Two centuries of literary homages to the fascinating feline: stories by writers of every stripe—from P.G. Wodehouse to Doris Lessing, from Damon Runyon to Steven Millhauser.
The essential unknowableness of cats has inspired many flights of fancy: Italo Calvino’s secret city of cats in “The Garden of Stubborn Cats,” the disappearing feline in Ursula K. Le Guin’s mind-twisting “Schrödinger’s Cat,” the cartoon rodent and his cartoon nemesis in Steven Millhauser’s “Cat ’n’ Mouse.” Cats flaunt their superiority in Angela Carter’s bawdy retelling of “Puss-in-Boots” and in Stephen Vincent Benét’s “The King of the Cats,” in which two impossibly suave foreigners are revealed as even more exotic than they pretend to be.
In “The Islands” by Alice Adams and “I See You, Bianca” by Maeve Brennan we see how much cats can mean to their humans. And the inimitable Saki lets us hear what cats really think of us in “Tobermory,” his tale of a tactless talking animal.
Published in 2011.