Author & Illustrator
Emmaline and the Bunny

The Story of the Real Lulu

Ida B has a cat named Lulu, but there is a real Lulu who lives in Iowa and was the inspiration for the cat in the book. This is the story of how Katherine Hannigan got Lulu.

One Saturday morning ten years ago, I took my cat Mackie to the vet.

While Mackie and I waited in the lobby, a man entered the office. In one hand, he had a washcloth wrapped around something very small. He walked over to me, held out his hand, and slowly opened the washcloth.

Inside was a tiny, tiny kitten. It cried a tiny, tiny cry, “Mew.”

“This kitten is just a day old,” he said. “It was abandoned by its mother. I can’t take care of it. Will you take it?” he asked.

That kitten was so small in his hand. It needed a home. It needed food. It needed love.

So I said, “No way.”

“I’m very busy,” I told him. “And I don’t need another cat.”

“Please?” he said.

“Un-unh,” I answered.

“Pretty please.”


“I have a little boy,” he begged. “I can’t take care of a kitten, too. Will you please, please take this cat?”

So I said, “Nnnnooooo…okay.” And I brought her home.

For weeks, Lulu had to sleep on a heating pad, because there was no mother cat or kittens to keep her warm. She had to be fed kitten formula from a tiny bottle every two hours during the day, and every four hours at night.

Lulu as a baby

From the beginning, Lulu had a lot of hair. As she grew, she got even more hair. In the summer, her hair is shorter, but in the winter it gets long, so she looks like a woolly mammoth.

Lulu in winter

Lulu loves to be outside. She is an excellent hunter, and she likes to bring me presents. Cat presents, like mice and bats and birds. Then she likes me to say, “Oh, Lulu. Thank you very much.”


Lulu pretending to be a panther

Over the years, I’ve known a lot of cats. I’ve found homes for some, and some have found homes with me.

Mackie, George and Beezus - Cats

But there is no other cat like Lulu.

She is the star of the family.

Lulu on the roof