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Literature / Mog

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Once upon a time, there was a cat called Mog, who lived with a family called Thomas. Mog was nice, but not very clever. She didn't understand a lot of things. A lot of other things, she forgot. She was a very forgetful cat.
—Opening to "Mog the Forgetful Cat"

Mog is a series of children's books by the British author Judith Kerr.

The books focus on a cat named Mog who lives with a family called the Thomases, who consist of a mother, father and two children: Debbie and Nicky. Mog is a bit fearful and can be a bit gloomy when sad, but she is a very happy-go-lucky cat. She is also a bit forgetful, leading her into tricky situations. Mr (and to a lesser extent, Mrs) Thomas sometimes blame her for these mishaps and refer to her as "that cat", but the children (especially Debbie) are quick to spring to Mog's defense. Debbie seems to be the one who's most close to Mog, and Mog even has the unexplained ability to locate Debbie with her mind. Another quirk Mog has is she likes eggs and has one every day for breakfast.

Mog was based off the author's own cat, who was also called Mog.

The series started with "Mog the Forgetful Cat" and despite apparently dying in "Goodbye, Mog", there were two subsequent books, "Mog's Christmas Calamity" (a charity book tying in to a Sainsbury's ad campaign) and Mog's Birthday (published after Kerr's own death). When asked about this during the publicity for "Mog's Christmas Calamity", Kerr simply said the books were in Anachronic Order.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Good Outcome: "Mog's Bad Thing", Mog falls out of the attic window and lands in the tent of a "most unusual cat" competition. This makes her win since the judges note it's unusual for a cat to "fly".
  • All Just a Dream: The majority of "Mog's Amazing Birthday Caper" and "Mog in the Dark" take place in a dream of Mog's.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Mog's bunny plushie Bunny is a pink rabbit but none of the "real" animals are candy-coloured.
  • Ambiguous Gender: We never find out the sexes of the three foxes that walk into the Thomases' house in "Mog On Fox Night".
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • We never find out what the story was with Mog in "Goodbye, Mog" and whether or not she died and why she's fine in the next book.
    • We never find out why Mog hates going to the vet. It could be fear or a simple dislike, and we don't have a reason for either of those things.
  • And Your Reward Is Edible:
    • Mog started getting eggs for breakfast after saving the Thomases from the burglar.
    • At the end of "Mog and the Baby", Mrs Clutterbuck gives Mog a large fish as a "very big reward" for saving the baby from the car.
  • Babysitting Episode: In "Mog and the Baby", Mrs Thomas, Nicky and Mog babysit their friend Mrs Clutterbuck's baby.
  • Badass Unintentional: In "Mog the Forgetful Cat", Mog forgets that she has a cat door and meows to be let in, startling a burglar and leading to him dropping his bag, waking up the Thomases and getting arrested.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Mog appears to die "Goodbye, Mog" but turns up fine in "Mog's Christmas Calamity".
  • Big Eater: Oscar, one of the neighborhood cats, eats three tins of cat food a day.
  • Birthday Episode: In "Mog's Amazing Birthday Caper", it is Debbie's birthday.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Mog and the V-E-T" ends with Mog and the other animal patients getting better, but the vet, who injured his finger, is only "almost" better.
  • Butt-Monkey: Zigzagged for Mog. While she does sometimes seem unlucky, other times she seems surprisingly fortunate.
  • Catchphrase: All the baby says is "Psss" in an attempt to say "puss".
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted. While the cats do sometimes have realistic "cat squabbles", they're portrayed as nice and benevolent.
  • Cats Hate Water: All the cats in the series don't seem to like the rain.
  • Cat Up a Tree: Zigzagged in "Mog and the Granny". Mog climbs a tree and is unable to climb down but finds she can jump down.
  • Censorship by Spelling: Mog hates going to the vet, so her owners spell out the word "vet".
