charles bukowski

Book Review - On Cats


On Cats is a collection of short stories and poems written by German-American author Charles Bukowski, all of which have something to do with cats. Although Bukowski is often regarded as tough and gnarly, he considered cats to be special creatures—something that I can certainly relate to as well.

The cats featured in this book are amusing, touching, resilient, and much more. As Bukowski puts it, "The cat is the beautiful devil." He pays tribute to their abilities as predatory hunters, street-smart scrappers, and resourceful survivors, as well as their positive qualities like providing affection and care for their owners. However, this is not exclusively a cutesy book about cats. The cats featured in this book are shown sneakily stalking their prey, stabbing their claws into Bukowski's typewritten pages as they walk across his work, and defending themselves viciously against the other neighborhood cats.

This was the first book that I've read of Bukowski's, and I very much enjoyed it. It's a quick read (it only took me a few days to complete) and it's about my favorite domestic animal. I especially appreciated how similar his cats were to his own personality, almost as if they had attracted each other with a strong magnet. If you appreciate cats (or even if you don't—Bukowski's cats run the full gamut of lovable all the way to loathsome) then you should check this one out.

4/5 stars. 128 pages.