Strange Life of a Cat


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Zheng Tan somehow returns to the year 2003, turning into a black cat. Picked up from a rubbish heap by the Jiao family, he is given the name “Charcoal”, and so begins the life inside Professor Jiao’s family. Zheng Tan remembers that he was once a person, but currently his body is that of a cat. He has no way of speaking the human language, but can understand it, and even retains the thinking and IQ of a young 20 year old youth. Read along as he adapts to this new world, and somehow tumbles from a group brawl to catching a thief.

Associated Names
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Related Series
Pet King (2)
The White Cat That Swore Vengeance Was Just Lazing on the Dragon King’s Lap (1)
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Meow Meow Meow (1)
I Reincarnated into an Otome Game as a Villainess With Only Destruction Flags… (1)
Chronicles of Primordial Wars (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. Well received Chi ML novels
  2. Non-humanoid Protagonist
  3. Novels I've read in 2021 + mini review
  4. Slice of Life Adventures
  5. List of Novels where the Protagonist Becomes an An...

Latest Release

Date Group Release
03/11/19 Webnovel c166
04/15/18 Webnovel c165
04/07/18 Webnovel c164
04/04/18 Webnovel c163
04/01/18 Webnovel c162
04/01/18 Webnovel c161
03/31/18 Webnovel c160
03/26/18 Webnovel c159
03/26/18 Webnovel c158
03/24/18 Webnovel c157
03/20/18 Webnovel c156
03/18/18 Webnovel c155
03/13/18 Webnovel c154
03/08/18 Webnovel c153
03/06/18 Webnovel c152
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18 Reviews sorted by

dustmite rated it
January 1, 2017
Status: c150
A must read for cat lovers!

Although the MC is a cat, he finds ways to go on adventures around the local neighborhood and make new friends that will later become familiar faces you'll look forward to in every single chapter. In addition to that, science facts are intertwined in the story, giving an interesting and rational twist. The story also follows the lives of the people around the MC, including the family who adopted him as well as those he has influenced, which makes this story have a well-fleshed... more>> out and believable setting.

The story flows smoothly as a plot of mystery develops in the background. It has elements of crime solving (people do get in bloody fights), entertainment industry in a way (from rags to riches via cat food ads), lessons from daily life, and adventures (with his cat bros, an ex soldier that has ambiguous morals and also an eccentric hipster CEO).


This is from the same author as star rank hunter and chronicles of primordial war. <<less
41 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
January 14, 2017
Status: --
Despite the fact that you're reading about a story from a cat's point of view, it's not boring at all. Actually, I was surprised it was so interesting.

The cat doesn't try to prove to everyone that he's a genius cat. He's just getting through life like an everyday cat and the family treat him as a smart cat who understands human speech.

You get to see interaction between the cat and his other animal friends. It's such a good idea because probably many are curious if animals have intelligence and if... more>> they're friends with each other when the owner is out of the house. The author really makes this fun to read. There's no direct dialogue since they can only make animal sounds but the cat has thoughts and surprisingly, there's Morse code! I would definitely recommend this, especially if you are sick of reading harem xianxia and other stereotypical novels. <<less
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Sicarius rated it
August 22, 2017
Status: c42
This was a pleasant surprise. I expected it to be a fun slice-of-life along the lines of 'Aristocats' or 'The secret life of pets' or one of the other innumerable animals-who-talk movies we all saw growing up. But Strange Life of a Cat is more interesting than my initial expectations.

This certainly is a slice-of-life, and is as heartwarming as much as any animated feature. But this is not the happy-fluffy disney world where the bad guys are bumbling animal control or comically evil fluffy white cats or whatever. No, SLC... more>> exists in the dangerous world of... urban China. Now, given the fact that our main character is a person who appears to have transmigrated back in time fifteen years into the body of a cat, there is some definite magic realism scattered around the world. But most of the danger our MC infrequently comes across is something any Chinese cat that ventures beyond the confines of the home might find. There is a certain culture shock for westerners reading this as we see a society where humane treatment for animals is by no means enshrined. Strays might be kicked or abused just because they're there. They even have to deal with the danger of being captured and sold to restaurants.

