Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “It's Like This, Cat” as Want to Read:
It's Like This, Cat
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

It's Like This, Cat

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  6,444 ratings  ·  401 reviews
The Newbery-winning classic novel about a young New Yorker who figures out the world on his own terms with the help of one prickly tomcat, for readers who enjoy such books as Al Capone Does My Shirts and Hoot.

Dave Mitchell and his father disagree on almost everything—and every time their fighting sets off his mother’s asthma, Dave ends up storming out of the house. But wh
Paperback, 176 pages
Published by HarperCollins (first published 1963)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about It's Like This, Cat, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Shannon Fay some people.

you probably shouldn't use goodreads to do your homework.
I'm sure if you even skimmed the book, you could figure this out on your own.…more
some people.

you probably shouldn't use goodreads to do your homework.
I'm sure if you even skimmed the book, you could figure this out on your own.(less)
Lucas Yes. This book is a delight, and remains a very excellent and enjoyable book. The illustrations are a nice touch, but it's the story that gets you.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,444 ratings  ·  401 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of It's Like This, Cat
Rebecca McNutt
This is one of the most inspiring middle-grade fiction novels I've ever read. First published in 1969, It's Like This, Cat has a cat in it, but the story isn't about just a cat. It's about a boy who learns the value of friendship and how to understand his dysfunctional family even when he doesn't want to.
Jan 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Laurie, Constance
I resisted reading this book, because I retain a childhood prejudice against books with male narrators, and I still don't really like kids' books about animals. (It's not really THAT much about animals.) But I forced myself to read a chapter, and then another chapter, and then realized I was actually enjoying it!...

It's kind of a strange book for a Newbery winner--it skews quite a bit older than most, for one thing, and it doesn't have a typical structure--although maybe that's what caught the c
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery
Dave, a 14 year old boy in NYC, brings home a cat. But also, he runs all around the city alone and with friends. Meets a girl, meets a guy just a little older but who is essentially homeless and estranged from his family. Just some adventures in the late 60s, things that I don't think would happen the same way these days. Also, he took $9 with him when he took Cat to get fixed.

Newbery winner, 1964
Winner of the 1964 Newbery Medal.

It's not your typical children's story; it has a grown up feel to it. It's set in New York City in the mid 20th century, back when parents let their young kids roam all over, seemingly without worry. It's the story of young Davey and his formerly stray cat named Cat. His tales of urban adventures are actually quite entertaining. And it's a good look back at New York City as it was in the 60's.
doug bowman
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
Like finding twenty bucks in a pair of pants, I was elated when I came across a free copy of “It’s Like This Cat, by Emily Neville. It is one of those elemental books from my childhood, which had kind of recessed in my memory.

I read this novel when I was in 5th or 6th grade and I was very much aware that its themes were more mature and real-world than the sports books that made up most of my reading. This book really helped turn me into a more discerning reader, and even at that early age, I cou
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
First recent read: I can see why this book confused me as a child...a New
York apartment setting (do people live in apartments? why don't they have a house?) eighteen
year old boy who is homeless (where are the boy's parents?)...young teenagers who wander
around a big city (isn't that dangerous?)...a girl whose mother is a beatnik (what in the world is that?)
This world was totally outside of my experiences as a ten year old girl in small town Texas.

Second recent read: Dave and his dad fight
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for Children's Group February 2020.

It reads like historical fiction now. Think of all that roaming about the city this 14 yo boy did. And the girl, Mary, too. And encyclopedias, no internet, no portable phone. Public schools perceived as good enough for a lawyer's son.

But I can see why I didn't care for it when I was young. I certainly didn't understand the friendship with Mary... was she special, or not? ... all I knew about love was like my parents or like in fairy tales, and it never o
Feb 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery, children-s
"My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat." (p.1) So starts the story of NYC kid and resident wise guy Dave Mitchell. It's 1963 and Dave is just hanging around the neighborhood, negotiating friendships and trying to stay out of trouble.

