Comics/Graphic Novels

Talk to the Animals: 9 Fun Manga with Talking Animals

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Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

I spend a significant portion of my day talking. Okay, the truth is I spend a significant portion of my day talking…to my cats. Spoiler: They don’t talk back. But wouldn’t it be great it they did?? I don’t think there’s any pet owner who hasn’t wished at one time or another that their pets could talk back to them. Or that they had the ability to communicate with animals like Dr. Doolittle does. Sadly, it isn’t a reality, but it is still delightful to imagine animals can communicate. You can find them doing just that in these nine fun manga with talking animals!

In the pages of these comics, you’ll find animal baristas, massage therapists, foodies, fighters, spies, and more. In some, the animals talk out loud just like humans. In others they communicate in thought bubbles, like Garfield, so that we, the readers, know what they’re thinking. If you’re looking for a cozy comic to help you relax, or to cheer you up, these are the perfect books. They’re silly and fun, and so adorable! And almost every one of them has sequels so you can keep going with their stories.

Plus, if you like animals, there are tons more manga with animals — especially cats. (For more feline fun, I recommend starting with Cat + Gamer by Wataru Nadatani!)

cover of Ramen Wolf and Curry Tiger by Emboss; illustration of a tiger carrying a wolf on its back

Ramen Wolf and Curry Tiger by Emboss

This is a grumpy-sunshine friendship story! Mita and Yanagi are two friends who share a love of finding delicious food. They meet frequently to enjoy all the amazing dishes their town has to offer. Mita is an adorable, roly-poly wolf who looks more like a Shiba Inu, and Yanagi is a cranky tiger with six pack abs who can’t help but enjoy himself around Mita. The funniest part about these foodies is that they walk, talk, and dress like humans, but they eat like animals.

cover of Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo; illustration of a giant white dog wearing a bow tie sitting in a 1970s egg chair

Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo

The premise of the Spy x Family series is that a master spy has to pretend he has a family in order to get close to a target at a boarding school. What he doesn’t know if that the woman he picked to pretend to be his wife is a deadly assassin, and the daughter they adopted can read minds. So it only makes sense that when this “family” gets a dog, the dog has secret special powers too. The dog, named Bond, is a ginormous white dog who looks more like a polar bear, and has the ability to predict the future a few seconds before it happens. So he’s always foiling plots and rescuing people, all while looking dapper in his bow tie and feeling exasperated that the humans don’t understand him. (Bond makes his first appearance in the series in volume four.) (This is also a fun television series.)

cover of Polar Bear Café by Aloha Higa; illustration of a polar bear in an apron carrying a tray with mugs of hot drink

Polar Bear Café by Aloha Higa

And this, in case you couldn’t guess from the title, is about a polar bear who owns a café! In this manga that inspired an anime series, Polar Bear and the customers at the café all dine and talk about their life problems, like work and dating. They also go on adventures, like skiing and snowboarding. Animals — they’re just like us!

cover of Cat Massage Therapy by Haru Hisakawa; illustration of an adorable white cat wearing a green shirt and a lanyard

Cat Massage Therapy by Haru Hisakawa

This is probably the cutest manga on the list. It’s literally just comics about a team of cats who work in a massage therapy business. In the first book, they get hired to work at an office, where they purr and knead the human clients, who inevitably burst into tears because all the tension is released. And because the cuteness is overwhelming. These cats are so adorable, and also sometimes bossy.

cover of Ex-Yakuza and Stray Kitten by Riddle Kamimura; illsutration of a blond man with scars sitting on the floor with a teeny tiny black and white kitten

Ex-Yakuza and Stray Kitten by Riddle Kamimura

A former member of organized crime is trying to walk the straight and narrow path. And because Jin is really a big softy at heart, when he finds a teeny-tiny stray kitten in the rain, he takes it in and pampers with bubble baths and lots of food. Readers are treated to Sabu the kitten’s inner thoughts as he navigates his new life with the secretive Jin.

cover of I Am a Cat Barista by Hiro Maijima; illustration of a brown cat in a suit holding a tray with a tea cup on it

I Am a Cat Barista by Hiro Maijima

In this fun fantasy series, people always find Cafe Hachiware when they need it most. The café appears out of nowhere to people in times of trouble. And the dapper cat barista behind the bar always has the right drink and bit of advice to help them solve their problems. Imagine if Sam Malone was a cat and always had good advice, and you’ve got I Am a Cat Barista.

cover of The Evil Secret Society of Cats; illustration of a group of cats, one of whom is wearing a cape

The Evil Secret Society of Cats by Pandania

Yes, they’re an evil, but also AWWWWWW, look at the cute kitties! The Evil Society of Cats has dastardly plans to thwart the humans, but they’re also just so darn cute. It’s hard to take them seriously, especially Feline Commander, who looks a bit like Dr. Strange. But that’s how they getcha.

cover of Rooster Fighter by Shū Sakuratani; illustration of a cranky-looking rooster face

Rooster Fighter by Shū Sakuratani

When frightening giant monsters start to destroy our world, there’s only one hero who can stop them: a rooster. Yep, you read that right, a tiny bird with an attitude is going to save the world. And if you don’t think a rooster can be a badass, then you definitely want to see him lay (which would be a great pun if it was about a chicken) waste to these enormous demonic creatures. He will claw (ah, an appropriate pun) his way into your heart.

cover of The Masterful Cat Is Depressed Again Today by Hitsuji Yamada; illustration of a young woman and a human-sized cat sitting on cushions

The Masterful Cat Is Depressed Again Today by Hitsuji Yamada

Imagine if instead of shedding, scratching, and destroying your possessions, your cat did the household chores? What a dream, right? In this fun series, a human-sized cat named Yukichi with a bit of a Felix Unger personality takes care of all the household needs while his owner Saku works. And we are privy to his thoughts and feelings about life and his roommate. Now this is an odd couple! (This is soon to be a TV series.)

For more fun manga with animals, check out 8 of the Best Animal Manga Series Featuring Furry Protagonists and 10+ Cat Manga Purrfect for Feline Fanatics!