Also interesting is the spectrum of intelligence found in other animals than our MC. On the one hand we have a macaw who likes to sing old folk songs and can chat in fluent mandarin or a cat who is proficient in Morse code. Then there are others who are just as silly as any real animal. What is fun is that our MC doesn't really differentiate between them; some are his friends or acquaintances and they are who they are.

Another unique aspect of SLC is the way our MC interacts with humans, specifically 'his' family. They know and accept that he's about as smart as any human. He's treated as a big brother to the kids, albeit a furry one.

Chen Ci Lan Tiao is the author of several more mainstream adventure/xianxia series. But that's not to say this is xianxia with cats. Strange Life of a Cat is an excellent slice-of-life, and worth a read from even (or especially) those who don't enjoy martial arts adventures. This world is interesting and different, and the story is charming. Our main character is compelling, and the side characters are quirky and fun.

I heartily recommend this for anyone who needs a break from arrogant young masters and martial tournaments. <<less
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SayMrrp rated it
September 23, 2017
Status: c56
Remember, this is slice-of -life.

This story is great! It's unusual to see an human->animal MC especially in this type of premise. Although there isn't anything crazy like shapeshifting into a human (maybe later? Dunno, no hints dropped), the MC is a bit more special than the average cat. He's still got his average human intelligence though. Not a genius, but not dumb. The family he lives with treats him as a super smart/weird cat. He doesn't show off on purpose though. MC's personality is pretty badass and cool.

The side characters... more>> don't get much focus, but they're interesting enough. All the other cats/animals have some personality and its adorable. I don't have any pets, so I don't know how accurate the depictions of animals are, but it's cute.

There's some action, but it's a slice-of-life, so they're infrequent but good.

Lots of laughs from this. Mystery too. Some sad/serious stuff, but it's all okay.

Remember, no romance tag.


He saves some women though. He's rather popular too. He likes women, but no action so far. Also, some other dude's science poetry was hilarious.

10 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Piknos rated it
December 3, 2019
Status: c166
A captivating novel for all people. The story itself can be said to be plain, even boring but the way it's written is pretty much how the perfect slice of life novel should be written, even from the perspective of a cat. The pacing is moderate, it intertwines adorable interactions between the MC and the characters around him with moments of mischief in which he explores the world around him. The novel never feels boring or stagnant which is a pitfall a lot of SoL novels fall into.

Despite this, the... more>> only flaw that I can point out is that the novel is currently capped at chapter 166, the translator seems to have dropped off the face of the earth with no explanation. If you can stand that though, this is a definite must read, I'm sure it'll be worth your time! <<less
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Grc-Fr rated it
December 24, 2017
Status: c119
The slice of life storyline is very heartwarming, for someone who needs to pass some time alone, it truly shines above others considering how absurd the MC is (a cat).

Although there are several key actions that I am not sure how common cat actually able to execute those actions no matter how much time they spend on training...

In the end, it is still worthwhile to read if we choose to suspend our disbelief and chalk it over "reincarnation and spiritual" genre.
7 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Pfuong rated it
December 1, 2017
Status: --
At first I thought that it was some kind of a nonsense story with a cute cat as a MC and due to that I was rather hesitant to try it out, but when I read the comments I decided to give it a try. After all there is a saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”... and I took it literally...

to my surprise, I was actually hooked. Although it is fantasy/supernatural genre, the story was so well written that at some point you get the feeling that the... more>> story might have actually taken place somewhere but then you realise, “Ah! This supposed to be fantasy!”.

