The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel

I liked this book.
A simple story told by a cat whose master takes him on a series of journeys, the purpose of which is revealed towards the end. A sentimental reader might cry.

Quotes from the book:

  • “On TV and in photos, it [Mt Fuji] looks just like a triangle that has flopped down onto the earth, but when you see it in real life it feels overwhelming, like it’s closing in on you.”
  • “Our silver van was like a magic carriage. Every time I got into it, it carried me to a place I’d never been before.”
  • “Well, you catch something, you’ve got to take a bite out of it. Back in Tokyo, when I killed cockroaches I’d always take a bite. The hard wings were like cellophane so I didn’t eat those, but the flesh was soft and savoury.”

Plot summary:

Nana is a stray cat rescued from a car accident by Satoru, a man living alone in Tokyo. Saturo, a cat-lover, takes Nana in and loves her like the cat he had as a childhood pet. Unexplained circumstances lead to Satoru visiting a series of friends whom he asks to take the cat. We learn of Saturo’s life from these visits, and it is slowly revealed why Saturo has to give up Nana.

Other editions:

Reading Guide


  • “Anyone who’s ever had a cat will be moved by this beautifully evoked feline roadtrip Full review: The Guardian
  • it’s the wisdom and stoicism of the feline narrator that makes this book such an engaging read.”   “In the wrong hands, a story like this could be little more than an entertaining curiosity, but Arikawa has a lightness of touch in her writing that elevates it to a tale about loyalty and friendship, eschewing sentimentality while speaking to our basic human need for companionship.” Full review: Irish Times


The book has been adapted into a movie, “The Travelling Cat Chronicles”, the original title being “Tabineko ripoto”  released 2018.

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