Curl Up with a Book and a Kitten at Pillow-Cat Books
The East Village indie bookshop curates animal-centric publications from Beatrix Potter and Louis Wain to avant-garde manga zines and black-and-white photo tomes.
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Nestled in the heart of the East Village, Pillow-Cat Books rubs shoulders with neighborhood staples Veselka and the Angelika Theatre, embodying the best of an iconic area which is sadly becoming rapidly commercialized. New York’s “first animal-focused bookshop” takes pride in its whimsical contribution to an otherwise dwindling community of local artists.
Pillow-Cat Books is a family affair. Owner Cleo Le-Tan has always had an affinity for animals, growing up with them in France. She recently rescued a kitten, appropriately named Pillow, who takes her job as shop mascot very seriously, sunbathing on the window sill and cat-napping in the display case. Le-Tan’s sister, Olympia, is the head of visual merchandising, but you may know her as the designer of her eponymous line of velvet flats embroidered with cat faces and handbags fashioned after literary classics — one even features artwork from the original Cats Broadway Playbill.
Literary classics also line the avocado-green shelves at Pillow-Cat Books, from Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit tales to Charlotte’s Web to Aesop’s Fables. Make no mistake, this is not a children’s bookstore, at least not exclusively — the only shop rule is that an animal feature in a book. So you’ll also find more scientific, artistic, and avant-garde titles including a 101-year-old copy of Louis Wain’s illustrated Annuals of anthropomorphic cats, black-and-white photo tomes by Hungarian animal photography pioneer YLLA, Japanese manga magazines, adult short stories by myriad international authors, dog training manuals, and tongue-in-cheek offerings such as The Life & Death of Fritz the Cat — the main character of which is described as a “horny, hip-talking feline.”
The animal theme extends to the decor. Faux fur rugs shaped like tigers and panda bears (for sale), and zebra-printed chairs offer cozy spots to curl up on and flip through old favorites and new finds, perhaps alongside the likes of Sevingys and Skarsgards. Only one question remains: Can I bring my dog? Yes!
Benedict Cumberbatch plays the quirky artist famous for his fanciful illustrations of cats.
Striking photographs and captivating anecdotes about LGBTQ+ trailblazers and their feline friends, from Freddie Mercury and Janis Joplin to Alison Bechdel and Tig Notaro.
Avery is an editor at The Wildest. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her boyfriend and cat, Chicken, and has high hopes that one of them will let her adopt a dog.