When Used Books Attack: Cat Edition

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Zoe Dickinson

Staff Writer

Zoe Dickinson is a poet and lover of language, as well as a newly minted librarian with her MLIS from Dalhousie University. She now lives in Victoria, B.C., where she works at Canada's largest used bookstore, and gradually adds to her vast cardigan collection. Zoe is a literary omnivore, devouring everything from ancient poetry to contemporary romance to science fiction. The only genre she doesn't read is horror, because she is kind of a wimp. If Zoe had a superpower, it would be the ability to walk and read without bumping into anything. Her two favourite places are the beach and the library. Twitter: @zoeidadickinson

Working in a used book store, I handle thousands of books every week. Mostly we cycle through copies of popular fiction titles, cookbooks, and so on. But as used booksellers, we also see the weirdest of the weird. There have been a lot of strange books printed over the years. My favorites are the ones about cats. Cat people are already a little odd (I say this as a cat person myself). These books show what happens when you add an extra sprinkling of quirkiness to an already quirky population. They are all honest to goodness books that we currently have in stock at my workplace, or we have had in the past.

1. Magic Cat Explains Creation by Yael Powell and Doug PowellMagic Cat (an enlightened animal) Explains Creation (Through Yael and Doug Powell)


That is one enlightened animal! Anyone who owns a cat has probably experienced the sneaking suspicion that the cat knows more than it’s letting on. I wouldn’t actually be that surprised if the cat I grew up with knew the secrets of the universe. I do kind of doubt that a cat would write a book explaining those secrets, though! In my experience, cats are more likely to keep enlightenment to themselves and watch smugly from the windowsill while us lesser mortals flounder.

Cat High The Yearbook by Terry deRoy Gruber2. Cat High: The Yearbook by Terry deRoy Gruber


Okay, this one is clearly a joke book, but I love the sheer commitment! Every page is packed with cats in appropriate outfits: students, special clubs, everything you expect from a yearbook. It’s delightfully ridiculous!

I mean, look at these teacher cats. I think they speak for themselves.

Cat High The Yearbook Page

Test Your Cat's Creative Intelligence by Burton Silver and Heather Busch3. Test Your Cat’s Creative Intelligence by Burton Silver and Heather Busch


From the geniuses who brought us Why Cats Paint, 18 easy-to-use test cards to verify your cat’s artistic ability!






Here’s an example test card:

MONPA 2D Image Recognition Test

I don’t know if this card will confirm my cat’s ability to recognize a two-dimensional image of a dog, but I am 100% sure it will confirm her ability to recognize a piece of cardboard! What does it say about her creativity if she starts chewing on the corner, I wonder… (Image credit)

Catflexing by Stephanie Jackson4. Catflexing: A Catlover’s Guide to Weight Training, Aerobics, & Stretching by Stephanie Jackson


I don’t even know where to start here. I don’t mean to be judgmental, and if you and your cat enjoy working out together, more power to you… But really? REALLY?! The author does acknowledge that “working out is not innate to cats,” but goes on to suggest that you “make it as fun as possible for your cat” (good luck with that). The next paragraph had me crying tears of laughter:

“If you do not have a cat, see about borrowing your neighbor’s.”

Let’s pause and imagine that conversation, shall we? “Oh hi Joe! I was wondering if I could borrow Snowflake for half an hour. I want to get in some aerobics training and I’d like to swing her through the air while I do that!”

Catflexing Page

“Even if you do have a cat, sometimes borrowing your neighbor’s cat isn’t such a bad idea because your pet will not always be in the mood to work out.”

No kidding! I don’t think I ever met a cat who was “in the mood” to work out!

I mean, look at that cat’s face.

Just look at it.

Catflexing Page Closeup

Is this cat having fun? I don’t think so!

What’s the weirdest cat book you’ve encountered? Let me know in the comments!