The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles by Kij Johnson

The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles - Kij Johnson, Goni Montes

Set in Japan many years ago, this story began with a family of female cats living in the garden of an abandoned house, where they have all the comforts they could wish for - trees to climb, mice to hunt, streams of water, etc. These cats teach other the fudoki; the tales of their ancestors, passed down from generation to generation.

And in this little haven of a home, Small Cat was born. Under these circumstances, she lived a happy, idyllic childhood, but as with all happy idyllic things, it doesn't last. Disaster struck in the form of a raging fire, and all the cats were left without a home and separated from each other.

Now all the small cat has left was her fudoki. Her favourite tale was The Cat From The North - and so she decided there's where she would go. To find the home of her feline ancestors. And thus began her journey of a thousand miles.

Along the way she had many adventures, landed herself in mortal peril several times, nearly joined another family of cats but realised she couldn't when they asked if she was ready to learn their fudoki, and ran away. At one point she nearly became The Cat Who Climbed Mount Fuji instead, and it was a good thing she did not, for I doubt she would've lived to tell the tale.

To conclude, this story is cute. Light reading, and if you're looking for dark fantasy, look elsewhere :P