Purrfect #Kidlit: Super Cats -True Stories of Felines That Made History

For the Chinese Year of the Dog I created a list of children’s books about dogs, so let’s even things up by taking a look at the new middle grade book Super Cats: True Stories of Felines That Made History by Elizabeth Macleod.

After a brief introduction to how cool cats are, Elizabeth MacLeod delves into the history of cats, including how cats were treated as gods in ancient Egypt. Next she explores cultures that considered cats to be bad luck versus cultures that considered cats to be good luck.

In addition to being popular pets, cats can be much more. The author reveals some true stories of cat heroism, such as a cat famous for tracking down fish smugglers, two cats that detected electronic bugs in a Dutch embassy in Russia, and therapy cats that save lives. She also has some stories about how cats inspired their owners, from sparks from his cat’s fur motivating Nikola Tesla to study electricity, to composers stimulated to write cat-themed music.

Intermixed with the stories are interesting facts about cats, for example how far they can leap or tidbits about different breeds.

Some parts involve a frank look at death and dying. The book has photographs of cats catching mice, a lion attacking water buffalo, and a cat mummy. The author suggests that superstitions against cats in Europe from the 1300s to 1700s may have made the Black Death plague much worse because removing cats allowed mice and rat populations to explode. (The Black death is carried by rodent fleas.) One of the prominent inspirational stories is about Oscar the cat who seems to be able to predict or detect when the patients in the nursing home are about to die.

Most of the illustrations are cute cats like this one.

On the other hand,  most of the stories are heartwarming. Who can’t feel their blood pressure lowering when they read about cat cafés where patrons enjoy interacting with cats, or bookstore and library cats who nap among the books?

Super Felines is a “purrfect” choice for young cat owners and others who would like to learn more about these amazing animals. Cuddle up with a copy today!

Activity Suggestions

1. Writing prompt:  Write your own story about a cat.

For example:  Have you ever been adopted by a cat?

If you’ve ever had a cat, you know how they creep into your lives. At the shop where my son worked, the employees didn’t know they needed a cat, but a stray black and white female realized that they had an opening in their lives and decided to adopt them. Soon after her arrival, she had all the guys who work there at her beck and call. They were wrangled into giving her food, changing her litter box, and providing a warm lap now and then. Now she is the queen of the shop.

In another example, even though the book says the Bourke Police Department in New South Wales, Australia took in a stray cat they named PC Splashe, we know that instead PC Splashe adopted the police department.

2. Listen to some cat-inspired music such as Kitten on the Keys by Zez Confrey.


Age Range: 8 – 11 years
Publisher: Annick Press (March 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1554519934
ISBN-13: 978-1554519934

Disclosure: This book was from our local library. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.