Cats: Magnetically attracted to books


“All the books are gone? Oh, man, I can’t stand it!” Image courtesy of ajaxserix, Morguefile.

You may snicker, but I’ve seen it several times with my own eyes. Cats definitely have a thing for books.

Case in point: Back during my high school years, I was a library assistant in a tiny library. The air conditioning at the time had its ups and downs, so one hot summer Saturday my supervisor, Mrs. D, decided to leave the front doors open so we could get some ventilation.

I was working the front desk when I heard, “MEOW!” and looked over to see a stray cat strolling in through the library doors. Mrs. D followed the cat, who chose to wander up and down the bookshelf aisles, meowing his approval at various intervals.

After roaming through the entire library, the cat emitted one final meow and trotted out the door. Mrs. D looked over at me, rolled her eyes comically and said dryly, “I think we passed inspection!”

I’ve noticed cats in other book-related places, too. One of my favorite bookstores in the Shenandoah Valley had a resident cat, Huxley (named after British author Aldous Huxley). According to the bookstore’s website, Huxley delighted visitors for many years and loved to rearrange window displays. I met him a time or two while he was sitting in state on a pile of books in the sunny bookstore window and he was gracious enough to permit a caress on his neck and head.

Huxley is no longer, but has been replaced by Willa Catter (after Willa Cather). I haven’t met Willa yet, but I hope to soon. Someone described her as “all fur and purrs”.

I’ve been to a couple of other bookstores where cats had taken up residence. Maybe they like to play supervisor.

I suspect that T.S. Eliot knew of this magnetic attraction. Otherwise, why would he have written Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats? (And did you know that this book was the basis for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats?)

But cats definitely have a thing for libraries and all their books. I checked YouTube under “cats and library” and there’s the stories of Dewey, Pixie, Pumpkin, Pages and Browser. I liked Dewey’s story the best, so here it is for your enjoyment.



Filed under Writing

11 responses to “Cats: Magnetically attracted to books

  1. They must like all things classical. One guards the violin store where my daughter takes lesson. It looks so majestic that I could very well imagine it would read a book as well.

  2. All MY cats were on an anti-literacy campaign. As soon as either Garry or I opened a book or newspaper, Mr. or Ms. Cat would find the exact spot we were reading and sit on it. Maybe they felt we were hogging the literature?

  3. I read the book about Dewey several years ago. I’m always a sucker for a good cat story!

  4. Yes, Dewey is a perfectly wonderful story.

  5. Impybat

    Not all cats have a thing for books, as Marilyn Armstrong suggests. Mr. Impybat insists that our brown tabby, Little Byte, is the founder of the Northeast chapter of CAL– Cats Against Literacy. She would rather sprawl across whatever you happen to be reading wherever you may be. Her personal preference is the Boston Globe, Sunday edition. It makes lots of noise.

  6. I think cat are reincarnated writers, for I have also seen them in liquor stores.


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