They’re furry and friendly (at least when they’re not ignoring you!), inquisitive and independent, playful but also petulant — and it’s these fabulous characteristics that make cats the most fascinating of characters in children’s books. Here are seven fun, furry storybook cats that are sure to captivate children of all ages.
1. The popular Pete the Cat character was the result of a creative collaboration between singing storyteller Eric Litwin and artist James Dean. Pete is a super cool, laid back, and rather groovy cat who looks for the positive in every person and situation. Get started with the first book in the series, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes.
2. Splat the Cat is the fabulous furry creation of Rob Scotton. Splat is a friendly and loveable cat (he even has a pet mouse) with a knack for finding himself in rather funny situations when dealing with everyday situations. I particularly love his wonderfully real but supportive family, and my girls have loved every book in the series that we've read to date.
3. Dr Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat may well be the most well-known of all of the cats on this list! He’s mischievous and bossy (as real cats can also be!), creating mayhem and mess in the home of two bored children, Sally and Sam, while their mother is out. This really is Dr Seuss at his best — a must-read classic.
4. Fans of Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo and Stick Man are sure to love Tabby McTat, the Musical Cat. It’s a story of friendship lost and re-found between a busker and his beloved companion cat, Tabby McTat.
5. The title of the book may be Oi Frog! but Cat is clearly the star of this fabulously funny story by Kes Gray. It’s the first in a hilarious series (Oi Dog! and Oi Cat! being the follow-ons) about a series of silly rules about where animals must sit — cats on mats, frogs on logs, and whales on nails (ouch!).
6. There would be fierce debate in our house about which is our favorite Lynley Dodd cat character — Scarface Claw or Slinky Malinky? Both are fabulous cats that fans of Dodd’s Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy will surely fall in love with. For me, Scarface Claw wins by a whisker, after all he's the toughest tom in town! Or is he?
7. T.S Eliot’s collection of whimsical cat character poems, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, was the inspiration behind Cats the musical. The poems introduce readers to the many different types of cats and their individual personalities, and include characters such as the marvelous Rum Tum Tugger, Jellicles, Mr Mistoffelees, Macavity the Mystery Cat, and more. There are a number of illustrated versions of the original poems, including one by children’s illustrator Axel Scheffler.
What a fun, furry bunch of individuals these cats are! And if you're looking for even more pet-inspired adventures, be sure to check out these chapter books for animal-loving kids.