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I Am a Cat (I am a Cat)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  3,300 ratings  ·  304 reviews
I am a cat. As yet I have no name.

So begins one of the most original and unforgettable works in Japanese literature.

Richly allegorical and delightfully readable, I Am a Cat is the chronicle of an unloved, unwanted, wandering kitten who spends all his time observing human nature - from the dramas of businessmen and schoolteachers to the foibles of priests and potentates. Fr
Paperback, 470 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Tuttle Publishing (first published 1905)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I've been a cat now for what seems like an eternity. If anyone asks you what it's like to be a cat, hand them a copy of the book and walk rapidly away. Reading the book has been a lot like having a cat as a pet -- occasionally delightful, sometimes insightful, and frequently annoying.

I Am a Cat was written by Japanese author Soseki Natsume at the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s. It's a gentle satire told from the point of view of a household cat in the home of a teacher of modes
Jul 09, 2009 Kimley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Tosh
"I've had enough of being farted at by weasels and crippled with side-swipes from the fishmonger's pole"

I feel your pain Rickshaw Blacky. I feel your pain!


This book is best read with a nice fat cat curled up in your lap purring away... while you are fidgeting, ever so slightly so as not to disturb the cat but attempting to figure out how to comfortably read since the cat is sleeping precisely where you would usually rest this nearly 500 page tome. The cat is sitting there thinki
Cinque stelle perché nonostante non ci sia praticamente azione e l’intera vicenda abbia il setting di un unico quartiere, le quattrocento e passa pagine del romanzo scorrono via in maniera estremamente piacevole e divertente. C’è un’ironia che non credevo familiare alla letteratura orientale (di cui peraltro non ho mai letto niente, quindi era solo un pregiudizio) e un inaspettato ma continuo riferimento alla cultura occidentale: mi sono stupita di sentir parlare di greci, romani, inglesi da un ...more
"I am a cat" is a "slow-reading" book. There's not much action in it and it's all about the cat's opinion on everything: especially people. It actually speaks, in a very particular way, of mediocrity. The cat describes the routine of its master, a japanese man that teaches english in 1904 Japan, and the way he deals with life. The descriptions are very rich and the references to other works are diverse and intriguing, compelling you to know more about japanese classic literature. All things cons ...more
I Am A Cat is a book that I can read over and over and over again wiothout getting bored.

In turns humorous, literate and brilliantly ahead of it's time, the original Japanese is translated extremely well by the team and the humour and comical restraint of the Japanese original text is expertly done, nonchalantly doing the job of making a good book open to a deservedly wider audience.

The book does go on a bit at times, but that is perfectly in keeping with the central conceit of observing and an
I Am a Cat is a long book full of wordplay, complicated farcical sequences, obscure cultural references, long philosophical digressions and obtuse allusions to Chinese literature. It reminds me in parts of P.G. Wodehouse, Monty Python, Studio Ghibli films and Roald Dahl. Our lovable narrator is an unnamed cat lounging around a Tokyo household in the early years of the 20th century. We learn a lot about feline behaviour but this is mostly a book about people; the cat is always listening, and judg ...more
Marco Volpe
Noioso, logorroico, privo di qualsiasi interesse sebbene l'idea del libro non era per niente male. Un gatto che racconta in chiave filosofica fatti ed episodi che avvengono all'interno della casa in cui vive.
Il problema è che qui di filosofia ce n'è troppa ed è pure giapponese. Inoltre, la filosofia felina lascia troppo spesso il passo ai dialoghi lenti, pesanti e assolutamente insignificanti dei protagonisti umani. Discorsi che, alla fine, non porteranno assolutamente a nulla.
Poteva essere ac
Read on the airplane.

A humorous and very feline book. One of the quirks of translation is that the word 'I' in the title refers to a word which in Japanese is reserved for nobility - such is the nature of cats.

It's long and meandering, a bit dull at times - but the tone is distinctive, and remains uniquely catlike. When you hear the word 'my master', you almost think as though he's laughing at it.

The ending is abrupt, but one might think that the author simply ran out of ideas, and ended it ther
Joe Rogel
I had issues rating this classic so low because it truly is a classic, but I rate purely on the amount of enjoyment I receive from a book, not on historical impact, and so the evaluation stands.