  • Character Title: The majority of the books have Mog's name in the title. "Mog and Barnaby" also has Barnaby's.
  • Chimney Entry: In "Mog's Christmas", Mog sleeps on a snow-covered chimney pot, and falls through the chimney into the empty fireplace, startling the family who are having Christmas dinner.
    "Oh look, it's Father Christmas!"
    "No! Father Christmas does not have a tail."
  • Christmas Episode: Two. In "Mog's Christmas", Mog adjusts to her first Christmas with the Thomases, and in "Mog's Christmas Calamity", Mog accidentally starts a fire on Christmas. Thankfully, the neighbors save the day.
  • Comedic Work, Serious Scene: "Mog the Forgetful Cat" is, for the most part, a funny story about a cat who gets herself into trouble because she has a terrible memory. There is one serious scene though, which takes place at night and she is thinking "dark thoughts" because (due to having forgotten that she's been fed and has a cat door and because they'd been scolding her and calling her "that cat") she believes her owners dislike her.
  • Cute Kitten: Rumpus is fawned over by the Thomases and eventually Mog when he arrives.
  • Dangerous Drowsiness: In the book "Goodbye Mog", Mog is "dead tired" on the first page, takes a nap, and dies in her sleep. She does get an Unexplained Recovery in the next book, though.
  • Deadly Distant Finale: "Goodbye Mog" depicts Mog dying of old age, and then her spirit watching over the Thomases' new cat.
  • The Ditz: Downplayed for Mog and Rumpus. While they're both a bit scatty, they're not outright stupid either.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Nicky doesn't like eggs.
  • A Dog Named "Dog":
    • Downplayed for Mog herself. Cats are sometimes referred to as "mogs", but that's a rare term.
    • Played straight for Mog's plushie who's a bunny named "Bunny".
  • Episode Tagline: In the book "Mog the Forgetful Cat", Mog keeps getting scolded with the phrase "Bother that cat!", but they decide to stop when she scares away a burglar.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • "Mog and Barnaby" is a lot less wordy and has no narration, only dialogue.
    • "Mog's Amazing Birthday Caper" (in addition to being a Dream Episode) has lots of alliteration, while most of the books don't feature wordplay at all.
    • "Mog's Family of Cats" doesn't have a plot. It just documents Mog's relatives.
  • Foul Medicine: In "Mog and the V-E-T", Mog hates the pill she was made to take so much that she scratches the vet for making her take it.
  • Goo Goo Getup: Overlaps with Pet Dress-Up in "Mog and the Baby", in which Nicky puts a baby bonnet on Mog the cat.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Nicky is blond and seems to be a nice young boy.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Not really, but when Mog sees some people wearing feathers with her Psychic Powers, she thinks they're "person-birds".
  • Hidden Depths: Mog may seem like an ordinary cat but she can find Debbie with her mind and even come back after apparently dying.
  • Ignorant About Fire: In "Mog's Christmas Calamity", Mog runs out of her basket where she'd been having a bad dream and accidentally gets her tail caught on fire. She tries to put it out on the carpet, but that just makes "more little fires", which spread. She also unintentionally stops the fire by running coincidentally towards the fire station. It's not because she's stupid, but rather because she's a cat.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: We never find out why Mog can psychically detect Debbie, she just can.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Sometimes, Mog's notions don't make logical sense. Justified in that she's a cat.
    • In "Mog and the V-E-T", Mog tries to get rid of the pain from her splinter by sniffing it. It doesn't work, of course.
    • In "Mog the Forgetful Cat", it is raining in the yard but Mog thinks that the sun might be shining in the street.
  • Irritation Nightmare: In the book "Mog on Fox Night", Mr. Thomas threatens to stop feeding Mog the cat eggs if she doesn't eat her other food. Then, she goes to sleep mad at him and has a "cross dream" about Mr. Thomas binning all the eggs in the world.
  • The Klutz: Both Mog and Rumpus are a bit clumsy, which sometimes gets them into trouble.