The MC is basically a “cat” now and doesn’t give a damn just like any other cat would. He does what comes to his mind and when there is an obstacle, he deals with it. Although that doesn’t mean he has to come to an end whith the issue because he doesn’t give a damn (A CAT), and this was so well portrayed by the author that I have to give a thumb up ??.

This is not some kind of a girly/romantic story but a rather cool and weirdly realistic one therefore it is very interesting and can be recommended to just about anyone. <<less
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Tsushiki rated it
September 21, 2017
Status: c57
Very interesting. I honestly didn't expect a cat novel to be this interesting. I got hook just reading the first few chapters and my only regret would be that this novel isn't fully translated. Now I'll have to wait...

Edit: Remembered that this was a chinese novel. I might end up reading the raws (my CN is only basic) if I can't be patient...
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Lanboy rated it
November 27, 2018
Status: c165
When I first saw this novel I wanted something fluffy and cute to read and boy I was glad it wasn't. This novel in the sense of plot is straightforward, but the story it tells is just that captivating and full of charm. Almost the entire cast (which is very big) has been well crafted to become realistic, it is surreal at times but the story doesn't dwell on it and moves on to the next event.

The main character is a prime example, he lived a loser's life of a... more>> thug and woke up as a cat in the past. He then is taken in by a family and the author begins to detail his personality. A personality of a cat, thing is he once hated them when he was human (quite the irony) ; he retains his intelligence of a human and puts it to use in meaningful or sometimes bizarre ways in the many events (serious or enjoyable). Then the story begins developing him as a whole; as, he would thereupon reflect on his human life full of wasted opportunity or enjoyment as a cat that now understood how he wasted his human life and resolves to life his cat life out (somewhat) properly. But even those seemingly big developments aren't stretched out or shoved in the reader's face too much; instead the story has the protagonist come to an understanding and becomes more attached to the family he wished he had (regardless of his selfishness).

I couldn't help but have a giddy smile as I read some of the funny events that unfolded or feel sympathetic when things got bad. Is the story the level to make you cry? Maybe, it depends on the reader and how well the author has taken hold of the reader's emotions. Which leads to the couple of flaws with this novel: it can be a bit disconnecting to the reader sometimes when the couple of static characters in the story or the events in the story become a little forced or unnatural. Like when you have a cast of well thought out and developed characters trying to work in conjunction with a static character who, for the better or the worse of the story, is too static and behaves unnaturally. Or when something completely bizarre (not supernaturally) takes center stage and has the situation seemingly built to be perfectly solved by the protagonist. Other than those and a couple of other flaws of that sort, the novel is very much a worthwhile read and should be read with an open mind. As the novel's shortcomings are outweighed by it's numerous strengths. <<less
3 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
ljin75651 rated it
April 9, 2018
Status: c164
There's just something really interesting about this slice-of-life. You basically read about the cat MC going around, doing his own thing, and how his actions affect others around him. We get introduced to a wide cast of characters, and they're interesting enough that you can basically remember all their names.

The MC has a personality that allows him to be content with his new life as a cat, especially with the family he is living with. So, we get to see a unique type of perspective from him, in which he... more>> acts as a human in some ways, but has otherwise totally accepted the fact that he is a cat.

In the beginning, the story might not seem to exciting, but eventually you'll get totally invested in seeing how this cat is living it up with his human family, his cat bros, or his other various human friends that he makes along the way. It is definitely the characters that are driving this plot along.... <<less
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Pachia rated it
December 3, 2017
Status: c105
As the title says it is the strange life of a cat, meaning Charcoal strange life as a cat. Despite being a cat, he keeps on getting involves in things that normally a 'normal' cat wouldn't. Though it mostly due to Zheng Tan acting like a human.

... more>>

For example, saving a lady who is more or less involved with the underground world, from a r*per; getting himself kidnapped by cat kidnappers, then call home; jumping around trees, by jumping on two legs (... the poor girl) ; now getting involved with babies kidnappers.

