Out-of-Print Gem: Rich Cat, Poor Cat (1963)

The other day at the library I discovered a Bernard Waber book I’ve never seen before: Rich Cat, Poor Cat. And I am in love.The concept couldn’t be simpler. Each left-hand page shows the cushy, pampered life of a rich cat (clearly, a member of cat society’s 1%). Each right-hand page shows the contrasting life of a penurious streetcat named Scat.

There isn’t much of a plot per se, but no matter. It’s sweet, witty, and gorgeous to look at. The scenes of ’60s New York are stunning. How can you not love the outfit on this woman?

Of course, there’s a happy ending for Scat, with a great little twist on the last page. It’s hard to get hold of an original copy of this book (there’s a seller on EBay offering it right now for $99), but I just bought a copy of the 1970 Scholastic paperback on Etsy for $3.00. Now I won’t be tempted to “lose” my library’s copy.


2 thoughts on “Out-of-Print Gem: Rich Cat, Poor Cat (1963)

  1. Amber Humphreys

    I recognized the author’s name from Ira Sleeps Over and Lyle Lyle Crocodile, but like you wasn’t really familiar with Rich Cat, Poor Cat. (Did it influence Rich Man, Poor Man?)

    I’m an elementary school teacher who loves to read. My students heard over 250 stories last school year. I inherited the book: Rich Cat, Poor Cat when moving into a new classroom. I just finished reading it, for the first time this morning (during summer break) and l-o-v-e-d it! It is missing the page with the copyright so I googled it to find the original publishing date. Loved your article that I stumbled upon, even though it is 5 years old, it is pertinent and right what I need to inspire me to obtain his book: Ask Me. Thanks so much for the push!

    You might want to look for the book: Buttons by Tom Robinson illustrated by Peggy Bacon. (original copyright 1938 but renewed in 1966. I have the 1968 edition.) It complements: Rich Cat, Poor Cat

    1. Mrs. Little Post author

      Hi Amber!
      I have never heard of the book “Buttons.” I’m going to look for it! I love that era of children’s books, so thank you so much for the recommendation. Also, I like that you remember “Rich Man, Poor Man.” As kids, my brother and I always loved the title of that TV show! (So catchy.) Never read the book though.


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