Posted in Reviews

Review: The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie

The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie

Recommended: heck yeah!
For a cute series of anecdotes narrated by a cat, for relatable parables and advice, for a gentle introduction to Buddhism


“In the months that followed I watched His Holiness working on a new book . . . I began to think that perhaps the time had come for me to turn my paws to a book of my own . . . one that tells my own tale . . . How I was rescued from a fate too grisly to contemplate, to become constant companion to a man who is not only one of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, but who is also a dab hand with the can opener.”

Not so much fly-on-the-wall as cat-on-the-sill, this is the warmhearted tale of a small kitten rescued from the slums of New Delhi who finds herself in a beautiful sanctuary with sweeping views of the snow-capped Himalayas. In her exotic new home, the Dalai Lama’s cat encounters Hollywood stars, Buddhist masters, Ivy-league professors, famous philanthropists, and a host of other people who come visiting His Holiness. Each encounter offers a fresh insight into finding happiness and meaning in the midst of a life of busy-ness and challenge. Drawing us into her world with her adorable but all-too-flawed personality, the Dalai Lama’s cat discovers how instead of trying to change the world, changing the way we experience the world is the key to true contentment.

Featuring a delightful cast of characters, timeless Buddhist wisdom, and His Holiness’s compassion pervading every chapter, The Dalai Lama’s Cat is simply enchanting.


When I decided to read this, I didn’t realize how much of a focus on Buddhism there was. I’m so happy for it though, because it was a wonderful way to learn about it and many of the ideas resonated with me. It was a very gentle approach, and was made entertaining by the narrative perspective of a cat. I loved it so much that I’m probably going to look up other similar books in this series as well as ones mentioned in the book itself.

I knew very little about Buddhism before going into this, but dang am I appreciative of it now! Learning that one of the most essential tenet of Buddhism is to focus on others to increase your own happiness is just my favorite thing. Having a religion (I guess it’s a religion?) that’s focused around being kind and helping others… while that’s probably what a lot of religions would tout they also focus on, with Buddhism I actually believe it. It sounds like a wonderful way to live, enough so that I’m genuinely thinking about ways it can fit into my own life.

Besides the Buddhist information and little parables, this was also just a really cute story. The premise of it being narrated by a cat makes it have a really fun perspective. She is so sharp with her insights about humans (and herself!) and it also adds a distance that prevents anything from feeling judgy or preachy. I don’t know how much similarity and truth there is to the daily life of the Dalai Lama shown here, but it was interesting regardless to learn a bit about monks and the practice.

So I super loved this. It taught me a lot, entertained me, and made me reflect on my life and how I can focus on others. Immediately after finishing, I looked up volunteer opportunities online and signed up to help one, and spent an hour online helping one that same night. Hopefully some long-term in person ones will be available near me soon too!


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

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