The unnamed protagonists of this quaint novella are a young man and his wife living in the guesthouse of a mansion. A neighbor one day adopts a stray cat that they name Chibi, and before long Chibi comes to visit the man and wife.
The Guest Cat is the story of how the couple and the cat become familiar with one another, Chibi eventually coming to spend hours a day in their home. She becomes a staple in their lives, a feature that would come to determine certain aspects of their future.
This book was not on my to-read list before I found it at my local library. I broke my #1 rule by letting it skip ahead of the list. But anyone who knows me could have guessed that I couldn’t resist a Japanese book about a cat.
That being said, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Having been written by a poet, the book is lyrical and bittersweet, but a little more shallow than I was expecting. Maybe this would have changed if Hiraide had given himself more than 140 pages to develop the story.
TL;DR: I gave it 2 of 5 stars, but if it sounds interesting to you, 140 pages are probably worth the risk of maybe not enjoying it.