The Cat at Night by Dahlov Ipcar

It’s widely known that dogs are, by far, more affectionate than cats. Yet, despite their innate aloofness, more people choose to keep cats, rather than dogs, as pets — or, perhaps, it is because cats are more self-sufficient and less needy that they are seen as ‘easier’ to maintain.

Part of their allure also stems from the sense that one never really knows with cats: they just have an air of mystery about them, like you can never tell what they’re thinking, what they’re up to, where they’re slinking off to, or where they’ve been… Which brings us to The Cat at Night, a fascinating and illuminating — in more ways than one — account of the night-time adventures of a farmer’s cat as he goes on a long walk through the farm, a field, a forest and even the city.

By alternating between scenes that show what a human can see at night, versus the cat’s superior night vision, the author also sheds some light on the cat’s behaviour by allowing us to see through its luminous eyes, almost.

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The stark difference between the two is also a reflection of two very different mindsets — although, it seems, the author, who’s obviously very enamoured with cats, does understand them quite a bit. As the cat wanders around, we also see the activities of some nocturnal creatures like mice, owls and foxes.

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While the riveting vintage-style artwork here is a visual feast, the descriptive documentary-style narrative is equally engaging, and helps the readers to better understand both the illustrations as well as cats in general, as we silently tag along on the intrepid farmer’s cat’s journey.

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