A collection of anecdotes told from the perspective of an ordinary albeit extremely intelligent house cat, it has its moments but there's nothing too captivating here. For its time, having a cat as a narrator was a unique approach, but what was creative and revolutionary then has lost its novelty under t
Maria Grazia
Solo un gatto può essere così curioso, scanzonato, acuto e imprevedibile nello scandagliare e descrivere l'incoerenza, la boria e la saccenza umane.
Siamo nel giappone moderno, e il gatto si destreggia tra un padrone dispeptico e nevrotico, la sua famiglia scalcinata e gli amici, ciascuno dei quali rappresenta una variante della stessa perfetta balordaggine.
Ma alla fine il gatto è un gatto, e, come spesso succede ai gatti, sarà la stua stessa curiosità a perderlo, eppure, come il Budda, troverà l
Jie Hao
amazing and ridiculous in equal venture, this book possesses surprising foresight for something written in 1906. supposedly a satirical take on japanese society during the meiji period, some of the observations hold true for humankind as a whole. some of the ideas that intrigued me in the book:
Nobody at all, not even Alexander the Great or Napoleon, has ever felt satisfied with his or her conquests. Take a more homespun case. You meet a man, you take a scunner to him, you get into a quarrel, yo
Cleverly narrated from the point of view of a very intelligent and observant feline, but far too long. I enjoyed it for the first hundred pages or so, but afterwards it started to get awfully boring.
John Pappas
Any flaws this comic novel has have to do with pacing, and structure (and this is largely due to how the tale was originally conceived and eventually published) -- the characters are used brilliantly to expose the foibles of a schoolteacher, his friends and neighbors in Meiji era Japan. Seen through the eyes of a curmudgeonly cat, as these these characters wrestle with the changing times and increasing Western influence, they struggle to discover what is of enduring value. Their adventures in se ...more
Paul Heaton
'I am a Cat' is the the first of Natsume's "major works", and if this had been the first book of his I'd read, I regret to say it would've probably been my last. Natsume's wit and insight shine within a concisely written story. Here, the author keeps adding lengthy, indulgent, meandering chapters to his original short story, seemingly without any idea of how it would be read as a whole.

The original premise of cat's observations of his master and cohorts has its initial, amusing moments. But whe
Amusing anecdotes "told" by a cat who thinks his master is a fool, but nonetheless tries to help him because the master has taken him in. The cat relates conversations between his master, a school teacher, and the master's friends. The themes are endless--religion, women, food, politics, education, clothing, etc.-- and point out the foibles of individuals and society. The author was much influenced by British writers, in particular, Laurence Sterne, so the tone and sense of humor are readily acc ...more
Recomendadísimo :)
Cuenta la vida de un gato en casa de un maestro japonés... desde el punto de vista del gato, claro está. Las reflexiones gatunas y humanas que va exponiendo son geniales. Además, tiene muchas situaciones desternillantes, y otras tantas muy interesantes para pensar sobre ellas.
Es un libro para leerlo con calma y disfrutarlo a ratos (si te lo intentas leer del tirón sólo cogerás un empacho), y desde luego, para mí ha sido una de las mejores lecturas de este año.
I've bought this book when the first Brazilian translation came out some years ago, but set it aside until 2011. Unfortunately, I can't say that I was impressed by it.

Written by Natsume Sōseki back in 1905, Wagahai-wa neko-de aru tells the story of a cat who views the society which surrounds his Japanese master with great sardonic eyes. He mocks all and everyone, exposing their superficiality and futility disguised as knowledge.

The main problem with this book is its length. The whole thing cons
Filled with the clever wit one would expect from a feline protagonist, and complete with all embellishment of Japanese pride, which I gather was the integral theme. Like a cat, we rarely stray from the house, but instead examine in depth the tiny world of one family in one room.

Natsume certainly loves his tangents, from gross exaggerations like comparing a baseball team to "an army poised for war", to frankly befuddling statements such as "with careless care, he...". I have an inkling that the
Reading this 470-page novel by Natsume Soseki was undeniably tough and its readers' concentration reasonably required. I didn't think I'd finish reading within a definite plan since I've usually regarded my reading, especially in search of enjoyment and consolation from some novels by my favorite authors, as something I can keep going whenever I want to. This idea might look boring to some readers, however, I found reading his biography and some of his shorter works like his "The Tower of London ...more
Silvia Liotta
In un giorno come tanti una cucciolata di gattini miagola in cerca della mamma, uno di loro
viene raccolto ed abbandonato in un campo di bambù accanto ad un fiume. Questo gatto è stato
fortunato: la sua vita è salva dalla crudeltà dell'uomo che voleva gettarlo nelle acque
fredde del fiume. Spaurito e affammato il Gatto inizia a vagare alla ricerca di qualcuno che
lo possa aiutare. Per caso si ritroverà nel giardino della casa del professore Kushami
ed è
lì che troverà riparo. Inizia così l'avventura
Libro che stazionava da ben 5 anni sulla mia libreria, ai tempi iniziato e abbandonato dopo poche pagine.

Questa volta l’approccio è andato sicuramente meglio. Primo, non aspettarsi che il libro parli di un gatto e delle sue peripezie. Il gatto è un alter ego dell’autore usato per parlarci degli umani, dei rapporti che intercorrono tra loro e della società giapponese che via via si sta occidentalizzando. Il romanzo è stato pubblicato nel 1905 ma l’ho trovato molto attuale rispetto a una certa cri
Matteo Pellegrini
Siamo verso la fine dell' epoca Meiji, in cui, dopo la caduta dell'ultimo Shogun Tokugawa e la restaurazione del potere nelle mani dell'imperatore, il Giappone ha cominciato ad aprirsi all'occidente importando usi e costumi sino ad allora sconosciuti.
Ed è in questa ambientazione, dove tradizione e modernità convivono in uno strano stato di fusione e contrasto che si svolgono le vicende narrate
dal punto di vista di un gatto, ed è proprio giocando su questo che Soseki ci fa uno spaccato della vit
Nesa Sivagnanam
While the tale is told through a cat’s lens, the story is more about humans than the cat. Given that one must accept that cats are more intelligent and knowledgeable than humans, the cat’s observations are spot on, and despite the era in which it was written, I Am a Cat is both fresh and modern, as if it had been penned yesterday.

