Pop Culture

What the Cats of Neko Atsume Are Reading

Emma Nichols

Staff Writer

Emma Nichols is a career bookseller. Though she expected to grow up to be a librarian, or a witch, she's quite happy with how things are working out. Officially, she specializes in children's books and manages their book fairs; unofficially, she is passionate about short stories and spreadsheets. When not evangelizing her favorite books to unsuspecting customers, she can be heard discussing books and bookselling on her podcast Drunk Booksellers. Her other hobbies include organizing her books, taking pictures of her cat, and binge-re-watching her favorite TV shows. Blog: The Bibliot Twitter: @thebibliot

Whether you check on your cats daily, twice daily, or scoff at the thought, you’ve probably heard of Neko Atsume, the tamagotchi-like game where players set out food and toys to attract cats who then leave them currency in the form of sardines so players can buy more food and toys (and repeat).

I’m the twice daily player (minimum); I have the Japanese version on my iPad and the English version on my cell. I’ve collected all the cats and nearly all the mementos. What I’m trying to say is I’ve spent a lot of time with these adorable pixel-kittens. So naturally, as a book nerd, I’ve given a lot of thought to what they’re reading.

Warning! Images of Rare Cats contain spoilers

Neko Atsume Cat SnowballName: Snowball
Personality: mellow

While lounging around on her favorite Snowy Pillow, Snowball enjoys reading the classic novel Tender Is the Belly by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Neko Atsume Cat ShadowName: Shadow
Personality: peculiar

Friends call him a weirdo, but Shadow doesn’t mind; his favorite genre is Weird and when he needs to get away he just dips into Kelly Link’s Catnip for Beginners


Neko Atsume Cat FredName: Fred
Personality: lady-killer

Currently, Fred is reading Shakespeare’s classic The Maiming of the Shrew—he’s hoping to pick up some tips


Neko Atsume Cat Joe DiMeowgioName: Joe DiMeowgio
Personality: team player

When not batting at balls, Joe DiMeowgio enjoys reading up on his favorite game; he’s currently claws deep in Michael Lewis’s Yarnball


Neko Atsume Cat Senor Don GatoName: Senor Don Gato
Personality: scheming

Senor Don Gato loves a good adventure novel, especially if it involves a little romance; his favorite classic is The Catnip of Monte Cristo


Neko Atsume Cat Xerxes IXName: Xerxes IX
Personality: regal

Xerxes will read anything anything about royalty, especially if it’s bloody; his current favorite is the latest in the Song of Mice & Wire series A Frolic of Felines


Neko Atsume Cat Chairman MeowName: Chairman Meow
Personality: boorish

Hemingway’s classic A Farewell to Yarns keeps Chairman Meow occupied on long nights spent far from home.


Neko Atsume Cat Saint PurrtrickName: Saint Purrtrick
Personality: awe-inspiring

He may seem pious and virtuous, but Saint Purrtrick loves a bawdy tale or a good fart joke just as much as the next cat, that’s why he never travels without his copy of The Canterbury Tails

Neko Atsume Cat Ms. FortuneName: Ms. Fortune
Personality: charismatic

Ms. Fortune’s favorite characters have magnetic, day-glo personalities—like Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Cat.



Neko Atsume Bob the CatName: Bob the Cat
Personality: outdoorsy

The only thing Bob the Cat loves more than actually traveling is reading about it; he’s working through every travel book in the library and currently loving Eat, Purr, Lounge by Elizabeth Gilbert

Neko Atsume Cat Conductor WhiskersName: Conductor Whiskers
Personality: vigilant

Conductor Whiskers needs to keep his brain constantly active, which is why he loves true crime novels like Truman Capote’s In Cold Milk


Neko Atsume Cat TubbsName: Tubbs
Personality: finicky feaster

When not stuffing himself, Tubbs enjoys staring at the pictures in cookbooks—though those are frustratingly missing from his latest library loan To Kill a Mockingbird

Neko Atsume Cat Mr. MeowgiName: Mr. Meowgi
Personality: mentoring

Mr. Meowgi turns to short fiction when he wants to learn something new; his current favorite is Interpreter of Meowladies by Jhumpa Lahiri


Neko Atsume Cat Lady Meow MeowName: Lady Meow Meow
Personality: diva

As a performer and a diva, Lady Meow Meow hardly has time for reading, but she does love to relax in her luxurious hammock and read fabulous memoirs like Just Kittens by Patti Smith

Neko Atsume Cat Guy FurryName: Guy Furry
Personality: artisan

Guy Furry is your average cat—he appreciates the simple things in life: slow living and good food; when he wants to make a delicious meal he turns to the Kittenfolk

Neko Atsume Cat KathmanduName: Kathmandu
Personality: refined

Kathmandu enjoys the finer things in life: a patch of sun and a good book, like The God of Shiny Things by Arundhati Roy



Neko Atsume Cat Sassy FranName: Sassy Fran
Personality: enthusiastic

When not serving up lattes, Fran is gushing over her favorite reads; as a prominent female in the feline community, she can’t stress enough the importance of We Should All Be Felines by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

Neko Atsume Cat Billy the KittenName: Billy the Kitten
Personality: nihilistic

When not pondering his own insignificance, Billy the Kitten enjoys reading about the ultimately useless trials of others, like in Faulkner’s  As I Lay Meowing

Neko Atsume Cat FrostyName: Frosty
Personality: sensitive

On cold nights, Frosty likes to warm up with a nice thick book; he was last found cuddling Karl Ove Knausgard’s My Snuggle.


There’s just one Rare Cat who’s book of choice I couldn’t put my finger on. Anyone think they have an answer to that riddle?


Neko Atsume Cat Ramses the GreatName: Ramses the Great
Personality: riddler