Here’s a post at Barnes and Noble: The 25 best cats in science fiction and fantasy. Always a good topic, though I’m inclined to do a matching list for dogs. Still, click through if you’re so inclined and let’s take a look.
Okay, not all these cats are cat-cats. Aslan, for example; and the hani from Cherryh’s Chanur series; and David Webber’s “treecats,” which are, being alien, even less real cats than, say, a marsupial “tiger cat.” Cats, really?
Many of the more catlike cats on the list, I’ve never encountered. But this one sounds like my favorite kind of cat:
Slag in the The Tales of the Ketty Jay series, by Chris Wooding
Slag is the feral cat that lives on Captain Darian Frey’s ship, the Ketty Jay. He’s just a cat. He doesn’t talk, or have magic powers, and rarely has a direct connection to the main plot of Wooding’s arch, fun SFF series (ideal for anyone missing Firefly). But Slag entertains, and often offers a perspective—especially in his popular POV chapters—that illuminates the situation of the crew in ways that feel refreshing and unobtrusively informative in ways that no other character could achieve.
A real cat! I actually like that better than (most) talking cats or (most) catlike beings. Also, saying a series would appeal to Firefly fans does make me feel like looking it up.
I know there are a LOT of SFF cats missing from this B&N list. But at the moment I can’t quite think of which cats are missing.
However, I know what possibly the weirdest cats ever in SFF might be: Mother Hutton’s Littul Kittons There’s a pdf version here.
Though of Cordwainer Smith’s cats, I liked the ones in “Game of Rat and Dragon” better. You can read that story here, if you’re interested.
Who’s your very favorite cat in SFF? Or — let’s open it up — in all of literature? Drop a cat in the comments, please!
11 thoughts on “The 25 best cats in SFF”
I am very surprised not to see Diane Duane’s Feline Wizards series on the list! It’s a spinoff of her MG/YA Young Wizards series for adults, starting with The Book of Night With Moon, about a Rhiow, a feline wizard, and the rest of her team as they try to keep Earth’s worldgates up and running- the concept might sound cheesy or weird but they are actually super great.
The griffons in your book make me laugh, because they are such cats. Someone just healed me? I think I’ll attack. Someone magically teleported into my camp? Not worth getting up. Humans are here? Did they bring food?
I always loved Narknon and the other hunting cats in Robin McKinley’s Damar books — all the loyalty and independence of the best house cats, PLUS she can feed you and keep you warm at night!
Taggle from Erin Bow’s PLAIN KATE seems like a serious omission!
I was happy to see Mogget and Lying Cat on the list, but where’s Faithful, from Tamora Pierce’s Alanna books?
Sandstone, I agree, I haven’t read those but they sound like cats are definitely front and center.
Mary Beth, yes, I particularly enjoyed Narknon begging for porridge. I’ve had cats with definite tastes for unsuitable people food too.
Maureen, good choice! I’d forgotten Taggle.
Lise, thanks for the link! Roughly a zillion cat stories listed there.
Sarah, I thought of Faithful, too. If being a god is disqualifying, why is Aslan on the list? If it’s not disqualifying, welll, there you go.
And Adam, thank you! Your comment made *me* laugh.
I’m not a cat (or dog) person, but just wanted to say I like the Ketty Jay series. It really is a similar flavour to Firefly, and has more heart than the characters want to let on.
Good to know! I think I really ought to try this series.*
*NOTE TO PUBLISHERS: I will not pay $12 for the first ebook of a series by a new-to-me author. Why are the first two books in the series $12 and the later books $8? Why is the ebook twice the price of the hardcover? Are you guys** crazy? I bought a used copy of the hardcover for $0.01 plus shipping and handling, which you’ll note is exactly as easy for me as paying more because Amazon displays all the prices in one place.
If I fall in love with this series, then *maybe* I will pay new-book prices and maybe not.
** This is Random House, btw
Andre Norton had a few, Sinbad was the ship’s cat in the Solar Queen series. In The Zero Stone and Uncharted Stars Eet was a cat-like creature whose mother was a ship’s cat.
If we are counting Cherryh’s Hani we should include Norton’s Salariki.