine and binky
…versus Clementine in real life.

I’ll use my last free recommendation spot to recommend two books to the above-mentioned dolts in my life – How to be a Cat by Nikki McClure and How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats? from my favorite paragon of wisdom and instruction manuals, Jane Yolen. I thought about specifying who should read which book, but they both should read both books – for empathy and understanding.


Mom? You’re sleeping past sunrise – are you dead?

Yes! Thank you for asking! Mom always has a lot of books scattered around the house and I’ve managed to read a few. Of course I’d be delighted to share my favorites with you – sharing is caring!

Speaking of caring, I’d have to say my first pick is Jill Esbaum and Gus Gordon’s I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!, an adventure story with a hopeful message! This cow lady, Nadine, and her two sweet friends go on a forest adventure, and… well, I won’t spoil it but let’s just say Nadine is a bit self-important and is really, super glad her two friends are there, even though she can’t or won’t admit it. Friendship makes the world go ‘round! Is Clementine sick again? I think I hear puking.

death glare
Best friends 4-ever.

Another heartwarming friendship story (I just love friendship books!) is Baabwaa & Wooliam by David Elliott, with lifelike illustrations by Melissa Sweet. I won’t tell you the plot, but I do want to get to the point (SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!) of the story. Baabwaa and Wooliam are two sheep who befriend a wolf. Interspecies friendship, y’all. It’s doable, and it’s necessary, no matter what the popular narratives tell you. Think for yourself, and have some compassion! It ALL starts with compassion – even in the book. And I’m pretty sure this is a non-fiction book too, which just makes it even better. All you need is love! Are you sure Clementine’s okay?

Spiritual Lola
Spiritual kitty just wants to help.

Whew. I get a little worked up sometimes, which is why I find my next cat pick so useful: You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo. Mom and I do yoga almost every morning, and she finds the illustrations and analogies in this book to be helpful for her practice. I help her out by demonstrating the poses and their variations and by bringing back her attention when her mind starts to drift – for instance, if I see her attention start to wander, I’ll give her a good head-butt (or butt-butt) in the face to bring her back to the present moment. So this book is really more for her than for me, because I love her so much.

catify and lola
Lola has a thing for dudes with tattoos…

Finally: Treat by Mary Sullivan. This book holds, for me, what the writer Cheryl Strayed calls the power of “me too.” I read this, and I feel like I’m not alone in the world. Wow. Just wow.

That’s all for now, folks! Thanks for letting me share!

Bonus Cat: Jambavan

Jambavan and cat pick.JPG
Look at those ears, though! We all have a crush on this guy.

Clementine and Lola’s favorite paw-pal, Jambavan, has his own recommendation, pictured here. It’s not in NCCardinal’s catalog, because he read it before the library even knew it existed. His advice to you: do your own thing, as long as your own thing includes climbing trees.