The Cat in Fantasy Lit

crookshanks

When you begin to think about it, cats have played some crucial roles in literature, specifically sci-fi and fantasy.  What is it that’s so alluring about a magical cat?  A talking cat?  Or even a goddess cat?

From ancient Egyptian times, when the Goddess Bastet (in the form of a cat) was worshipped, and even before, cats have always held a certain mystery and fascination for us humans.  In medieval times, cats in general, and black cats specifically, were thought to be evil.  Women who took them in to care for the poor mistreated or neglected animals were in turn labeled witches.

I myself love cats … I’ve owned probably over a hundred of them over the course of my life.  And while my husband might argue with you as to whether I’m a witch or not … depending on the day … like any cat lover, I can tell you they are anything but evil.  Spooky sometimes, yes.  Spastic and quirky … yeah.  Moody and uppity and picky – uh-huh.  The one thing I know from my years of cat experiences is that, without a doubt, cats definitely have personality.  And I suppose that’s why they so naturally fit into literature, whether as characters themselves, or as interesting sidekicks.

Here’s a list of fantasy and sci-fi cats you should definitely check out.  Who is your favorite feline in fantasy?aslan

  1. The Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  2. Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  3. Crookshanks in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
  4. Fritti Tailchaser in Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams
  5. Magicats! books (collection of cat stories) edited by Jack Dann
  6. The ThunderClan cats in the Warriors series by Erin Hunter
  7. Rhiow and the team of cat-wizards in the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane
  8. Gareth in Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander
  9. The cat with no name in Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  10. “The Cat” in The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce
  11. Thelma, Roger, James and Harriet in Catwings by Ursula Le Guin
  12. Goldeneyes in the Catmage Chronicles by Meryl Yourish
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About AshleeW

Reader and writer of fairytales and fantasy, walker in the woods, studier of people, believer of mercy and peace, mother, wife and child of God.

Posted on June 12, 2013, in books, cat, fantasy, List, middle grade, readers, teen, young adult and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Another cat in a GREAT fantasy series: Llyan the gigantic cat in The Prydain Chronicles series. She’s huge because a giant gave her a magic potion, and she becomes the “owner” of one of the characters in the series (haha because us cat lovers know that they really own us). Lloyd Alexander is the author of The Prydain Chronicles. Check them out!

  2. There are so many great cats in SF and Fantasy. I have a long list on my HD that I never seem to finish, but some of yours are new to me, so I need to get reading 🙂

    Off the top of my head, I’d add Bast from Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles and Greebo from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

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