Another Insane Devotion: On the Love of Cats and Persons



From “a genuine American Dostoevsky” (The Washington Post): a dazzling, funny, bittersweet exploration of the mysteries of relationship, both human and animal.

When his favorite cat Biscuit goes missing, Peter Trachtenberg sets out to find her. The journey takes him 700 miles and many years into his past-- into the history of his relationships with cats and the history of his relationship with his wife F., who may herself be on the verge of disappearing. What ensues is a work that recalls travel narratives from The Incredible Journey to W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn. Trachtenberg ponders the mysteries of feline intelligence (why do cats score worse on some tests than pigeons?), the origins of their domestication, their terrible treatment during the Middle Ages. He also looks at the riddle of why any of us loves whom we love and all the unforeseen places to which that devotion leads us.



North American publisher: Da Capo

Foreign rights: Jennifer Thompson (

Foreign rights sold: Korean to Chaeksesang Pub. Co.; Japanese to Ronsosha

Film rights: Gillian MacKenzie (


“Trachtenberg is an impish and intelligent essayist, his writing sinuous and sensual.... [He] is an extraordinarily perceptive observer of cats and persons, but to observe, after all, is never to truly know. To his great credit, he embraces this, and his uncertainty brings the profoundest rewards. Not many things are better than a kitten, but a book like this comes close.” —The New York Times

“This is Peter’s best book … absolutely riveting.” —Eileen Myles, author of Cool for You and Inferno

“I am not a cat person—I approach each one on a cat-by-cat basis—yet Peter Trachtenberg is such a wonderful writer, and this book is so damn good, that I found myself carried along by its lucidity, its generosity, its deep wisdom. In the end, of course, Another Insane Devotion is about much more than cats.” —Nick Flynn, award-winning author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City