A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Book Review: Cats on Film

Cats on Film, by Anne Billson

Today we are pleased to bring you our review of a book we have been wanting to read for months: Cats on Film, by Anne Billson. If you love movies and cats, and movies with cats, we think you’ll love this look into a selection of cat films that, unless you are some kind of super film buff, will surely introduce you to some movies you’ve never seen, and maybe some you’ve never heard of.

If you think about it, cats don’t always play the same role in movies. We’d never considered that before, but now that Billson has pointed it out, it’s rather obvious. Cats can be heroes, villains, or companions, or they can provide simple scares by jumping out at someone. They can play multiple roles in a single film. Sometimes the cat appears only during the film’s credits. Billson divides cats’ roles into 12 categories and lists several relevant films in each. Some of these films you’ve surely heard of even if you haven’t seen them; others, especially the foreign titles, may be unfamiliar. The films in which cats play a major role are marked as “Major Cat Films,” useful if you’re not that interested in watching two hours of movie for just 30 seconds of cat.

One thing we really appreciated was Billson’s warning at the beginning of the “Catrifice” chapter, which discusses films in which cats are mistreated or killed. “Sensitive cat lovers may wish to skip this section,” she advises—and we did skip it, except for making note of the titles in it so we’ll be warned ahead of time before watching any of those films, if we watch them at all.

Jones, from Alien (1979)
Jones the cat in Alien (1979).
Not every section is a straight-up discussion of a film. One of our favorite parts was “My Day, by Jones,” a sort of diary entry allegedly penned by Jones, the excellent cat in Alien. In this description of the film’s events as seen from his point of view, the cat refers to the alien as “the hairless kitten” and later as “the giant killer-kitten.” Old SoLT found this terribly funny. We also loved the postscript discussing the White Cat of Evil you may know from James Bond films.

Billson provides interesting behind-the-scenes information, some of which might make you think differently about certain movies. For example, The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986) may be the cute story of a ginger kitten and a pug, but there are allegations (unverified, as far as we know) that several kittens died during its making. Additionally, the film’s makers put real cats in terrifying and dangerous situations. That was enough for us to scratch this movie off our list of things to watch. On the other paw, we learned that the famous Morris the Cat reportedly played Philip Marlowe’s cat in The Long Goodbye (1973), so this movie goes on our list.

We came away from reading Cats on Film with a long list of films that we are eager to watch. Many of them are classics that we didn’t even realize included cats, and we even added some foreign titles—usually not our thing, but if it’s a cat movie, we’ll give it a try. Our list includes a Korean ghost story, some anime, and French and other European films. Now we just have to find them all.

Be warned that this book includes graphic language (F-bombs and sexual language), mostly within quotes from films.

Cats on Film is a book that is both enjoyable and useful. We raced through it, staying up late to read about “just one more movie.” If you enjoy cats and movies even half as much as we do, we think you’ll enjoy this book. We read the Kindle version of Cats on Film, but the much pricier print version is going on our Christmas list. From what we’ve seen of the “Look inside” previews on Amazon, the print version has more pictures in it. Also, this is a book we know we are going to turn to again and again, and that’s the sort of thing we prefer to have in print. So if your budget will accommodate the print book, that is the version we recommend getting--and yes, we do recommend this book!

Two Paws Up! A Great Read

A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!

The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the book through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!


  1. This book is a must-have! Thanks for reviewing it, and I'll skip that chapter too.
    Here's a website about cats in movies: http://www.cinemacats.com/

  2. This sounds good except for that one chapter.

  3. Wow, she really seems to have covered everything in this book! How great to have a heads up about the movies we'd want to avoid.
    I learned the hard way that reference books like this are much better in print than on Kindle. It's really hard to flip back and find things on a media device!