On The Greatness of Animals

Post by Ellie, Information Services Staff

Animals! We don’t deserve them! I feel like I couldn’t have gotten through the stress and isolation of the pandemic without my cats, seeing dogs walk past my window and bird watching in my backyard and the park. So for this post I want to simply celebrate them – their cuteness, their beauty, their wisdom and their simplicity – and everything they bring to our lives.

Fiction

Here is some great recent fiction featuring Human Animal relationships – and you can find a longer list in our catalogue here!

the travelling cat chronicles book cover
the friend book cover
all the animals on earth book cover
perestroika in paris book cover
and the ocean was our sky book cover
the testament of harold's wife book cover
chimerica book cover
an incantation of cats book cover
fox 8 book cover
drifts book cover
how to be human cover
pug actually book cover
among the beasts and briars book cover
the candlelit menagerie book cover
in dog we trust book cover
better than people book cover
bird cottage book cover
other people's pets book cover
the elephant of belfast book cover
animalia book cover

Non-Fiction

These non-fiction books about fabulous fauna are pretty neat too!

the secrets of lost cats book cover
esther the wonder pig book cover
crusoe book cover
the age of the horse book cover
maddie on things book cover
tuco book cover
lost animals book cover
metal cats book cover
the salmon people book cover

Cats and Artists

If you love cats and art as much as I do, check out these tails and tales of cat loving artists:

drawing of an open-mouthed cat with the caption "i am happy because everyone loves me"

Louis Wain (1860-1939) was one of the most popular illustrators of his time. He began drawing his cheerful, large eyed cats for his wife Emily before her death. They rose to immense popularity and profitability, however due to unfortunate circumstances remained impoverished, and was grief-stricken after Emily’s death. Wain increasingly experienced mental health issues, but continued to create cat art after being institutionalized, and the effects of what some consider to have been schizophrenia can be seen in the psychedelic progression of his art work. Read more about this fascinating artist in Cute Cats & Psychedelia: The Tragic Life of Louis Wain.

A large cat sits on a step stool while two kittens play below them.

Gottfried Mind (1768-1814) was a Swiss artist referred to as “the Raphael of Cats”. Mind learned to draw and paint from the German artist Legel, and demonstrated an early talent for representing animals. Mind is one of the the earliest recorded examples of the existence of Autism. He also suffered from a “poor constitution”, which led him to spend much of his time indoors drawing his array of cats. You can view many of Mind’s fabulous felines on The Great Cat.

Two images, the first of a cat licking its lips at a pond of fish, the second of cats posed mid-action or repose.

Check out the Ukiyo-e Prints of Utagawa Kuniyoshi. The cute and funny cats in Kuniyoshi’s art work represent more than meets the eye. The artist worked in Japan in the 1840s at a time when the Tokugawa Shogunate enforced harsh restrictions on artists, and so Kuniyoshi used cats to represent “subversive” cultural figures such as kabuki actors, courtesans and geisha. Kuniyoshi’s prints were hugely popular and fans enjoyed trying to decipher the visual clues to identify each cat.

A tiny black cat on a leash.

Take this guided virtual tour of “The Ten Coolest Cats In Art” from Google Arts & Culture.

Programs

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Have questions? Want more recommendations?  

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