Devin’s Tails: Dogs and Cats in Books

By Devin O’Branagan

Novels featuring cats and dogs are huge with the reading public right now. I have personal favorites, but one of the hard and fast rules I have for animal-related fiction is that the critters aren’t abused or killed. I tend to avoid most popular novels about dogs and cats because they are just too darn sad; many of my fellow readers feel the same way. Following is a list of my personal recommendations, with some specific caveats noted:

Show_Dog_Sings_The_BluesOf course, my own series, The Red Hot Novels, tops my list. These comic mysteries were the parent novels to spinoff Show Dog Sings the Blues, the upcoming prequel titled The Twilight Bone, and a planned series of full-length mysteries under the banner of The Show Dog Diaries. The series will feature feisty Australian Shepherd Talisman, a dancing Border Collie named Boo, a sweet feline tabby called Princess, their colorful people Val and Peter, and the ghost of Mae West. I promise these books will make you laugh!

I also thoroughly enjoyed a mystery series told primarily from a dog’s perspective in The Chet and Bernie Mysteries. The author is Spencer Quinn and the novels’ canine protagonist belongs to a private detective.

Another wonderful series is the Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries by Donna Ball. It features search and rescue dogs. And for those who like wolves, I adored Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak Mystery Series, set in the wilds of Alaska. (Warning: there are approximately 20 novels in this series and spoilers say the wolf/husky sidekick, Mutt, is killed in the most recent novel. I have not read the latest book and don’t plan to as I loved that wolf!)

There are many wonderful stand-alone novels about dogs, but for some reasons, the dogs usually die in the end. However, one incredibly uplifting novel I can wholeheartedly recommend is The Dog Who Danced by Susan Wilson. Excellent!

41N8EAqm3uLMy favorite series of mystery novels told from the perspectives of cats is The Joe Grey Cat Mysteries by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. There are eighteen novels in the series and I recommend all, except Cat Raise the Dead and Cat Striking Back––there are disturbing scenes in those particular books. However, it is an intelligent, clever, and fun series and not to recommend it would be unfair to the author and a disservice to readers. The cats in this series are felines who hunt; if you would find such scenes disturbing, you might want to avoid the series overall.

A stand-alone novel about cats I truly enjoyed is Shelve Under C: A Tale of Used Books and Cats by Jenny Kalahar.

Although it is a children’s series, The Bunnicula Series about a vampire bunny is laugh-out-loud funny. The novels are told from the perspectives of the family dog and cat.

Love horses? The Black Stallion by Walter Farley is a perennial favorite!

Dolphins? I think I’ve read Ripple – A Dolphin Love Story by Tui Allen about five times!

For those who enjoy books and movies where the animals aren’t killed or abused, there are several websites I’ve discovered that are invaluable:




I’d love to hear about your favorite books and movies featuring dogs and cats. Please leave your comments below or on my Facebook page!

Copyright © 2014 – Devin O’Branagan – All Rights Reserved

Devin O’Branagan is a bestselling author who writes novels about uncommon heroes. Her genres include young adult urban fantasy, paranormal thrillers, comic mysteries, and fiction about dogs and cats. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America, the Cat Writers’ Association, and many of her writing projects support animal rescue. Her books have been published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books in English, Heyne Verlag in German, and Dogan Egmont in Turkish. All of her books are available in both print and eBook formats. Visit her website at DevinWrites.com, and check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

More from Devin O’Branagan:

Devin’s Tails: And the Angels Gathered

Devin’s Tails: Diva Dog Meets Mr. Cool

Devin’s Tails: Dating for Dogs


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