There are a lot of manga series out there to choose from. Between all of the shonen adventures and shojo romance, you may have noticed on the library shelves a certain cuddly creature that is featured in many manga series: cats! That’s right, there are many, many manga series all about cats. Whether they be a feline companion of your average working girl in Tokyo, a supreme ramen master, or mystical beings that take on the form of cute attention-craving kitties, cat manga needs to be your next read.
Why are there so many manga series and titles about cats? Cats have been an intricate and important part of Japan’s culture for centuries. There is evidence that cats have been instrumental in Japanese life as far back as the 1400s, as they chased away and ate rodents that damaged rice crops and silkworm farms. Because of this, cats were (and still are) praised and deified as protectors and bringers of good fortune in the Buddhist religion, with many temples and shrines to cats existing all over Japan. Cats were also depicted in Japanese folklore as spirits that could shapeshift into humans to cause mischief or even avenge their dead owner, so not all cats were necessarily benevolent! Regardless of whether they were good or bad, Japan has had a fascination with felines that have existed for a long time. Today in modern Japan, cats still reign supreme with many working people in urban areas preferring to own cats rather than dogs because of smaller living spaces.
Manga reflects all portrayals of Japanese cats, from protector to demon, although the most popular focus is on modern-day cats living with their owners. These series fall under the "slice of life" manga in that they mostly consist of vignettes about the everyday life of cats and don’t have much of a story arc. It can be incredibly wholesome to read about the bond between cat and human, and also chuckle at the relatable situations cat-owners undoubtedly find themselves in. Sometimes, when the world gets you down, all you need is to pick up a cat manga and the world seems a little better.
Here are just a few series to check out.