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Cat and Bird a memoir by Kyoko Mori

published March 5, 2024

APPEARANCES

Readings for Cat and Bird

  • April 12, 2024
    7:00 pm
    Belmont Books
    Belmont, MA
    with Mako Yoshikawa

related news, interviews & articles

The Rumpus – “Writing about Grief is Making Sense of It: A Conversation with Kyoko Mori” interview with Darcy Jay Gagnon. March 6, 2024

Salon.com – “I trained my cat to travel with me — and now he’s my perfect companion away from home.” March 5, 2024

Pasadena Star-News lists Cat and Bird in its 20 highly anticipated books coming in 2024 we want to read. December 20, 2023

KyokoMori-authorphoto

Cat and Bird, a “memoir in animals,” is anchored around Kyoko Mori’s relationship with the six house cats who defined the major eras of her life as a writer: Dorian, Oscar, Ernest, Algernon, Miles, and Jackson.

As she details the rhythms and routines of their days together, she weaves a narrative tapestry out of her past: the deep family tragedy and resilience that marked her childhood in Japan, her move to the American Midwest as a young adult, her experiences as a bird rehabilitator in Wisconsin and cat trainer, her marriage and divorce, and the joys and profound heartbreaks that come with pet ownership.

Full of razor-sharp observations and generous prose, Cat and Bird whirls into a moving meditation about grief, writing, the imagination, the solitary life, and the wonders of companionship with creatures both domestic and wild. 

Cat and Bird is now available from Belt Publishing

ADVANCED PRAISE:

As she moves among stories of her cats, jobs, and elements of her past, Mori explores how, in the company of only animals and oneself, one can come to understand many different things that may elude comprehension in larger social settings. A muted memoir that’s both meandering and meditative.

– Kirkus Reviews

Kyoko Mori is an international treasure. Reading Cat and Bird reconfirms what Plotinus wrote, that each of us is on the ‘flight of the alone.’ This memoir, which essentially covers Kyoko’s entire life, is an intimate treatise on the art of solitude, but solitude with beloved cats. It is an inimitable natural history of the heart.”

– Howard Norman, author of Come to the Window

There’s so much I love about this book. It is a moving meditation on love, grief, and the profound connection between people and animals. Mori is attuned to the rhythms of the natural world, and she provides a guide to finding our place in it.” 

– M. G. Lord, author of Forever Barbie and Astro Turf: The Private Life of Rocket Science

It takes a minutely perceptive eye, a discerning heart, and an exacting sense of language to write well about creatures as different as birds and cats. Kyoko Mori has them. She also captures the different kinds of love they evoke, and in doing so captures the ineffableness of human love and the mystery of its failures. A wonder of a book.” 

– Peter Trachtenberg, author of Another Insane Devotion and The Book of Calamities

Cat and Bird stands alongside the best companion memoirs of the past century—My Dog Tulip, What I Don’t Know About Animals—but it also furthers the form with an inquisitiveness and a voice all its own. What a gift to meet a writer with this sharp eye for story and this idiosyncratic personal outlook through her four decades of feline intimates and myriad avian guests. I devoured this book and fell in love with its characters, and I can’t wait to share it with my clowder of cat-loving friends.” 

– Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses

We can be our truest selves with animals, and in this tender and lyric memoir, Kyoko Mori contemplates the unique blend of solitude and companionship a life lived among them can offer. The birds she rescues and those she observes in the wild offer a connection to the universe’s mysteries and to her own writer’s imagination, while her bonds with a series of unforgettable cats—Dorian, Oscar, Ernest, Algernon, Miles, Jackson, indelible characters all—tether her in mutual care and love to the material present. Cat and Bird will resonate deeply with anyone who has reckoned with the grief of intergenerational trauma and forged their own path toward a whole and individual life.”

– Erin Keane, Salon editor in chief and author of Runaway: Notes on the Myths That Made Me