On Cats - An Anthology, intro by Margaret Atwood / ISBN 9781912559329 / small 148-page hardback from Notting Hill Editions
For centuries, cats have been worshipped, adored and mistrusted in equal measure. This beautiful gift book contains a selection of essays, stories, and poems on cats by writers from across the ages.
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. Freud considered his cat an embodiment of true egoism; Hilaire Belloc found peace in his feline companion’s complacency; and Hemingway—a famous cat-lover—wrote of drinking with his eleven cats and the pleasant distraction they gave him.
Edward Gorey can’t turn down a stray despite the trouble they cause him, and admits he has no idea what they’re thinking about; Muriel Spark gives practical advice on how to teach a cat to play ping-pong; Nikola Tesla, who helped design the modern electricity supply system, describes a seminal experience with a cat that first sparked his fascination with electricity; and Caitlin Moran considers the unexpected feelings of loss after the death of her family cat.
These writers, and many others (including Mary Gaitskill, Alice Walker, Ursula K. Le Guin, John Keats, James Bowen, Lynne Truss, and more), paint a joyful portrait of cats and their mysterious and loveable ways. As Hemingway wrote, “one cat leads to another.” The book features six black-and-white cat portraits by photographer Elliot Ross.