  • Location Song: In "Mog and the Granny", Nicky writes a short song about the USA, where they're headed.
    Nicky: "We're going to America where the skyscrapers are. We will see all the sights and it will be very exciting because they have their days when we have our nights."
  • Lovable Coward: Mog can be quite nervous sometimes, but she's a sweet cat.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Mog is called that because "moggy" is slang for cat.
    • Rumpus was named because he causes a rumpus.
    • One of the neighbors' cats is called Fluffy and she's got long fur.
    • One of Mog's brothers is a black cat named Blackie.
  • Mistaken for Santa: In the book "Mog's Christmas", Mog the cat is on the roof, and sleeps on the chimney pot; and then falls down the chimney, into the room where the family are eating. An aunt exclaims, "It's Father Christmas!", and another aunt says, "No dear, Father Christmas does not have a tail."
  • Name and Name: One of the books is called "Mog and Barnaby".
  • Nature Tinkling: Inverted in "Mog's Bad Thing" when Mog (who's a cat and normally pees outside) pees indoors.
  • Nightmare Sequence:
    • In "Mog and the V-E-T", the vet has a nightmare about wild animals in his office.
    • In "Mog the Forgetful Cat", Debbie has a bad dream where a tiger tries to eat her.
    • In "Mog on Fox Night", Mog falls asleep mad at Mr Thomas for throwing her egg out, so she has a "cross dream" where he's thrown out all the eggs in the world.
  • No Name Given:
    • We never find out the name of the title baby in "Mog and the Baby".
    • We never find out the burglar's name from "Mog the Forgetful Cat".
    • We also don't find out the names of the three foxes in "Mog on Fox Night", they're wild animals so they might not have names.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: In "Mog's Amazing Birthday Caper", Mog seems to be unusually resentful of Debbie's friend Emily. All she really did was cry and sulk a bit but she only seemed like a little girl in a mood, not a Jerkass or even a Bratty Half-Pint. Mog, the normally friendly cat, has a thought bubble that reads "crybaby" and then smiles in her sleep when she dreams that an elephant eats Emily! She seems to be back to normal a few pages later, though.
  • Out Sick: In "Mog and the Baby", Nicky stays home from school due to having a cold.
  • Psychic Powers: Mog has the ability to find Debbie with her mind.
  • "Setting Off" Song: At the beginning of "Mog and the Granny", Nicky sings a little ditty about how they're going to America where there are skyscrapers and the time zones are different.
  • Sick Episode: Downplayed for "Mog and the Baby". Nicky's said to have a cold but seems perfectly fine.
  • Toilet Humor: In "Mog's Bad Thing", the bad thing is peeing on Mr Thomas's chair.
  • Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: In "Mog and the V-E-T", Mog doesn't want her food because she's too sad about the pain from her splinter. Truth in Television as cats are often off their food when they're injured.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Mog loves soft-boiled eggs.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Mog appears dead in "Goodbye, Mog" but is totally fine in "Mog's Christmas Calamity" and "Mog's Birthday". Supposedly these take place beforehand.
  • Unnamed Parent:
    • Downplayed for Debbie and Nicky's parents: Mr and Mrs Thomas. We know their surname, but not their first names.
    • Played straight for Mog's parents and grandparents (who we meet in "Mog's Family of Cats" and Debbie and Nicky's granny. We have no clue what their names are.
  • Vacation Episode: In "Mog and the Granny", the Thomases go on vacation to America, leaving Mog with the granny.
  • Vague Age: We don't know the ages of the main characters, but we do know that Debbie and Nicky are schoolchildren and Mog is an adult cat but relatively young as her grandparents are still alive (as revealed in "Mog's Family of Cats").
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Mog and the grandmother's cat Tibbles are described as "sometimes liking each other and sometimes not".
  • Whole Episode Flashback: While "Goodbye Mog" charts Mog's death, other books taking place during her life continued to be made.