Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Cat Pack

Go To

Cat Pack is a series of children's books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, with illustrations by Alan Daniel.

The four books tell the story of a group of cats: Marco, Polo, Texas Jake, Elvis, and Carlotta. The group of cats often meet together in their "Club of Mysteries". Marco and Polo are two tabby brothers, Texas Jake is the definite leader of the club, Elvis is a talkative singer, and Carlotta is a pretty calico who the others are smitten with.


  • The Grand Escape (1993)
  • The Healing of Texas Jake (1997)
  • Carlotta's Kittens and the Club of Mysteries (2000)
  • Polo's Mother (2005)

Cat Pack provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Implied with Texas Jake. He was an unwanted pregnancy and his mother abandoned him and his siblings after a few weeks.
  • Animals Fear Neutering: The cats are horrified that humans spay and neuter them so they can't reproduce. They think of it as a violation and complain about how humans should get themselves "fixed". They later come to the conclusion that maybe there is a cat overpopulation problem and maybe it is okay to neuter cats, but none of them want to personally be spayed or neutered.
  • Angry Guard Dog: "Bertram the Bad", a mean neighborhood mastiff with a spiky collar that likes to attack cats.
  • Apathetic Pet: The cats are attached to their owners but at the same time, they believe that Cats Are Superior and that they'd do fine on their own if only they could open their own food cans.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Carlotta's kittens eat nothing but seafood scraps. That's not a healthy diet for any cat, especially weaning kittens.
  • Black Comedy: The character's talk about trying to make sure Carlotta's children don't get killed, and Elvis' scary nursery rhymes, often leans into this.
  • Cats Are Superior: Cats seem to believe this. It's mentioned that they would live without humans if they could open their own cans.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Texas Jake's mother abandoned him as a kitten. Most of his litter were killed soon afterwards. Texas and two of his siblings were later put in a bag by a man and thrown into a river. Texas survived but presumably the other two didn't.
  • Disappeared Dad: Carlotta's Kittens and the Club of Mysteries revolves around Carlotta having kittens. The males all wish they could catch Carlotta's eye and be her kitten's step-father, however no one ever mentions the kitten's biological father. None of the he-cats even know where kittens come from!
  • Drowning Unwanted Pets: Texas Jake is the Sole Survivor of an attempt at this. After his mother abandoned her litter, he and his siblings were soon placed in a bag by an unknown person and thrown into a river, Texas Jake was the only one who made it out alive.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: The third book completely ignores the biological father of Carlotta's kittens. Carlotta didn't have a sire due to her owners not knowing of the pregnancy, but no one also ever mentions who Carlotta bred with.
  • Family Theme Naming: Four out of Carlotta's five kittens are named after food.
  • Free-Range Pets: The cats are sometimes gone for long periods of time without much issue. It's only when they're gone for over a month that their owners start looking for them.
  • From Stray to Pet:
    • Elvis was born a barn cat but was taken away by humans. He later ended up adopted.
    • Carlotta's kittens end up taken in at a nursing home.
  • Green Aesop: Humans overpopulating, cutting the rain forest, and polluting the planet are discussed in one conversation.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: The cats dislike how humans have so much control over their lives, including when and how they die. When discussing cat euthanasia Marco comments how he could put humans to sleep for little things like they do with cats.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: Cat slang for humans is "two-leggeds".
  • Local Hangout: The "Fishmonger" is a local seafood restaurant that the cats steal garbage from.
  • Mama Bear: Carlotta instinctively has this feeling towards her kittens. She mentions it when she attacks Bertram for trying to harm them:
    '"You should have let us protect you," Boots told her. "Leave the fighting to us."
    Carlotta slowly got to her feet. "You don't understand," she said "When my kittens are in danger, I
    have to fight. It's as much a part of me as breathing."
  • Married Animals: A mouse character, Timothy, has a wife and kids.
  • Meaningful Name: Boots was named because he has brown "boots" on his paws.
  • Names to Run Away From: The leader of the Over the Hill Gang is named "Steak Knife".
  • No Fathers Allowed: Implied as a Furry Reminder. Carlotta has kittens, and the other cats want to be their step-father, but no one ever brings up the kittens biological father. This suggest that sires aren't in their kittens lives.
  • Odd Name Out: "Scamper" is the only one of Carlotta's kittens who isn't named after something edible.
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy:
    • It's implied that, much like real cats, fathers aren't in their kitten's lives. Carlotta has kittens but no one ever mentions the biological father.
    • Texas Jake was an unplanned pregnancy. His mother didn't want kittens and abandoned her children as soon as they could take care of themselves.
  • Parental Abandonment: Texas' Missing Mom didn't want kittens so she abandoned her litter after they were weaned.
  • Parental Bonus: In Carlotta's Kittens and the Club of Mysteries the cats sing "most lustily" about how pretty Carlotta looks. Could count as Have a Gay Old Time as a less popular definition for "lust" is just "an intense longing".
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: Pounds have a bad reputation amongst cats. The cats realize that pets do get adopted from them (and most of the cast have been in pounds before), however they believe that there's a very bad adoption/euthanasia rate. Due to this, they fear pounds.
  • Predator-Prey Friendship:
    • Marco and Polo make friends with a mouse named Timothy, who they promise not to eat. They eventually get their friends to agree not to eat Timothy or his family.
    • The cats are at least acquaintances with a crow. They're on amicable terms but it can get awkward when the crow bluntly starts talking about how he would like to eat Carlotta's newborns.
  • Replacement Goldfish:
    • After Marco and Polo disappeared for weeks their owners replaced them with two kittens. They had to learn to live with Jumper and Spinner.
    • Carlotta fears this will happen to her after being away having had kittens.
  • Scavengers Are Scum: Averted. Scavengers are just animals that have to eat, though the cats are unnerved by their crow friend eating roadkill and talking about wanting to eat kittens.
  • Sole Survivor: Texas is assumed to be the only survivor of his litter. After his mother abandoned him, two of his siblings were hit by cars, another was killed by a dog, and his two remaining siblings were presumably drowned in a river.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The pretty calico Carlotta is the sole female in the Club of Mysteries.
  • Stock Animal Diet: The cats discuss hunting but don't actually kill anything. They instead eat seafood scraps from the Fishmonger restaurant.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Brothers Marco and Polo are named after Marco Polo.
  • Those Two Guys: The Persian, Siamese, and Abyssinian are always referred to as a trio and aren't named.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Discussed in the third book. The cats talk about how humans can throw away cats lives so easily.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Steak Knife wants to chew a kitten's tail and keep it in his tail collection.
  • Xenofiction: The cats are very cat-like with minimal anthropomorphism. They don't completely understand how humans think or work either.