Paul Koudounaris’ beloved feline companion Baba is the narrator and model for his new book, A Cat’s Tale: A Journey Through Feline History. The book tackles the different events in our history, from ancient Egypt to the Enlightenment and the New World. While some history books focus only on the people that contributed to history, Koudounaris also shines the spotlight on the heroic, tragic, and heartwarming stories of cats! The Smithsonian has more details:
A Cat’s Tale is one of dozens of books about the history of cats. But the richly illustrated volume stands out because it’s actually told through the voice of a cat. Baba acts not only as narrator but also Cindy Sherman-like impersonator, appearing throughout the book dressed as historic individuals and caricatures. Her voice and visage make Koudounaris’ take on the subject truly singular, mimicking oral storytelling more than an academic treatise. As Baba declares in the first chapter, “We cats have been allies to humankind for a very long time, and while you have reserved the sobriquet ‘man’s best friend’ for the dog, I may now provide you reasons to judge differently.” Letting Baba carry the book also allows Koudounaris to make a larger point about the subjectivity of history, including which stories get told and whose point of view and agenda they convey.
“Ostensibly, it’s a feline history book, but it’s also at its heart something more: a challenge to history as being a homo-centric monologue,” Koudounaris says. Underneath Baba’s narratorial sass and charm is “a plea to include other species that have been left out of history,” he adds. “We’re all in this together, and we’re all connected.”
Image via the Smithsonian