How does cat mind control work? All the cats I have served have managed to control me very well. It must be the steady stare, the posing or is it all in the cat’s mind. Maybe there is a sentient pretending to be a cat or maybe cats are just empathic, telepathic beings; cats are magic.
Is it the cat’s mind that holds our imaginations? Science fiction writers and readers often seem be entranced by them.
Lloyd Alexander’s “Chronicles of Prydain”
Cats have very flexible spines that can be elongated or compressed. Maybe this is why Llyan, from Lloyd Alexander’s “Chronicles of Prydain” was so successfully enlarged when Glew, a rather small person, experimented with a growth hormone to recreate himself. Fortunately for Llyan she was outside his cave while he, still inside, was now too large to escape and was trapped!
The larger, enhanced Llyan became an important part of the saga. She often became the mount of the bard, Fflewddur, discovering an cursed dwarf, helping to thwart the evil wizard, rescuing the companions, fighting their foes and then retiring to the “Summer Country” to live and listen to the bard play his harp.
Perhaps this behaviour connecting Llyan to Fflewddur was due to the similarities between the feline and human emotion regions in the brain. Or perhaps it’s all fantasy!
This series of books is a favourite of mine, read many times over. From my informal research over time I have found many people who feel the same way. Both teenagers and adults read and reread these for their enjoyment.
Paul Gallico’s “Jennie”
“Jennie” was one of the first books I read, many years ago, with a cat heroine. The book was published in the USA as “The Abandoned” (I have always wondered why book and movie names have to change on what seems to be a whim).
While this book may not be considered a fantasy in the modern sense, the events were imaginary.
Jennie befriends Peter, a victim of a hit and run driver. He recovers as a cat and Jennie guides him through the city. I remember when I read it I was most disappointed when Peter regains consciousness and is once again a boy. And poor Jennie, who worked so well with him, became a mystery.
If you are owned by a cat many of Jennie’s traits will be very familiar to you. For example, as Jennie taught Peter, “When in doubt, wash”! Who among we cat friends hasn’t seen this behaviour?
Alan Dean Foster’s “Cat-a-Lyst”
Cats who guard the earth; well why not? Anyone who has lived with a cat knows how good they are at coming and going. So where do they go? Maybe they consult with each other on how well or poorly we humans are doing at our job of living on earth.
These aliens, posing as cats, guide people and plants in saving the world from Incas from another place in space and time.
My research has unearthed claims from some that one character in particular annoyed them in this tale. It has been a while since I read it but I believe I managed to skim this character and the underlying story was quite entertaining.
Tanya Huff’s “The Keepers”
Tanya Huff’s Keeper series is a marvellous, light hearted fantasy read. People looking for really serious fantasy or humour likely won’t appreciate it. However when you need relief from high stress work or intense reading these books are great fun. Tanya Huff is one of my favourite authors. I actually have quite a few favourite authors!
There are several characters in the books but Austin the talking cat with attitude is just so sarcastic, cynical, arrogant, caustic, wise, and know it all. What do you say? Isn’t that just like a cat! This cat is one cool fantasy cat who talks too much and he (although he has lost his manhood) is just hysterical and has great lines and antics.
Gayle Greeno’s “The Ghatti’s Tale”
A tale of the lifelong bonded partnership formed between human healers who empathically bond with telepathic catlike ghatti.
These pairs can truth-read minds and emotions, an ability that disconcerts many with hidden agendas. This section of humanity would dearly like to destroy this bond and remove the threat to reveal their hidden secrets.
One pair, Doyce and Khar the ghatti, set out to disentangle the conspiracy that results.
The saga contains many twists and turns with people who have the ability to control minds by reading them, turning these victims into zombie like slaves (albeit still alive).
Meanwhile Doyce and Khar explore the past to find an answer to stop the devastating conspiracy.
The three books are an enjoyable read and my only regret is that my copies are packed away until our new house is built. Then I can reread them (again)!
Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland
And who can forget the wonderful Cheshire cat.
Alice is often frustrated by the cavalier manner of the mysterious cat who talks to her sporadically and often in amusing or vexing or philosophical language.
His calling card is the head with the big “Cheshire cat grin” and no body. Or sometimes a body and head that slowly disappears!
Jim Butcher’s “The Dresden Files”
Mister is Harry Dresden’s extremely large tomcat who, most likely courtesy of a dog, lacked a tail. Harry found him as a kitten and like most things Dresden, Mister grew to gigantic proportions. He doesn’t suffer fools lightly but loves his food bowl. Mouse believes that, unless he is travelling the night, his time is best spent in rest unless Harry opens the cat food.
He also lords it over Mouse, a temple dog, who adopted Harry when he was a pup. As a Dresden thing Mouse also grew to an enormous size.
Mister often and with demonstrated reluctance at times houses the spirit of Bob. Bob sneaks around gathering intelligence for Harry and viewing sorority parties and women’s’ events! Now that sounds like the start of a horror story. Poor Mister and Bob.
My cat Oscar and my sister’s cat, Mordechai, both very large tabby cats, put me in mind of Mister. Tough, arrogant and very appealing when they wanted something. And certainly “Lording” it over everyone else!
And into the future
While going through my vast record of books I own and the internet researching this topic I was amazed at the number of science fiction and fantasy cat tales I have never heard of let alone read. So it looks like I can look forward to years more reading!
To keep harmony I will now do the review of my books and the net again to find the dogs who have featured in science fiction and fantasy.
To allow easy access to science fiction and fantasy books of all available types I am putting landing links in that land on the site on one of the books contained in each post. From these sites you can explore the online companies to your leisure. Most of the books noted here can be found through Booktopia in Australia.
I would really like comments on this site as it will always be a work in progress. The goal I am working towards is to create an enjoyable website for people who love and are addicted to fantasy and science fiction. Your positive comments will certainly help me achieve this.