Book Review: A Cat’s Life

A Cat’s Life, by Gemma Correll

I got this book from my library as part of their focus on books about cats, and as I am fond of reading funny books about cats, despite not having any pets [1].  And this book was certainly easy to enjoy.  It has some of the basic elements that make so many books about cats so funny:  cats (who are naturally pretty entertaining animals), some amusing dialogue, and clever and humorous drawings.  This particular book is a short one, but has enough funny drawings about cats that anyone who likes this sort of genre will have much to enjoy so long as they can imagine what is going on inside the minds of cats when they do the sometimes odd and snobbish things that they do.  If you’re thinking of reading a book like this one, you have some idea what you’re in for, and this book will definitely not disappoint if you want to see funny cats behaving somewhat badly and being just as snobbish with each other, and just as hilariously lazy, as they are with every other being they are around.

Coming in at just over 100 pages, this book is made up of various cartoons, most of them one or two frames, some of them in a series, that show various aspects of a cat’s life.  The book begins and ends with text in English, French, and German that introduce the humor of cats as well as their snobbery at the beginning and give some information about the book’s author at the end.  In between we find cartoons about such matters as cats trying to fit into boxes that are too small, cats napping and otherwise being lazy, cats wearing disguises and dealing with artistic youngsters, cats being addicted to catnip as well as vino (including boxed wine) and coffee, the need for food, internet dating (including the hazards of interspecies dating and trying to win over a girl with mixtapes), hairballs, kitty confessions, cats getting in the way, litterboxes, an imagined cat hipster spa, cat fashion and makeup, cats licking themselves and insulting dogs, cats quoting famous literature, weird cat behavior like making odd faces and staring, the cone of shame and being shaved, blended families of cats and the difficulties of being a cat stepfather, cat gossip, and so on.

As someone who reads a lot of books about cats, I often try to figure out what it is that makes it so easy for a book about cats to be entertaining (except when the author tries to make too many political points, as happens occasionally).  A few conclusions come to mind upon finishing this particular delightful volume.  For one, cats themselves are inherently funny.  As far as animals are concerned they are certainly smart but also delightfully odd, and they are close enough to human beings in being both smart and silly at the same time that it is easy for us to picture their thinking process and how it sometimes goes awry.  Cats are sensitive to substance abuse, are like human beings in being rather schizoid about intimacy sometimes, being both standoffish and extremely cuddly, cute and hostile, at different times for what seem to be momentary and passing reasons.  Cats are both sufficiently like us and sufficiently unlike us to make them entertaining companions, and the way that they sleep so much and get themselves into so much trouble is part of what makes them so adorable and so easy to use in order to make implicit commentary on the lives of the human beings who read such books.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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