It’s International Cat Day! We’ve rounded up our top seven fictional felines for your reading pleasure! These meow-velous catty creations are sure to brighten your day, including some you might not be so familiar with!
1. The Cheshire Cat
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Perhaps the most influential cat in literature, Lewis Carroll’s grinning creation has known many forms throughout the years. He’s been depicted everywhere from the leering image of him formed by Carroll’s words, to the original illustrations, to the different interpretations of him in the Disney, and Tim Burton‘s Wonderland-inspired movies. The phrase ‘grinning like a Cheshire cat’ predates Carroll’s work, and there are several theories regarding its origins, but the actual smiling, talking Cheshire Cat is Carroll’s own creation. This mischievous puss often makes philosophical points and vague statements that Alice struggles to understand but ultimately the two are friends. The Cheshire Cat has, as a result of the movies, gone on to inspire clothing, makeup lines, and endless merchandise.
2. Orlando the Marmalade Cat
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Kathleen Hale’s wonderful creations, Orlando the Marmalade Cat and his lovely wife Grace, are two of the finest felines in literature, for sure. Along with their three adorable kittens, Blanche, Pansy, and little Tinkle, they are a literary legacy not to be missed by the bookish cat lover. The illustrations are what make these books so irresistible, and are inspired by Hale’s own marmalade cat! You’ll be pleased to learn there is an entire series, encapsulating the family’s many adventures. From Orlando and Grace’s adorable relationship to the arguments among the kitten siblings, you are guaranteed to fall in love!
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Notable for his rivalry with Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger’s ginger Tom is one of the only named cats to appear in the ‘Harry Potter’ series, aside from Filch’s beady-eyed Mrs. Norris. Crookshanks’s poor relationship with Ron is not only the result of them both vying for Hermione’s affections, however. Crookshanks relentlessly went for Ron’s pet rat, Scabbers, throughout ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban‘ (the third book in the series, and Crookshanks’s magnum opus). Consider Scabbers later turned out to be death-eater Peter Pettigrew in disguise, we think Crookshanks had the right idea.
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The star of Sven Nordqvist’s children’s series ‘Findus and Pettson,’ Findus is an excitable, mischievous, over-all clad cat. He lives with farmer Pettson in their cosy, ramshackle cottage, and the two are best of friends. There are several ‘Findus and Pettson’ books, charting the many adventures they have around their farm and local area. The illustrations could melt anyone’s heart and will instantly win you over.
5. The Cat in the Hat
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Perhaps Dr. Seuss’s most famous creation, the Cat in the Hat shaped many childhoods. Theodor Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss, was commissioned to write a story that ‘first-graders can’t put down.‘ Children were less inclined to learn to read and continue a love of reading when taught using the ‘Dick and Jane’ books which featured “abnormally courteous, unnaturally clean boys and girls.” Instead, Dr. Seuss created the characters of the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, and Thing 2, who come to wreak havoc in the home of two bored children, cleaning it all up before the parents return. Published in 1957, Dr. Seuss said it is the work of which he is proudest, because ‘it had something to do with the death of Dick and Jane primers.’
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Behemoth is an abnormally large, demonic black cat from Mikhail Bulgakov’s cult classic ‘The Master and Margarita.’ A member of Woland’s entourage and compulsive teller of jokes, Behemoth walks on his hind legs, is the proud owner of a pistol and enjoys vodka, chess, and pickled mushrooms.
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Holly Golightly’s cat, named simply Cat, is an important character in Truman Capote’s novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s‘ and the film starring Audrey Hepburn, in which he was portrayed by an animal actor named Orangey. Orangey won the Picture Animal Top Star of the Year award for his work on the movie. In the story, Cat functions as an important representation of Holly’s inability to settle, and her fear of both belonging and not belonging. She claims that she and Cat do not belong to each other, and are both independents, refusing even to give him a proper name. Poor Cat.
8. Every Cat from ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’
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T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection that inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway sensation ‘Cats’ contains so many wonderful feline characters that we couldn’t possibly pick just one. Even their names are marvelous: Alonzo, Bombalurina, Bustopher Jones, Cat Morgan, Coricopat–do you have a favorite?
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