Do you need some children’s books about cats for homeschool or just because your child loves cats? I’ve rounded up some must read picture books about cats that are great for toddlers and preschoolers.
Cat Stories for Preschoolers
My 5 year old has shown a sudden interest in learning more about cats. So I decided to take a break from our currently scheduled unit studies to do a little mini unit study on cats.
I’ve already lined up lots of great cat activities (see a few of them here). But one of the things I really like to do with our themed units is to have a good selection of books to read from. My children learn so much through books and we love reading together.
A little tip… As you consider what books to include in your own unit studies be sure to include a mixture of fiction AND nonfiction. Even young children need to be introduced to nonfiction books and there are a lot of great picture book options out there for younger children too. When I’m selecting books for a unit study I will try to make sure at least a third of the books are nonfiction because this is where our primary learning is coming from. And then adding in the fiction books are great for reinforcing a topic and making it even more engaging.
So I’ve broken down this list down into fiction and non-fiction so you can select several from each type as you build your own cat theme unit.
Fiction Picture Books About Cats
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws . . . In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?
Three Little Kittens by Jerry Pinkney
Young children all know the Mother Goose rhyme of the kittens who have lost their mittens, but they’ve never seen it illustrated with so much energy, beauty, and flair. Preschoolers will delight in these cuddly kittens as they frolic outside in the falling leaves, get their whiskers sticky while eating a just-baked apple pie, and do the washing-up under Mama Cat’s watchful gaze.
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
It almost seems like a list of picture books about cats would be incomplete without Pete! Who doesn’t love Pete? Well, if you haven’t introduced Pete the Cat to your preschooler then now is the time.
It’s about a cat named Pete who goes walking down the street wearing his brand-new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as he steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries, and other big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are, Pete keeps movin’ and groovin’ and singing his song…because it’s all good.
This story is great because it not only gets you talking to your preschooler about colors, different foods, etc. but it also has a lesson about not letting life’s little hiccups slow you down and to find the good in every situation.
Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
It’s Splat’s first day of school, and he’s worried. What if he doesn’t make any new friends? Nervous kitties wondering about friends and school will enjoy laughing along with Splat the Cat!
Just in case, Splat decides to bring along his pet mouse, Seymour, and hides him in his lunchbox. The teacher, Mrs. Wimpydimple, introduces Splat to the class and he soon starts learning all his important cat lessons.
But when Seymour escapes and the cats do what cats do (they chase mice!), Splat’s worried again. Maybe now he’ll lose all his friends, old and new! Just in time, wise Mrs. Wimpydimple takes charge and teaches everyone an important new lesson.
Maybe Cat School is going to be okay after all! A fun school story to share in the classroom or at home.
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Poor Dick and Sally. It’s cold and wet and they’re stuck in the house with nothing to do . . . until a giant cat in a hat shows up, transforming the dull day into a madcap adventure and almost wrecking the place in the process!
Captain Cat by Inga Moore
Captain Cat loves cats. In fact, he has more cats on his ship than he has sailors. On one voyage, he discovers a remote and lonely island where the little-girl Queen has never even seen a cat. When Captain Cat’s furry companions trounce the rats infesting the island, the Queen begs Captain Cat to trade her the cats for untold treasure. Does he? Could he? What happens next? Never fear, fellow travelers! The purr-fect solution is on the horizon — and is sure to satisfy both pet-lovers and adventurers.
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff
If you give a cat a cupcake, he’ll ask for some sprinkles to go with it. When you give him the sprinkles, he might spill some on the floor. Cleaning up will make him hot, so you’ll give him a bathing suit . . .
Have You Seen My Cat? by Eric Carle
A little boy worries about his missing cat and travels to different places in search of his pet. The sturdy pages of this board book slide out to reveal the numerous feline counterparts–including lions, leopards, and tigers–the boy encounters along the way. It isn’t until the last page that he finds his missing pet—and receives a wonderful surprise!
The Cat Book by Silvia Borando
Who’s that, curled in a ball? Call out his name to wake him! Now turn the page and see him give a big stretch, waiting for you to pat him. Purr, purr, purr. Aww. But what’s that? Fleas! Quick, squish them with your finger! As this pampered cat’s day progresses, readers will have their hands full, acting as umbrella and towel and even clapping their hands loudly to save a bird . . . oh no!
Clifford’s Kitten by Norman Bridwell
Pangs of jealousy prompt Clifford, the big red dog, to compete for Emily Elizabeth’s attention when she takes in a stray kitten.
