Book Talk: Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine (An Untamed History of the Cat Archetype in Myth
“No one writes about the subjects of sexuality, desire, the shadow, and diabolism with such relish, and when I read her words I feel both smarter and less afraid of my own ‘tabooed’ feelings and thoughts. Like a cat, Kristen sees in the dark, as she guides us gracefully forward with her vision of unapologetic, feminine power.”
―From the Foreword by Pam Grossman, author of Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
This is the story
The cat: A sensual shapeshifter. A hearth keeper, aloof, tail aloft, stalking vermin. A satanic accomplice. A beloved familiar. A social media darling. A euphemism for reproductive parts. An epithet for the weak. A knitted—and contested—hat on millions of marchers, fists in the air, pink pointed ears poking skyward. Cats and cat references are ubiquitous in art, pop culture, politics, and the occult, and throughout history, they have most often been coded female.
From the “crazy cat lady” unbowed by patriarchal prescriptions to the coveted sex kitten to the dreadful crone and her yowling compatriot, feminine feline archetypes reveal the ways in which women have been revered and reviled around the world—in Greek and Egyptian mythology, the European witch trials, Japanese folklore, and contemporary film.
By combining historical research, pop culture, art analyses, and original interviews, Cat Call explores the cat and its indivisible connection to femininity and teases out how this connection can help us better understand the relationship between myth, history, magic, womanhood in the digital age, and our beloved, clawed companions.
Reviews and What Readers Say
“ A fascinating exploration into the world of women and cats. Just when I thought I knew everything about the cat-woman relationship, this book proves I’ve merely scratched the surface.”
―BriAnne Wills, author of Girls and Their Cats
“ Cat Call is the necessary text that links the feline, the feminine, and the magical. In many ways, it’s the cat lover’s modern epic poem, an ode to the many sacred archetypes we can all tap into — the feral, the fear-inducing, the autonomous. From Venice’s “kitten-carrying drag queens” to the necromancer cat of Japan, Sollée treats her readers to the delicious mythos of the cat, with meticulous research and gorgeous prose. For any cat lover or witch, this book is a feverish examination of the feline in our dreams and in our lives — and within ourselves. Page by page, you’ll tap into your most catty, feral, transgressive self — caught with the delicious story of the cat between your claws."
―Lisa Marie Basile, author of Light Magic for Dark Times and Wordcraft Witchery
“ Prowling through myth, literature, science, philosophy, and pop culture, Cat Call is rollicking and scholarly, diligent and irreverent. From topics as apparently unrelated as Aristotle and pussy hats, she maintains a clear thread explaining why cats have been associated with femininity. This a fantastic gift for the cat lover in your life, especially if that cat lover is you.”
―Jo Weldon, author of Fierce: The History of Leopard Print
“ Cat Call will change the way you think about the cat forever. Filled to the brim with bewitching, inspiring, and cunning anecdotes on the powers of the feline, this book will leave you inspired to reclaim your own feral femininity. I cannot recommend it enough.”
―Gabriela Herstik, author of Inner Witch: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft
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Kristen J. Sollée is a writer, curator, and educator exploring the intersections of art, sex, and occulture. She is the founding editrix of Slutist, a sex positive feminist website, and lectures at The New School and across the US and Europe. Sollée’s signature college course, "The Legacy of the Witch" follows the witch through history, pop culture, and politics. Her critically-acclaimed book inspired by the course, Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive, was published in 2017.