I Am a Cat

I Am a Cat

Before I started reading I Am a Cat, I was afraid that I would not be able to relate to it. After all, commentary and parody of the social upheaval in Meiji era Japan is not something that strikes me as approachable. It was immediately clear, though, that I had nothing to worry about. The cat himself was endearing and believable. Furthermore, the observations he made and the comments in general about humanity were not limited to Meiji era Japan, but rather things we could all relate to.

In terms of structure, I Am a Cat is actually a collection of 11 short stories, all told from the perspective of a nameless cat. His observations cover a wide variety of subjects, from the residents of his household, to local cat politics. Ultimately, I’m not going to do this book justice summarizing it here, so I’ll let the cat do it himself:

"At ordinary times, most human beings are wearisomely ordinary; depressingly banal in appearance and deadly boring in their conversation. However, at certain moments, by some peculiar, almost supernatural, process their normal triviality can be transformed into something so weird and wonderful that no feline scholar of their species can afford to miss any occasion when that transformation seems likely to take place" (382).

It’s also worth noting that, since it is a collection of short stories, it’s not necessary to read it all at once. You certainly can (I did, and I enjoyed it all the way through), but it isn’t necessary. And no, that is not the cat from the book. That is my cat!

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