Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong

Essays edited by Caroline Casey, Chris Fischbach, and Sarah Schultz

September 15, 2015 • 6 x 9 • 208 pages • 978-1-56689-411-1

The most interesting writers we know, all asking and answering the same question: why can’t we stop watching cat videos?

Fourteen writers, all addressing not just our fascination with cat videos, but also how we decide what is good or bad art, or art at all; how taste develops, how that can change, and why we love or hate something. It’s about people and technology and just what it is about cats that makes them the internet’s cutest despots.

Contributors include:

Sasha Archibald • Will Braden • Stephen Burt • Maria Bustillos • David Carr Matthea Harvey • Alexis Madrigal • Joanne McNeil • Ander Monson • Kevin Nguyen • Elena Passarello • Jillian Steinhauer • Sarah Schultz • Carl Wilson.

Thanks to a 2013 ADA Access Improvement Grant administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, this title is also formatted for screen readers which make text accessible to the blind and visually impaired. To purchase this title for use with a screen reader please call (612) 338-0125 or email us at info@coffeehousepress.org.


Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong is a playful and unpredictable elevator ride between high and low, between Derrida and Grumpy Cat, between Baudrillard and a feline dressed as a shark that likes to ride a vacuum cleaner. . . . The magic of Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong is that its audience is all-inclusive. . . . Enjoying the book is in no way contingent upon an art background or owning a cat.” Kirkus

“The essays have an eclectic and joyful appeal. . . . Cat lovers will adore these creative reflections on the frivolity and the necessity of pets and the Web videos many believe to be ‘the ice cream of moving imagery.’” Kirkus

“This clever collection is highly recommended for people who watch cat videos, which is apparently nearly everyone.” Publishers Weekly

“Readers should expect to find more awe than ‘aw’ in this book, a shift that signals Coffee House Books has maintained the line of inquiry first embarked upon by the Walker Art Center and the lineage of artists whose works precipitated the event in the first place. In this collection, the focus rightly returns to the ancient impulse to pay cat obeisance and the realization that this obeisance (which is sometimes called art) has been sustained for nearly all of the Holocene.” The Rumpus

“There’s something perverse about making a traditional paper book about Internet ephemera . . . [and] it’s precisely this kind of ambivalent-yet-appealing perversity that makes the anthology Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong an entire book of essays dedicated to cat videos, such a delight.” Chicago Tribune

“Cats have a hold on us—even those of us who do not consider ourselves a ‘cat person.’ And now cat videos do too. All it takes is a click of a mouse, or, in the case of Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong, the turn of a page, to find out why.” AV Club

“Fourteen writers take on perhaps the most important cultural issue of our time: figure out what we’re talking about when we're talking about cat videos.” —New York Magazine

“It’s not just about cats, it’s about this internet phenomena and what it says about humanity. The pieces range from philosophical to deeply personal stories. . . . If you’re interested in internet culture, don’t miss this book.” BookRiot

“14 funny, fascinating essays by noted writers.” Star Tribune

“Contributors provide surprising insights about what our impulse to watch YouTube clips of felines says about them and us.” The Week

“What’s behind the cat video phenomenon? Local publisher Coffee House Press attempts to answer that question in the new book, Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong.” MPR

“The festival inspired a forthcoming collection of essays, Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong, with references to Georg Hegel, Immanuel Kant and, naturellement, semiotician Jacques Derrida—diffident cats tending to bring out the French in admirers.” Washington Post

“With [this] new book, Minneapolis publisher makes the case that cat videos are a form of, yes, art” MinnPost

“Those upset by the [outcome of the CatVidFest contest] need only to read Maria Bustillos’s ‘Hope Is the Thing with Fur,’ her contribution to the Coffee House Press cat video essay collection, Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong. She writes: ‘Cat videos are the crystallization of all that human beings love about cats, the crux of which is centered in the fact that cats are both beautiful and absurd.’” City Pages

“Finally, I get to Write About Cats” Bookmobile Blog

“A lot of fun and one to store away for the holidays for someone who loves cat videos.” BookRiot