But trouble seems to find him. First comes the big tom cat that Dave gets from the local cat lady. "Aunt Kate" takes in all kinds of cats, and some of the kids make fun of her, but Dave likes to
As part of My Big Fat Reading Project, after I have finished reading the top 10 bestsellers of a given year, I go through the award winners. As of 1964 there were only six major awards given in the United States. These days there are scores of them.

It's Like This, Cat won the Newbery Award in 1964, given for the best writing for readers aged 8 to 12. Up until 1963 this award favored historical fiction and some rather dull "improving" type stories. 1963 was a breakout year for the Newbery when M
Lisa Vegan
I first read this book when I was 10 years old and on a train ride from California to New York. Interesting children’s coming of age novel written first person by a 14 year old New York city boy (who becomes attached to a stray cat – hence the title of the book). Accurate descriptions of New York city of the early 1960s. It was unusual for me to enjoy a book with a male protagonist back then, but I loved this book. What I remember most, was how the boy, Dave, would make cold spaghetti sandwiches ...more
Tabi  (ᕗツ)ᕗ
Jul 25, 2019 marked it as to-read
this title is how I start every sentence to my fluff demon when she demands more food in her already full dish

"It's like this, cat, that you got what you got and you ain't getting any more 'til it's gone"

Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yes, it deserved the award. IT'S LIKE THIS, CAT is a kids' novel from the Sixties that still sells well today. A pre-adolescent, inner-city youth gradually steps out of his rut, meeting a health-food "nut" and hooking up with paid modeling. Written entirely from his point of view, very vivid and heartfelt. So much so that IT'S LIKE THIS, CAT earned author Emily Neville the Newberry Award in 1964. Followed by Berries Goodman (1965), in which the celebrated author tackled anti-Semitism in suburbia ...more
Brandon Miller
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sweet and salty. True to life of growing up around friends and parents. Very little to do with cats, actually. Lots to do with humans.
Manuel Alfonseca
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals
ENGLISH: This is the third time I have read this book. The Cat in the title serves as a catalyst that joins other people together: Dave, the 14-year-old teen-age narrator; his parents; Kate the Cat Lady; Mary, "the first girl I can talk to like a real person;" and Tom, the maladjusted boy without a family and no perspectives, who makes Dave begin to understand his father.

ESPAÑOL: Esta es la tercera vez que leo este libro. El Gato del título es un catalizador que une a otras personas: Dave, el na
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Holy smokes, this book is dated! It's a nostalgic, but not cloying story of a 14 year old boy, his parents, neighbors, and friends. The cat is basically a prop to get the story going. For modern kids it will sound like historical fiction - record players? Harry Belafonte? Beatniks? People who think that spaying/neutering their pets is cruel? But it's a quick read and older elementary age readers should enjoy it.
Aj Sterkel
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
The Good: This is a highly realistic coming-of-age story. Dave and his father have a complicated relationship. Both of them are loud, sarcastic, and opinionated. They do things to purposely annoy each other. When Dave’s father tells him to get a dog, he gets a cat. Cat becomes the catalyst (haha, see what I did there?) for big changes in Dave’s life. As he drags Cat around New York City, he reevaluates old friendships and forms new ones. Cat helps him learn that life involves difficult choices, ...more
Greta is Erikasbuddy
Alright Alright Alright... this book is dated. Like 51 years old! But you know what? I really liked it!

It's about a 14 year old boy named David.

If this book was written today... David would be 17 years old, one parent would be out of the picture, and he'd be a misunderstood rich kid.


In this book, David acts like a normal kid, likes to make friends, has a cat because his neighbor is a cat lady and he thought the cat was cool, he likes to listen to records, and he fights with his Dad.

Now, if
Phil Jensen
Nov 09, 2012 rated it liked it
True story:

I read this book on my own and fell in love with the beach scene. He goes months without seeing the girl, then finally the day comes around, the weather's bad, he goes anyway, she's standing there facing the sea with her hair blowing in the wind. It's a great image, and it blinded me to everything else that was wrong in the book.

