One Hell of a nice animal, frequently mistaken for a meatloaf.

Cat is a collection of cartoons by B. Kliban. It is his first book, and the work for which he will be remembered best. Sublimely silly, Kliban's cartoons range from the side-splittingly funny and sharply perceptive to the utterly mystifying.

It's gonna be a great year, mother.
Look at the whiskers on those cats.

Published in 1975 largely thanks to the enthusiasm of the cartoon editor of Playboy (the first magazine to use his cartoons), Cat made B. Kliban an overnight sensation. In the years that followed he published seven wonderful, best-selling books of virtually cat-free cartoons, but it was his cats which really caught the public imagination; before long there were Cat calendars, Cat towels, Cat T-shirts, Cat pillowcases. The Kliban cats became iconic; even if you have never heard the name, you will very likely have seen the cats about the place - rounded, round-eyed, stripey, sometimes wearing sneakers. Some people feel that if it hadn't been for Kliban's cat cartoons there would have been no Garfield, no Heathcliff, no Fat Freddy's Cat; there is no doubting his profound influence on the generation of cartoonists who followed him.

My cat is fat
So now I'll dine
And eat all up
This cat of mine.

Although B. Kliban himself died in 1990 and his cats have fallen from ubiquity, the Kliban Cat industry is still thriving. The official Kliban Cat shop site at sells a huge range of merchandising, including three kinds of calendar for 2002, four different mouse pads, eighteen different fridge magnets and an assortment of golf balls; a quick Google search turns up several more, less-official-looking sites which seem to carry their own range of Kliban Cat merchandising. Since Kliban's death his wife, Judith Kamann Kliban, has continued to work with the B. Kliban®Cats company on the creation of 'new Kliban concepts,' and on the continuing recycling of old ones into new products. is another official Kliban site with galleries, biographies, Flash animations and a recording of the eating mousies song to download.

I leave you with Kliban's concise feline lexicon. Since I cannot reproduce the accompanying cartoon here, I will have to ask you to imagine that there is a large, fat, slightly confused-looking cat just to the right of the list saying:


Cat Words

  1. Now?
  2. Wow
  3. Prowl
  4. Wackawacka*
  5. Crown?
  6. Pert
  7. Prang
  8. Marie?

* Not widely used.

See also: