There are so many great books written about dogs and cats — how can you ever choose between them all? We’ve curated a list of the most endearing, heartwarming, and hilarious reads for those of you who just can’t get enough of your pets.
1. Dewey the Library Cat: A True Story by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter
Rescued as a tiny abandoned kitten in a library return box, tabby cat “Dewey” changed the hearts and worlds of the residents of small-town Spencer, Iowa. The kitten was rescued by librarian Vicki Myron, who took the cat in and raised him in the library. Dewey, named after Melvile Dewey (creator of the Dewey Decimal System) became the famous beloved library cat that the world came to know and love. This heartwarming tale is about the transformative powers of cats, libraries, and love.
2. Marley & Me by John Grogan
This tale of love, friendship, and family follows the life of John and Jennifer Grogan, a newlywed couple contemplating starting a family. The couple is advised by a friend to adopt a dog as a test for their readiness to become parents — and they end up taking in a labrador puppy named Marley. The puppy, the Grogans soon find, is a disobedient menace (as most puppies are at such a young age) who eats everything in sight, chews up the furniture, and generally terrorizes the living room. Over time, the Grogans grow to love Marley and develop a special bond with the energetic pup — who stays young at heart his entire life.
3. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot
If you like cats and poetry, this is the book for you! Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats is a collection of short whimsical poems about cats, written by renowned British poet T.S. Eliot, and published in 1939. These fun and delightful poems are written in verse, following rhythmic cadences and thrilling rhyming patterns. In 1981, the musical “Cats” — a musical based on the poetry collection and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber — was published. The musical follows stories of the cats in T.S. Eliot’s poems, but be warned — the musical is even more whimsical than the poetry!
4. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
A childhood favorite of many, Because of Winn-Dixie touches the hearts of many children and adults alike. In Naomi, Florida, a young girl named Opal befriends a wild street dog who ransacks a local Winn-Dixie grocery store. Opal names the dog Winn-Dixie, and the two quickly become best friends. They end up taking care of each other, helping one another work through loneliness, heartache, and life.
5. Simon’s Cat by Simon Tofield
Beginning as a famous web cartoon, Simon’s Cat features — well, Simon’s Cat. Simon’s Cat is a mischievous fellow who is always trying to use creative ways to get his human, Simon, to feed him. The web cartoon quickly became so popular that author/illustrator Simon Tofield was able to convert his lovable material to book format, and is now available for purchase.
6. E.B. White on Dogs Edited by Martha White
Well-renowned novelist E.B. White (author of Charlotte’s Web) was a man very fond of dogs, of which he had many over the course of his life. This book is a collection of his personal essays, journal entries, poems, and letters concerning various dog companions. All of the material in this book is collected and edited by his granddaughter Martha White. E.B. White on Dogs is a funny, heartwarming, and relatable adventure through the eyes of a literary dog lover.
7. The Fur Person by May Sarton
If you’re recognizing a pattern here, you’re not wrong. Many of the books in this list are written about or inspired by the author’s very own pet — and The Fur Person is another to add to the pile. This charming, fictionalized story follows Sarton’s cat, Tom Jones, on his journey from street cat to gentleman cat, and finally, to “fur person” — a cat who chooses to live with humans for the rest of his life.
8. Merle’s Door by Ted Kerasote
In his memoir, Ted Kerasote writes about his experience during a particular camping trip where he encounters a stray labrador living up in the mountains. Kerasote and the dog bond during the trip, and after naming him Merle, Kerasote decides to bring the labrador home with him. The first few months of living together is quite an adjustment phase for the both of them, as Kerasote learns that Merle is a mountain-dweller at heart, and still yearns to be in the great outdoors. Kerasote realizes that for Merle to live exclusively in the human world would diminish his natural skills that were forged by living in the wilderness. As the two journey through life together, they learn how to balance wilderness in their own hearts and lives.
9. The Year of the Buttered Cat: A Mostly True Story by Susan Haas and Lexi Haas
Written in a very similar style to Out of My Mind by Shannon Draper, The Year of the Buttered Cat is about 13-year-old Lexi Haas, a young girl working through many medical complications. As Lexi unveils the mystery of what happened to her as a baby, the family cat suddenly goes missing, along with two of Lexi’s friends who she recruited to help her search for the missing cat.
10. Travels with Charley In Search of America by John Steinbeck
Travels with Charley is a travelogue written by John Steinbeck about his travels across America with his poodle Charley in the 1960s. The two travel companions embark on a great road trip across the country, encountering many new people, places, and ideas together. It’s a heartwarming tale about true companionship and loyal friendship.
Writing Specialist at Lilly Brush Co.