From deep friendships to brief encounters, this is the story of the cats in Katie Haegele's life, or rather the story of her life in relation to the many cats she meets in Philadelphia's streets, alleys, houses, apartments, and bookstores. Through Haegele's sharp, wise, and at times hilarious gaze, we see cats for what they truly are: minor deities that mostly ignore the human foibles being played out around them. They accept our offerings with equanimity and occasionally bestow some nice thing on us. Haegele, author of White Elephants and Slip of the Tongue, has a unique and compelling sensibility, and it's a treat to see the world through her eyes as she shows us all the meanness, weirdness, and vulnerability of humans, against an ever-shifting backdrop of the cats we often take for granted, and who ignore us all democratically in return.
“Katie’s known a lot of cats, and so have I. And if you’ve known a lot of cats too, then you know that each cat has her own unique and magical story. Cats I’ve Known captures that sentiment in an honest and heartfelt style, paired with beautiful illustrations. ”
— Lil BUB, the wonderful famous internet cat
"Readers are sure to find at least one cat among those featured whose story and antics appeal or bring back memories of their own feline encounters. The conversational narrative fits well with the relaxed mood of the stories." —Library Journal
"Writer and zine maker Haegele muses on 44 cats she’s lived with, met, or heard about in brief, sweet essays charmingly illustrated by Trista Vercher....The best entry centers on Trixie, a “little black cat” who lived with the author for 14 years; Haegele offers a loving personality sketch and tribute to her longtime feline companion filled with quirky details such as how she used to tape bird photo “pin-ups” near Trixie’s favorite lounging spot." —Publishers Weekly
"Sometimes, the cats are the stars, and sometimes, they're just bit players. Through them we meet Haegele's friends and family, her Philly neighborhoods (wonderful evocations here of life on the block), and her world of DIY bookmaking, 'zine conventions, reading tours, essays, poetry, funky bookstores, bars, and rock shows. ... Haegele has a humorous, self-deprecating voice ("I walked quietly, my mind full of nonsense as always"), conversational, then - blam! - the arresting image (one house is "loud with silence") or clause ("that dirty kind of longing you feel when you don't get to make peace with something"). ... Cats teach us about death, grief, longing, the solitary life, and the fugitive nature of contentment. Cats are connected to love, disappointment, loss, and frustration. ... This book liberally shares her pleasure and gratitude for them." —Philadelphia Inquirer
"Have you ever known a cat who mattered so much to you, or who was so ubiquitous, you couldn’t imagine a life without them? Katie Haegele has known dozens. In Cats I’ve Known, she offers engaging, humorous and touching chronicles about them, with a rich illustration of the subject accompanying each of the accounts. ... The book is accessible and reads as though it were a personal journal. ... she uses the animals as a gateway into observing the people around her, from family ... to friends and, perhaps most intriguingly, strangers. The book’s strongest moment is when it asks a question many readers may have asked themselves: 'How do you characterize the relationships people have with animals?' For Haegele’s, they’re similar to the relationships she has with people, but 'simpler.' A book about cats could seem banal and hackneyed, especially since the antics of countless fleet-footed felines are just a quick internet search away. But in Cats I’ve Known, Haegele injects enough of herself — and other characters in her life — to make it well worth the read." —Broken Pencil
This cool cat design was created by me and Joe Carlough of Displaced Snail Publications, and then it was screen-printed onto tote bags by the lovely folks at Wider Awake Screen Printing and Design.
The bags are made of 100% unbleached cotton and measure 15" wide by 15" tall, with a 9" strap hang.
Okay, readers. You said you wanted more cat stories and I heard you. For issue #2 of Cat Party zine, I invited a handful of artists and writers whose work I really admire to tell stories about their favorite cats. We've got comics, drawings, and stories by Joe Biel, Dame Darcy, Keet Geniza, Mardou, Trista Vercher, Nicholas Beckett, and yours truly. A rollicking cat party for sure!
As the publisher, Microcosm, says: "This zine gives insight to the feline companion, from human-animal telepathy to learning to acknowledge who's boss. These stories are charming and will have you racing home to sneak in some cuddle time with your furry children."