City Cat by Kate Banks
A plucky stray cat takes a Grand Tour in Kate Banks’ story of a family on a European vacation. As the family travels from one city to the next, the cat finds its own means–by bus, boat, train, truck, and bike–to tag along on the trip, visiting historic landmarks like Buckingham Palace and the Cathedral of Notre Dame along the way. Readers will pore over the spreads to find where City Cat is hiding in each city, and detailed back matter explains the history behind the sites in each locale.
Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
It is Kitten’s first full moon, and when she sees it she thinks it is a bowl of milk in the sky. And she wants it. Does she get it? Well, no . . . and yes. What a night!
Cat Knit by Jacob Grant
This book is such a riot. I actually lol-ed. So cute! Cat and Yarn are the best of friends. They have so much fun playing together, the two are inseparable. Until the day Girl takes Yarn away. When Yarn Returns, he is completely changed, no longer Cat’s bright and jolly friend. Cat is mad! Soon, Cat begins to miss his best friend, and he just might realize that a little change isn’t so bad after all.
I Am A Cat by Galia Bernstein
A simple house cat named Simon encounters some bigger cats: Lion, Puma, Panther, Tiger, and Cheetah. Each of the big cats has something to say about Simon not being “cat” enough. According to them, he just doesn’t measure up. He doesn’t have Lion’s mane or Cheetah’s spots. He doesn’t sleep in trees like Panther or climb mountains like Puma. He’s small and fuzzy, not big and strong. But ultimately, Simon shows the big cats that he’s just like them . . . only smaller.
Sleepy Kittens by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio (from Despicable Me)
If your family is a fan of the Despicable Me movies then your kids will get a riot out of this cat book because it’s featured in the movie. Three little kittens aren’t sleepy at all! One wants to jump, another wants to play, and the last wants a bite to eat. But after Mama Cat brushes their fur, gives them some milk, and sings them a lullaby, one, two, three little kittens drift off to sleep. With gentle, rhythmic verse, little ones will love to snuggle up with these soft, cozy kitties at bedtime.
Non-Fiction Children’s Books About Cats
DK Eyewitness Books: Cat by Juliet Clutton-Brock
See a jaguar swimming, a cat that can outrun a car, a leopard who lost his spots, and a black panther stalking its prey. Learn why cats need whiskers, how they purr, how the Manx cat lost its tail, and why a tiger is striped. Discover how cats communicate, how cats find their way home, why the black cat has been both persecuted and pampered, why they are said to have nine lives, and more. From domestic cats to the beasts prowling in the wild, Eyewitness: Cat looks at these beautiful mammals that are a part of our world.
DK Touch & Feel Kitten by Dorling Kindersley
Although this is more for babies, toddlers and preschoolers still love touch and feel books! Plus, I needed a book for my 7 month old to enjoy too. 🙂 Fuzzy kittens prance, play, and lick their fur on the pages of this fun first book for babies and toddlers. True to its name, Touch and Feel Kitten makes words like silky, rough, smooth, and scratchy come to life for your child as her fingers stroke a cat’s silky chest, feel a rough pink tongue, and touch other interesting textures.
The Everything Book of Cats and Kittens by DK
Everything a child wants to know about cats and kittens, from breeds, features, pet care, and grooming, to discovering how their cats communicate with us and one another. Learn what cats are showing by their body language, know where they wander off to outside, and what they are trying to say to you. Discover the secrets of the playful and curious characters of these amazing pets in this fun, lively book. Packed with wonderful pictures and adorable cat facts, Cats and Kittens takes you into their fascinating world. Find out about the individual features of different breeds and how to take the best care of them, and be amazed by their intelligence and agile antics.
See How They Grow: Kitten by Jane Burton
Nice clean photographs on plain white backgrounds really make this one pop. The book shows the development of a kitten from birth to ten weeks old. This entire series is great for showing how different animals grow from babies to adults. I’d recommend finding the white background hardcover options though. The paperback ones are a little too busy and distracting with the backgrounds.
Ultimate Sticker Book: Kitten: More Than 60 Reusable Full-Color Stickers by DK
This one starts off as a sticker book but if you help your child put all the cats in the right places then it has a lot of interesting information about cats in it too. It’s a fun way for kids to learn about kittens in a hands-on way. See them play, snuggle, and cuddle. They’ll learn fascinating facts that include information about breeds, how to take care of a kitten, and what to do if you find a stray.
National Geographic Readers: Cats by Joan Marie Galat
This series of books are really great non-fiction books for kids. They feature gorgeous bright and glossy pictures and lots of interesting information. In this one about cats, your child will learn all about cats from house cats to big cats, readers will learn all about their favorite furry felines.
Enjoy These Cat Stories for Preschoolers
Of course many of these children’s books about cats can be read to children other than preschoolers but these ones are great for preschoolers. They are also great cat books for toddlers if you have a toddler that loves to read with you too.