Short Stories About Dogs or Cats

This page contains stories that have a dog or cat as a main character or one of them plays an important role in the plot.

See also Animals

For stories where animals talk or are stand-ins for humans, see Allegories

Dogs

A Dark-Brown Dog | Stephen Crane

A dog follows a small boy home, even though the boy tries to scare the dog away with beatings. They become close, but the other members of the family continue to treat the dog badly.

Read “A Dark-Brown Dog”

How to Touch a Bleeding Dog | Rod Kessler

A man takes a dog to the vet when it gets hit by a car. He’s responsible for it, but it’s not his—it’s his wife’s, but she is no longer with him.

Read “How to Touch a Bleeding Dog”

In the Zoo | Jean Stafford

A visit to a zoo reminds two sisters of a childhood friend, an alcoholic with a lot of animals, who gave them a puppy. Their foster mother had a bad effect on the dog.

The Baron’s Wonderful Dog | R. E. Raspe

A hunter goes out looking for partridges with his wife, his lieutenant, a servant, and his dog. When he comes across some partridges, he finds that only his dog is still with him.

Read “The Baron’s Wonderful Dog” (Pg 577)

To Build a Fire | Jack London

In the Yukon, a man is traveling on foot with a husky in the wilderness to meet some acquaintances. It’s – 75 degrees and even though he’s careful, he breaks through some ice and soaks his boots, necessitating a fire.

Read “To Build a Fire”

The End of Old Horse | Simon J. Ortiz

Two brothers, Native American boys, go to a creek to fish and keep cool on a hot day. On their way, they see Old Horse, a dog, tied up, straining excitedly against his rope. They tell the owner, but he says to ignore it.

A Fire-Fighters Dog | Arthur Quiller-Couch

Chance, a dog, lives near a fire station in London. He goes there repeatedly despite being brought home by his master. Eventually, he is allowed to stay.

Read “A Fire-Fighters Dog” (Use Ctl + F to find title)

Uncle Dick’s Rolf | Georgiana M. Craik

Uncle Dick tells the story of when he and his dog Rolf were out walking on a perfect African summer day. Dick decides he wants to go for a swim. As he undresses, Rolf interferes, excitedly jumping up at him and trying to drag him away from the river bank.

Read “Uncle Dick’s Rolf” (Pg 68)

Ulysses and the Dogman | O. Henry

The streets of New York are full of men obligated to take their dogs for a walk. Two men who haven’t seen each other in five years, Jim and Sam, meet up and decide they need a drink.

Read “Ulysses and the Dogman”

Memoirs of a Yellow Dog | O. Henry

A yellow dog briefly narrates its life story. It comes to live with an annoying woman with a henpecked husband. He feels an affinity to the man and tries to help them both.

Read “Memoirs of a Yellow Dog”

Cats

The Philanthropist and the Happy Cat | Saki

Jocantha Bessbury is a comfortable and contented wife. She suspects that only her cat, Attab, is more contented than herself. Wanting to spread good cheer, Jocantha decides to buy theatre tickets and give them away to a shop girl who couldn’t afford them on her own. Meanwhile, the cat goes about his usual routine.

Read “The Philanthropist and the Happy Cat”

Edward the Conqueror | Roald Dahl

A woman rescues a stray cat that seems to show appreciation for the piano music she plays. She comes to believe that the cat is the reincarnation of a famous composer.

Read “Edward the Conqueror” (PDF Pg 83)

Tobermory | Saki

At a party at a country house, a guest announces that he can teach animals to speak. As proof, he produces the host’s cat, Tobermory, who proceeds to embarrass the guests by revealing details of private conversations.

Read “Tobermory”

The Cat | Banjo Paterson

The narrator explains the character of cats and how they get satisfaction from life. He contrasts the cat’s behavior in a domesticated and a free environment.

Read “The Cat”

The Cats of Ulthar | H.P. Lovecraft

In the town of Ulthar, an old couple takes pleasure in killing any cats that stray onto their property. The townspeople are afraid of them and stay away, but when a kitten from a group of travelers goes missing, they take action.

Read “The Cats of Ulthar”

An Incident | Anton Chekhov

Two children wake up one morning, tired and unmotivated, until they hear that the cat has had kittens. The children become focused on the kittens, losing interest in their usual activities. The rest of the family doesn’t care very much.

Read “An Incident”

The Garden of Stubborn Cats | Italo Calvino

As a city in Italy has expanded, it has restricted the movement of cats. On his lunch break, Marcovaldo follows a cat and discovers some of its world, eventually finding a garden of cats on an undeveloped piece of land.

Read “The Garden of the Stubborn Cats”

Cat in the Rain | Ernest Hemingway

An American couple is on vacation in Italy. The wife looks out the window at the rain and sees a cat huddled under a table. She wants to go down and take it in out of the rain.

Read “Cat in the Rain”

The Town of Cats | Hagiwara Sakutaro

The narrator used to take many drug-induced voyages. They had a bad effect on his health. He starts taking long walks, ending up in an unfamiliar, charming town. He relates one such walk he took while staying at a resort.

Cats only make a brief appearance in this story.

Read “The Town of Cats” (scroll down over half way)