Kitten Cat could not fly from the clothesline, and the birds laughed at her. She could not open nuts, nor hop on lily pads, nor crow like a cockerel. Dejected she cries to her mother “I can’t do anything. I’m only a cat!”
Springing proudly to her feet, Mom announces “Only a cat indeed! …follow me.” Here appears the unmistakable theme: Kitten Cat should learn her own talents, rather than risk disappointment copying the skills of others.
The theme of Only a Cat is somewhat weakened by the fact that Kitten Cat really only learns her abilities by copying her mother, rather than working to discover them herself. Nonetheless, the message of “learning one’s own talents” refutes those who cravenly argue “we are only human”. Children should believe humans have a lot of talent, but like Kitten Cat, they must discover their personal talents.
Never let the things you can’t do stop you from doing the things you can.
The often intriguing illustrations catch Kitten Cat’s character well. There is a certain modernist influence, with soulless eyes, awkward features and feet that do not seem to touch the ground they are on —not the sort of world a real Kitten Cat works in.