Living With A Book Lover

Big NY jacket cover

Continuing our celebration of literary cats (and indeed The Big New Yorker Book of Cats) we have a new guest blog. It comes from Simon Savidge, or rather his cats, Oscar and Millie.

It is a hard life being a cat, don’t you all laugh, we have good ears we can hear you. All the things we have to put up with. Being fed when we want, being pandered to endlessly, preened, cooed over and played with. However it is an even harder life for a cat living with a book lover, all that papery competition. You see even though we protest often that we don’t like being smothered in love and sometimes look at you like we would like to exterminate your whole species (on days when you want us to go to the vet’s, clip our nails in particular or you catch us up to no good in the plant pots) really we love it.

Oh hang on, how rude of us making the assumption you know who we are. Let us introduce ourselves, we are Oscar and Millie Burton-Savidge (double barrelled, how pretentious, how apt) and we live with that Simon Savidge who writes that Savidge Reads. He would be furious if he knew Windmill had asked us to write something special for their feline-focused day, as he likes everything booky in this house to be about him, so that is why we are here to tell you all about ‘the perils of living with a book lover’. Wait a second, he has just woken up, we’ll pretend to sleep…


Phew he has gone out now, probably to yet another ‘bookshop’ but that will give us time to give you the full feline feelings on the subject. Where were we, oh yes, the perils of living with a book addict. There are many. Firstly there is the actual worry of sometimes being crushed, we cannot tell you the number of times we have been minding our own business only to wake up in a mild panic as a pile of books totters above our heads.

Book Danger

It is most unnerving. There is also the worry that sometimes your owner might actually love the books in the house more than they love you. Unthinkable, yet when you have been popped on the bookshelves for the umpteenth time having been mistaken for a special edition fluff bound book you begin to wonder.

Cats on Shelves

Eventually it all gets too much and these paper beasts become ‘the competition’. This will lead to both book chewing and owner chewing for which we can’t be blamed. We need to be the main focus of a house and worshipped. It has been this way since the Egyptians after all.

Book jealousy

Oh hang on, he is back again, and guess what… with a pile of books that he will now coo over much more than either of us, no matter how much we roll around on the floor and show our furry bellies and look adorable. Only one thing for it…

Attack Cat

That’s him seen too, he is probably back off out to the library now. However, something changed one day when one of us had been particularly naughty – it involved an incident of chewing a Wilkie Collins all around the edges and then doing something very bad in a pot plant as mentioned before – we decided to hide behind some of the beloved books… and we started reading.

Behind the Books

That was it, we were hooked. We started with some YA Fiction, something that we knew we would understand…

Reading YA

And now we have developed our own individual tastes, one of us (that’s me Oscar) for commercial and genre fiction, particularly a good crime novel…

Crime Fiction

…Whilst the other of us (that is me Millie) has gone on to more literary fiction and has now started reading some rather lesser known classics from female authors of the early 1900s and is considering doing an Open University course on the subject…

Virgo Cat

The key thing you must always remember dear cats, as we all know we can read as you are reading this now while your human minion is out, is to act like we have no idea what books are about. If you are caught mid-read you must feign sleep. If you are just off to the shelves to peruse your next read just turn on the bog eyed cute look. Works every time.

Bog eyed Millie

We do fear the cat may be out of the bag next year though dear readers. Firstly we have both been asked if we could judge some book prizes (Oscar is awaiting to find out if he is on the Booker Prize panel and Millie is expecting a call from Kate Mosse at any moment about the Women’s Prize) and then we are thinking of working on a book together, under a pseudonym of some sort. Though unlike J.K. Rowling we will go undetected, we cats are the wiliest of creatures after all.

Folio Felines

Anyway we must dash, this has all been far too much like hard work. Time for a bath and a nap we think… Simon’s Reading Chair is looking like a delightfully cosy nook, that’s the rest of the day sorted then.

Thank you to Oscar, Millie and Simon who is the writer of Savidge Reads for this entry. 

The Big New Yorker Book of Cats is out now, published by William Heinemann. 

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Windmill is the online home of literary publishers Windmill Books, William Heinemann and Hutchinson. Part of Penguin Random House UK.