Coffee Table Book Review: When They Purr: Inspirational Interiors And The Cats Who Call Them Home

When They Purr: Inspirational Interiors And The Cats Who Call Them Home by Paul Barbera with Queenie Chan. Thames & Hudson, 2022. 9781760762285. 240pp. 200 color illustrations.

28 interiors inhabited by 34 cats! This is my favorite coffee table book in a while. And it’s not because I’m a huge fan of interior design. (I mean, I get it, but I can’t really understand folks who don’t fill every nook and cranny of their space with bookshelves and everything that goes on them.) That said, there’s lots to love in this book — nice wall textures, hairy chairs, beautiful views… but I read it for the cats. Most live alone. A few live in pairs. In the best book design choice ever, I want to note that there’s a cat photo on almost every page, and that the text that accompanies the photos focuses more on the cats than the furniture. Each entry ends with a tasteful cat portrait and a Q&A. My favorites: Carol, a beautiful grey Abyssinian, and her buddy Luther, who seems to think he’s a dog. That’s them in the accompanying photo, running up the beautiful steps of their owners’ converted terrace house. Also: great table of contents, which features a photo of each cat.

I really wish this one showed where the litter boxes are in each of these elegant interiors. I hope they’re cleverly hidden, or at least that they’re just out of sight behind those beautiful couches. But this does give me an idea for a sequel of sorts about the same elegant spaces: Where They Poop.


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