Written by Natsume Sōseki (the pen-name of Natsume Kin'nosuke), I Am a Cat first appeared in ten installments in the literary magazine Hototogisu (Cuckoo) between 1905 and 1906. Soseki had not intended to write more than a short story but it was so popular that he expanded it to fill a whole book. It is the chronicle of an unloved, unwanted, wandering cat who spends all his time observing humans, from his schoolteacher master, his servant, his horrible children, and more.
- Anyone Can Die: The deaths aren't common, but nobody's safe. Not even the cat.
- Downer Ending: By the final chapter, practically not a single character has a better life than they had at the start of the story. The cat proceeds to get drunk and subsequently drowns in a water basin.
- Dub Name Change: The second English translation gives the main characters English names that are supposed to mirror the meaning and/or the feel of the original Japanese names.
- Expository Pronoun: One of the most famous examples in Japanese literature − the cat uses the noble pronoun "wagahai", which comically contrasts his not-so-noble position.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: One of the first things the cat tells us of was how a student catches, boils and eats cats. It doesn't get much better from there when he tries to sneak into the school-teacher's house and repeatedly gets thrown out by the maid. The children spend a lot of their time torturing the poor thing.
- Shout-Out: Two of them in the first chapter to contemporary literary magazines Hototogisu and (now defunct) Myōjō the master tries to send his works to these magazines in one of his stints at trying various crafts.
- Stray Animal Story: An early example. The story is about the life of a wandering cat.