The best non-fiction books for cat lovers

Who am I?

I am an international bestselling author of Strays and a London-based journalist for The Guardian, The Observer, The Sunday Times, and other publications. I've written about animals, conservation, and volunteered at sanctuaries around the world, from tending big cats and baboons in Namibia to wild mustangs in Nevada—a labour of love that has inspired features for The Guardian, The Independent, and Condé Nast Traveller. I've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for many charities through my investigative animal-cruelty stories; as an activist, I helped shut down controversial breeders of laboratory animals in the UK. I also created Catfestlondon, a sell-out boutique festival that rescues and rehomes Moroccan street kittens in the UK.


I wrote...

Strays: The True Story of a Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America

By Britt Collins,

Book cover of Strays: The True Story of a Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America

What is my book about?

Strays: A Lost Cat, a Homeless Man and their Journey Across America is a true story about a troubled drifter who finds a lost cat and takes her on a ten-month adventure across the spirit-lifting settings of the American West.

Michael King, a former chef, was depressed, drunk, and living on the streets of Portland. When stumbles on a hurt and starving stray, he takes her into his home in a UPS loading bay and into his heart. He names her Tabor and nurses her back to health. When winter comes, they hitchhike to the beaches of California, the deserts of Idaho, and the high-plains of Montana, surviving on the kindnesses of strangers. The pair become inseparable, healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts. Meanwhile, back in Portland, the cat’s owner never stops looking her.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Call of the Cats: What I Learned about Life and Love from a Feral Colony

Britt Collins Why did I love this book?

I absolutely loved this book. One of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read, it’s heartfelt and hilarious. After running his own bookshop in Seattle, Andrew Bloomfield moves to Hollywood to become a screenwriter and discovers a colony of feral cats living in his backyard. He was not a cat person. After witnessing one too many raccoon and coyote attacks and hungry, crying kittens, he and his two female housemates intervene and start caring for these wild yet vulnerable cats who transform his life. With his sharp wit and keen eye for detail, Bloomfield is a brilliant storyteller. I got completely caught up in the soap-opera dramas and death-defying moments of these cats, along with the heartaches and triumphs of rescuing them.

By Andrew Bloomfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Call of the Cats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When aspiring screenwriter Andrew Bloomfield moved into a bungalow in Southern California he soon discovered that he shared the property with a large colony of feral cats — untamed, uninterested in human touch, not purring pets in waiting. But after a midnight attack by predators that decimated yet another litter of kittens, Bloomfield decided to intervene. He began to name and nurse, feed and house, rescue and neuter. Drawing on his time living in Asia among spiritual teachers, he takes us on the contemplative, humorous, and poignant journey of saving these cats, only to find it was they who saved…


Book cover of The Puma Years: A Memoir

Britt Collins Why did I love this book?

This is essentially an exquisitely written love letter to a feisty wildcat Laura met at a Bolivian sanctuary. When I first picked up her captivating book, I was not only drawn by the stunning cover but because it resonated, since I’d been caring for big cats and other wild orphans at sanctuaries for years. She shares her story about her time working in a dilapidated wildlife refuge in the Amazon, set against a turbulent backdrop of deforestation and forest fires. Living in primitive conditions in the jungle with all its dangers, Laura forms enduring friendships with fellow volunteers and animals rescued from the pet trade. But it’s the bond she forms with a grumpy, traumatised puma who teaches her about love and healing and reshapes her life to become a dedicated activist. Part of the proceeds support Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi to continue its work protecting animals rescued from illegal trafficking.

By Laura Coleman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Puma Years as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this rapturous memoir, writer and activist Laura Coleman shares the story of her liberating journey in the Amazon jungle, where she fell in love with a magnificent cat who changed her life.

Laura was in her early twenties and directionless when she quit her job to backpack in Bolivia. Fate landed her at a wildlife sanctuary on the edge of the Amazon jungle where she was assigned to a beautiful and complex puma named Wayra. Wide-eyed, inexperienced, and comically terrified, Laura made the scrappy, make-do camp her home. And in Wayra, she made a friend for life.

They weren't…


Book cover of The Cat Who Came for Christmas

Britt Collins Why did I love this book?

Amory wrote this wildly entertaining read of his rescue of a stray he found sick and starving in a NYC alley on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1977. He named the white cat Polar Bear, a moody curmudgeon with one blue and one gold eye, who became his lifelong companion. The book spent 12 weeks at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list and sold over 10 million copies. Amory was a fierce and famous activist who helped Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society buy a boat to use in his fight against whaling and seal-hunting. In 1980 Amory founded the Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, a refuge for discarded and neglected animals, from cats, dogs, deer, horses to elephants, monkeys, and big cats. That same year, he spent over $500,000 to trap 582 burros and helicopter them out of the Grand Canyon to save these poor donkeys from being shot by the National Park Service. Touchingly, Amory was buried beside Polar Bear at his now-1,000-acre Black Beauty Ranch.

