The Rabbi's Cat

The Rabbi’s Cat (2005)

The Rabbi’s Cat (2005) Joann Sfar

One way to summarize this story would be that when the Rabbi’s cat eats the Rabbi’s parrot and gains the power of speech, his relationship with the Rabbi and the Rabbi’s daughter, Zlabya, changes. But it is so much more than that. The cat is both an observer and a participant, and comments upon religion in ways that a human character could not.

But it’s more than that as well, as the story looks at the relationship between the Rabbi and his daughter, the times in which the story was written (1930s), and the Rabbi and his faith.

But yet, it’s also fun, and on several occasions made me laugh aloud, causing Michael to give me strange looks.

And then he tells me that the Greeks believed the dog to be the epitome of the philosophical animal. The dog, not the cat.

I reply that the Greeks destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem and if a rabbi ends up calling on them for help, it means he’s run out of arguments.

Is this book accessible to all readers? I would hope so. Is it appropriate for all ages? No. The cat is a cat and so has no qualms about using language or discussing natural cat urges. So it’s not for kids, but it’s also not explicit, so should be fine for older kids, as long as their parents are OK recognizing there are several uses of the word “fuck” by the cat.

The art is not necessarily my favorite, however, I love how the cat relates physically to the Rabbi and Zlabya and vice versa. (I love it when the Rabbi takes the cat to his Rabbi. The expression on the cats face is wonderful.)

All in all? Absolutely fabulous.

Published by Pantheon

Rating: 9/10