Cats on the Page at the British Library

Hi everyone,

On the 19th of February, we attended the fantastic exhibition Cats on the Page at the British Library here in London. The event which celebrates our furry friends in literature is kindly supported by the pet insurance Animal friends.

You can’t miss the main exhibition as there is a lovely big banner pointing the way towards it.

The exhibition itself features a variety of cat books and illustrations from around the world and different centuries.

The thing to note is that the general public is not permitted to take any photos of the exhibits but we luckily managed to get special permission to get some shots for you! Either way, it’s a fabulous day out and teaches us a lot about how long cats have been around in our lives.

But it wasn’t just the books itself that were great fun! Iain and I loved the way the exhibition was decorated from the cat mirror wall to the cat cloud! And of course, we had to try and interact with the little cats on one of the walls. 😉

We saw many tales that we were already family with such as the famous Puss in Boots but likewise we got to discover many that we had never seen before both old-school and modern ones. 🙂

Our own personal favourite was the Tabby Polka! We already knew that cats were famous for a very long time but had no idea that there was even a Polka created to honour or feline friends.

But the exhibition itself wasn’t the only thing we came for! On the 19th of February a special talk was held as part of the overall exhibition. It was titled Cats vs. Dogs: A Literary Showdown and was held in the knowledge center part of the British Library. When you visit the library this is located just outside the main entrance hall. Coming back out of the library from the exhibition look to your left and you can easily spot it.

We were a little skeptical at first being cat lovers how this would go down but Lynne Truss and her panel did a wonderful job in engaging both sides of the pet lovers in their ultimate goal to figure out which makes the better author’s pet!

The talks panel consisted of BAFTA-winning screenwriter, playwright and cat owner Vinay Patel, and author, editor and dog-lover and author Simon Garfield in addition to Lynne Truss the author of the book Cat Out of Hell!

At the beginning, each of the panelists talked about their experience with pets and what made them either a cat or dog person with the odd one out being Lynne who was once a cat person converted to be a dog person! 😉

It was not just very interesting to find out how each of the panelists saw their interactions with pets but also how it lead to us reflecting on our life with cats.

At the end Lynne allowed the audience to make comments and ask questions with some interesting ones popping up! One that made us think quite a lot about our cats was the statement of one of the members of the public about the belief that pets are re-incarnations of very old souls that were sent back to earth in order to guide us humans through our lives. I am not usually one to believe in spiritual stuff like that but at the same time I am sure all of us have encountered before that our cats know us better than we do ourselves right? From getting out of a dark place to some cats even rescuing their human companions so it really made me think if that statement held a lot more truth than we realise…

While this particular talk is over there are still two more talks to come and if you can make them we would highly recommend taking the time to visit both the exhibition and one of the talks:


Adoration of the Great Cat


Cats Book Club: The Travelling Cat Chronicles

We will be at both events so maybe we will get to meet some of you there?



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11 thoughts on “Cats on the Page at the British Library

  1. floridaborne says:

    Excellent post! I loved the pictures. 🙂

    You know that I love both cats and dogs — and I believe that both living together fosters growth in humans. As I’ve said many times before: Dogs teach us unconditional love, but cats help us practice this skill. One of my 2 cats is presently standing in front of my 32″ monitor, silently screaming out “PET ME!” In the process, he is making me exercise by forcing me to get out of my chair so that I have to look around him. It’s the only way to see what I’m typing. 😀 😀 😀

  2. syl65 says:

    Wow, this is so cool! I like the one where it looks like a cat detective (Somewhere In The Shadows) if I’m correct. Very cool exhibit and talk.

  3. Pamela Cummins says:

    Wishing I was there as books and cats are purrfect together. When I was in London with my family (2010), I visited the British Library twice. I went once with my Dad, who went gaga over the exhibits of the old maps of London. And once on my own. I just love their collection of old books. One of the highlights for me was seeing the napkin where one of the Beatles (I think John) jotted down song lyrics. If you haven’t been to the British Library, put it on your bucket list.

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