As the book opens, the unnamed feline begins with: “I am a cat. As yet I have no name. I’ve no idea where I was born.” The cat’s owner is a teacher who regards the cat
Scott Wojtalik-courter
This book has very little to do with cats. It is from the point of view of a house cat in a Japanese home at the turn of the 19th century. It is very satirical and therefore often appears to be plodding rather than plotful (to coin a phrase). If you are looking for amusing anecdotes that involve the differences between cats and people or cute stories about cats, they are not here. Occasionally the author takes you into the cat's world, but it is always to show the world of people, with their idi ...more
Más de 600 cuartillas de la historia de un inteligente gato y su crítica a la sociedad japonesa de inicios del siglo XX, ¿qué más locura por los felinos?

No sólo describe vivencias del gato (las cuales son contadas a detalle) si no que, la crítica a los humanos con los que conviven es puntual y a pesar de tener más de un siglo, sigue vigente.

La posición económica, intelectual, la crisis de salud, la relación hombre-mujer, la hipocresía, el individualismo, etc, es narrado a través de la crítica m
The feline protagonist's observations are at times uproarious, but he (along with the unbelievably long-winded human crowd in the book) starts to really wear on you after a couple hundred pages. I'm also not sure what's quite up with the translation. Like other reviews have noted, it's stilted and has some unbelievably bizarre phrases that no sane editor should've vetted. I think the translators might have tried too hard to capture the original text's level of formality, which I can only assume ...more
Maybe I'm completely missing the plot in some way, but I'm finding it somewhat of a drag. The premise is interesting, the p.o.v. is great, but I've struggled through 250 pages so far and still I don't get that rush of longing to drop everything else I'm doing and picking up my book. I'm reading just to read as it stands and to be honest, that's not great.
P.S. At time of completion I can think of one redeeming factor: it is a potent cure for insomnia if anything at all......I'm annoyed I put in t
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Per un amante delle piccole tigri domestiche quattrocentocinquanta e oltre pagine di gattitudine zen non sono neanche tante. Lo dico in anticipo: questa è una recensione di parte!

L'unica mancanza di questo gatto saggio è già scritta nel titolo: non ha nome, perciò ognuno può riconoscere nel suo sguardo, che segue le vicende narrative come una steadycam - solo un po' più bassa -, il proprio punto di vista...

Continua su
John Rouse
Soseki's satirical but humorous novel about Japan's wanton adoption of western values during the Meiji period is a pleasure to read. Available in English only since 1972 it is narrated through the eyes of a high school professor's pet but nameless cat. Soseki was an admirer of Chinese as well as European literature and read widely. He also spent two years in England and upon his return to Japan in 1903. No doubt Kafka's novel Metamorphosis may have well given him the idea.
Soseki Natsume was bo
Pip  Rabbit
Mar 17, 2014 Pip Rabbit rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any person, really
Recommended to Pip by: no one
I started this book with the hope to learn a bit about Japan culture. I found much more than that.

This book has a lot of great points, to wit:

--> The narrator, of course. You do hear a cat's voice throughout the novel, the personality, both haughty and a idle, matches with the common behaviour of a domestic cat. He tries to make a thorough study of humans nature - only he doesn't pick the most appropriate sample.

--> The humor. In particular, his owner and his surroundings are a collection
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Mortigi Tempo: I Am a Cat — Natsume Sōseki 64 24 Jul 11, 2013 05:10AM  
  • Some Prefer Nettles
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Natsume Sōseki was the pen name of Natsume Kinnosuke, who is widely considered to be the foremost Japanese novelist of the Meiji Era (1868–1912). He is commonly referred to as Sōseki. He is best known for his novels Kokoro, Botchan, I Am a Cat and his unfinished work Light and Darkness. He was also a scholar of British literature and composer of haiku, Chinese-style poetry, and fairy tales. From 1 ...more
More about Natsume Sōseki...

Other Books in the Series

I am a Cat (2 books)
  • I am a Cat II
  • I am a Cat III
Kokoro Botchan Sanshirō The Three-Cornered World The Gate

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“Living as I do with human beings, the more that I observe them, the more I am forced to conclude that they are selfish.” 23 likes
“He is totally abandoned in the way he buys book after book, never to read a single one. I wouldn't mind if he used his head and bought in moderation, but no. Whenever the mood takes him, he ambles off to the biggest bookshop in the city and brings back home as many books as chance to catch his fancy. Then, at the end of the month, he adopts an attitude of complete detachment.” 20 likes
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