My wife had a crazy delivery with our first child that resulted in me being out of school for 2 1/2 weeks. I left about two days after starting this as a read
Benji Martin
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
It’s like this cat has the best opening line of any Newbery I’ve read so far, even the famous ‘Dark and stormy” line from Wrinkle in Time. “My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat.” Genius, right? I knew right then that I was going to enjoy this one,and I did. I really related to Dave. I too grew up in a house with an attorney father who liked to argue. Luckily, I had a brother who did most of the arguing back. The tone was ir ...more
Lee Peckover
Honestly, I wanted to love this book. I really did. I wanted it to be like a 'Catcher in the Rye' for a slightly younger audience. I had heard it was that kind of style with a narrator that had a bit of edge but in a book now slightly dated.

The book sounded perfect for the topic our year 5 children do on America and modern history.

The book opens really well.. 'My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy.
This is one reason I got a cat.' really is a fantastic open
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
~Anything a cat does, he does only when he wants to. I like that. ~

This is a book about a teenage boy who is learning about himself and the world, and the complexities of being human. He adopts a stray cat (or more like gets adopted by the Cat, which has a character that reminded me of James Dean). The story goes on in and around NY, before the terrorist attacks, the cyber-xyz, a time when people rode bikes and had real friends instead of tablets. Lovely book.

My son and I read this together some
I remember buying this book through the Scholastic book sales when I was a kid. Our teacher would pass out the order forms and I was allowed to buy a couple every month (thank you mom and dad for nurturing my love of reading). This was one of the selections I loved. Since libraries and bookstores are temporarily closed, a number of sites have posted books to read on-line for free. Imagine my delight to see this old gem listed. And I re-read it through an adult's eyes...

...and it holds up nearly
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This is your typical, slice-of-life sort of story. It's well-written and well-rounded, with enjoyable characters. It's a pretty leisurely, relaxing read, but lacks a clear character arc or plot. It's enjoyable, but not gripping, and all in all, wasn't my type of book.

My friend recommended this book for our book club. This book is actually their favorite book, so although I didn't love it as much as them, I can see why they love it so much. :) Here is the review I provided for them. Sorry if some
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
I enjoyed this, it was a bit simplistic, but, it's a fun little historical bit of NYC in what I assume is the 50's or 60's.
The character mostly reads believable and is a fun enough guy to hang out with for 180 pages or so. This book is really only partially about a cat.

While this may have been contemporary fiction when published, now I would recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction.

Not overly problematic, seems like a safe read for anyone.
Tara Charlton
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's kind of like The Catcher in the Rye, but for kids! I enjoyed it.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a major cat lover I enjoyed this book quite a bit, although I did find the ending a bit unsatisfying.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an interesting look at preteen life in 1964, New York. There were some funny parts, but overall it didn’t make a huge impression on me.
Steve Shilstone
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Pretty bland. Sort of like Dick of 'Dick and Jane' fame narrates his slightly more difficult early teen-age years. Puff morphs into a much tougher Cat.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
I absolutely LOVE this book! Read it multiple times as a kid and ran across a copy in donations. Enjoyed it even more this time. Love NYC and love cats so it's awesome!
Sophia Cha
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
it was fun to see how someones relationship with a cat was developed even though his dad wanted him to get a dog. i liked how he was showing his cat around the place like the cat was just a new kid in the city. while normally I wouldn't approve of cat pets but in this story it showed how much cats are great pets.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Shadow of a Bull
  • Up a Road Slowly
  • Hitty, Her First Hundred Years
  • Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women
  • Secret of the Andes
  • A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32
  • Rabbit Hill
  • M.C. Higgins, the Great
  • The Summer of the Swans
  • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
  • The Cat Who Went to Heaven
  • A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers
  • I, Juan de Pareja
  • The Trumpeter of Krakow
  • Adam of the Road
  • Thimble Summer
  • Miracles on Maple Hill
  • Onion John
See similar books…
Emily Cheney Neville, an American author of children's books, was born in Manchester, Connecticut in 1919 and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1940.
In 1963, she wrote her first book, "It's Like This, Cat", which was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1964.

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
17 likes · 0 comments