Cats I Have Known and Loved

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Who would have guessed that one of the great historian’s passions in life is cats? Over the course of his eighty-two years, and from his birthplace in Dawson City, Yukon, to his home in Kleinburg, Ontario, Berton has known and loved many cats. In this charming collection of stories, he has chosen his best cat tales to share with us.

Pierre Berton is a master storyteller, and his lyrical writing and sense of pacing and adventure enliven this collection, making it irresistible to any cat lover.

The book opens with the adventure of Pousse-Pousse, the cat with extra toes, who was carried off by a Great Horned Owl and, seven months later, reappeared at the door, bedraggled but alive. Pierre Berton’s first cat was Happy, a kitten the teenage Pierre spied in a pet store window “free to a good home.” It was Depression-era Victoria, and the Bertons barely had enough to feed themselves. Still, they kept Happy, and she produced scores of kittens over the years. There are stories of stray cats and “hobo cats,” beloved cartoon cats like Felix and Krazy Kat, and finally, “Rules for Guests,” which includes the following: “No discussion is so intense, no story so riveting, that it can’t be interrupted when a cat enters the room.”

This beautifully designed small-format gift book is illustrated with line drawings by Pierre Berton, photographs, and coloured endpapers.

From the Hardcover edition.


Cats are the ultimate survivors. They truly have nine lives, and they are careful to use them up sparingly. Once they have ceased to be kittens they are on their own and they know it. Their mother becomes a stranger, totally disinterested in their welfare. Their credo is simple: Look after number one!

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“Berton unleashes a mongrel collection of lively cat tales -- many amusing enough to hold readers who hate the hairball-spewing beasts.” -- Maclean’s

From the Hardcover edition.