Almost a hundred years later the Japanese modernist writer Natsume Sōseki composed I Am a Cat (1905–1906). Sardonically observing a group of middle-class characters, the house cat of the narration captures the uneasy mix of of Western culture and Japanese traditions characteristic of the Meiji era. Originally, the author wrote only a short story for a literary journal. It was such a success, though, that he was persuaded to add nine more installments, which were then published as a book. The novel was filmed in 1975 in a version directed by Kon Ichikawa (not seen).
Archy and Mehitabel is the title of a whimsical series of New York newspaper columns written by Don Marquis beginning in 1916. Archy was a cockroach who wrote in lower-case letters because he did not know how to operate the shift key. Waiting in the office until everyone had left, the insect would climb up onto the typewriter and hurl himself at the keys. Archy’s best friend is Mehitabel, a scrappy alley cat, who believes that she is a reincarnation of Cleopatra. Since Archy is the writerly one, we learn of Mehitabel’s opinions through his transcriptions. The views of the two creatures make up a satiric commentary on daily life in the city in the 1910s and 1920s.