By Cleveland Amory,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cat Who Came for Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A cat charms its way into a curmudgeon's heart one hilarious holiday season in this "extraordinary" bestselling Christmas classic (Parade), the perfect gift for the animal lover in your life.
'Twas the night before Christmas when a bedraggled white feline entered the heart -- and home -- of Cleveland Amory. To say it is a friendly takeover is an understatement. For the cat who came for Christmas is clearly of the Independent Type, and Cleveland Amory, cranky or not, is a pushover where animals are concerned.
Toe to toe they stand -- Amory at six feet three, the cat at…


Book cover of Soul of a Lion: One Woman's Quest to Rescue Africa's Wildlife Refugees

Britt Collins Why did I love this book?

A beautifully told story about a Namibian family who created a real-life Noah’s Ark in the desert. Marieta van der Merwe and her late husband Nick turned their cattle ranch into a refuge for thousands of wounded or orphaned animals who can’t make it on their own in the wild. This book, full of wonder and gentle souls, has special meaning for me. I met Barbara Bennett, a North Carolina University literature professor, when I was sent to Namibia to write a story about Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary for the Guardian and we were both volunteering. Afterward, I introduced her to my New York literary agent who sold the book. It’s so vividly written that it allowed me to relive my experiences of daily mischief of the baboons, walking full-grown lions in the desert, sleeping with cheetahs under the stars, and watching the giant thunderstorms on the porch with a menagerie of cats and dogs. Part of the proceeds support the sanctuary, which at any one time has 1,000-plus residents.

By Barbara Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soul of a Lion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It chronicles the unique Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia, where Marieta van der Merwe and her family, former wealthy cattle farmers, have sold land to buy and care for embattled wildlife.


Book cover of Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology

Britt Collins Why did I love this book?

Lost Cat centres around the author’s two 13-year-old tabbies, Tibia and Fibula, named after the bones and nicknamed Tibby and Fibby. Caroline was recovering from a plane crash, healing broken bones, and sinking into depression when Tibby disappears. Hobbling on crutches and painkillers, she and her partner Wendy, the illustrator of the book, begin their frantic search flyposting their San Francisco neighbourhood, touring animal shelters and feral-cat colonies before moving on to GPS tracking and animal psychics and pet detectives. Weeks later, Tibby saunters back home with the smug confidence of Jacques Costeau after a wild adventure to parts unknown. Caroline, also an animal-rights activist, poignantly captures the deep, elusive kinship between us and our animals. Cat people will understand this obsessive behaviour in this warm, funny memoir that, along with the gorgeous full-colour pen-and-watercolour drawings, is a fantastic feel-good read.

By Caroline Paul, Wendy Macnaughton (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lost Cat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Caroline Paul was recovering from a bad accident (she had been flying a plane when it happened) and thought things couldn't get worse. But then her beloved cat Tibia disappeared. She and her partner, illustrator Wendy MacNaughton, anxiously waited for his return, before resigning themselves to their loss. But weeks later, Tibia waltzed back into their lives. His owners were overjoyed. They might also have been a bit jealous. All right, they were very jealous! Where had their sweet anxious cat disappeared to? Had he become a swashbuckling cat adventurer? Did he love someone else more? His owners were determined…


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Hayley and the Hot Flashes

By Jayne Jaudon Ferrer,

Book cover of Hayley and the Hot Flashes

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer Author Of Hayley and the Hot Flashes

New book alert!

Who am I?

I grew up in a small town, with wonderful librarians who introduced me to books I remember fondly to this day. The Flicka, Ricka, Dicka series, the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, and, of course, Little Women shaped my love for stories about relationships and the simple pleasures of daily life. Whether it’s a mystery or a memoir, I want interesting interactions between the main characters, meaty descriptions of daily activities and affairs, and, of course, a happy ending. As I’ve gotten older, I like books with older protagonists; those are hard to come by—one reason I wrote a novel about the adventures of five middle-aged girlfriends!

Jayne's book list on entertaining stories about relationships

What is my book about?

Country music diva Hayley Swift has fallen off the charts and into a funk. Desperate to regain her place in the limelight, she agrees to a low-budget tour of Southern venues, starting with her 35th high school reunion.

There, in an unexpected but fortuitous reconnection, The Girls Next Door —who sang together in their teens--become Hayley and the Hot Flashes as they embark on a road trip that will forever change their lives. You'll laugh out loud as the ladies deal with stage fright, stalkers, attitudes, egos, harmonies, hormones, and more. Middle age has never been moodier—or more melodic!

Hayley and the Hot Flashes

By Jayne Jaudon Ferrer,

What is this book about?

When five middle-aged girlfriends trade in carpools and casseroles for microphones and music halls, look out!

Hayley Swift, a country music diva who has slipped out of the limelight, gets more attention when she's mistaken for Taylor Swift's mom than for her former glory days. When she's invited to perform at her 35th high school reunion, a bus accident puts her back-up singers in a hospital, Hayley begs her long-gone-domestic quartet from high school to join her onstage for the gig. They're such a hit that she invites the women to fill in on a low-budget tour for a couple…


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