3 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
vasiliassy rated it
August 29, 2017
Status: c419
The most regert when read this novel is many of case didn't got a continuation and many of interesting character didn't have much appearance.

The politic scene is not very detail and not very good because the author didn't want to write more deep (I know he is capable to write it, but I don't understand why he didn't want to write it).

But overall is good (animal-human conflict).

... more>> The ending is very good. (Even make me really want to make fanfic to continue this story!)

The story is very interesting and good.

If the main dog character is not Sahara, I think the story will more interesting.

I mean I really want to see cat ninja and dog hunter level hard...

Sahara is just annoying dog that like to tease Zheng tan. Not very interesting.. just child play ?? <<less
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ryiryi rated it
August 31, 2018
Status: Completed
Omg! What a roller coaster ride. I feel all kind of emotions while reading this. MC which turned into a cat got into all kinds of trouble you can't imagine and made strange but powerful friends along the way.

A cat was given his own VVIP room in one of the most exclusive night club in town. This is just one of the many grand gifts he received due to his habits of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It had been an exciting ride. I feel sad that it had to end. I wish the author continue the story.
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
HaterOfHarem rated it
June 6, 2021
Status: Completed
I really love the story!!! But I hate how the author made the ending.

I wanna see them interact in his human form😭😭😭💓. I wanna see their reaction

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erynalu rated it
May 12, 2021
Status: c161
Aahhh I love Charcoal and the Jiao family!!

This is probably the most fun slice of life that I have read so far, though it's mixed with fantasy/supernatural element in which our protagonist is a human soul in a cat body. Adventuring together with Charcoal is so entertaining and I didn't even realize that I almost reached midway through the novel.

The characters are believable and world building is solid. I also learnt a lot from this novel, whether it's general knowledge, science, and also life lessons. Must read!
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Meloman rated it
May 3, 2018
Status: c419
i love this story. A bit slow at the beginning, but so worth the read. So "cat-like", you don't pull my whiskers- I won't scratch you. The characters are great, the cat is great.

also I just found out two days ago that the author is same for another novel I'm following- superstars of tmw, and there are two other novels in translation of the same author, also not bad at all. But I love strange life of a cat novel the most out of those four.

if you like "non human... more>> protagonist" stories- this is a must read.

slice of life, but does have edgy chapters with cruelty... but, thankfully a smart MC


I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this story. Just finished reading in mtl. So worth it (btw the mts is rather good one, pm me for a link if you want)

absolutely fabulous idea and story telling

the pace picks up after the first 100 ch or so, really a great read.

1 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
OfficePony rated it
March 18, 2018
Status: c155
One of the better Chinese Novels out there. It follows the adventures and fortunes of a very singular cat and his surroundings.

Grammar is spot on, with the occasional stumble in word flow, though I myself was hard pressed to find a better way to word those parts. The Story is quite nice, the writing style is superb, and the translation quality as far as I can tell is flawless.

If I had to nitpick about anything, it would be the slow release schedule, but then again, I can never have enough... more>> to read of something this good. <<less
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Nyarisa rated it
June 1, 2021
Status: Completed
Man I'm so sad that this stopped translating at chapter 166. Welp at least you can read the MTL version if you google for it

The only thing I didn't like was that the author skipped a couple years near around 400s (ex. Jiao Yuan was in senior year of middle school in one chapter and the next he's in senior year high school and going to college). Smh, I wanted to read more Charcoal shenanigans

The open ending kind of made me upset because ... more>>

it ends when Zheng Tan regains his human body and only knocked on Professor Jiao's office door. I wanted to see ZT talk with papa Jiao and Youzi in the office 😭 The Jiao family thought Charcoal was lost for 5 days, I wanted to see their reunion and how ZT will integrate back into Jiao family's lives and if he tells any of his other human friends.

But I guess it technically wraps it up nicely with this open ending, since it allows the reader to imagine how ZT and Jiao's reunion goes.

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