I'm looking for a book that I read in 3rd grade. It was about a girl whose neighbor was an odd woman. The girl believes the woman is a witch because she people in the neighborhood disappear and the woman has many many cats, each with a name that are the missing neighbor's initials (e.g. CJ). That is unfortunately all I can remember about this book, and it's been driving me crazy trying to find it! Please help!

  • What about this book is science fiction or fantasy?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 19:19
  • 7
    @Valorum, a witch turning people into cats seems fantastic enough, surely?
    – rojomoke
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 19:24
  • @rojomoke - Is she though? This reads like the townspeople suspect an elderly lady of being a witch because of her unusual cat-naming-practices.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 19:25
  • 1
    I think there's sufficient reason to assume this is fantasy that we should leave it up.
    – Adamant
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 22:25
  • 1
    She kills the old ladies cat with her 'friends' then goes to apologize and the old lady feeds her milk. She falls asleep and wakes up as a cat. Right?
    – agh96
    Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 5:15

2 Answers 2


This sounds like "No Such Thing as a Witch" by Ruth Chew. Here is an excerpt from her summary:

Nora and Tad are given fudge by a neighbor named Maggie Brown who has a lot of pets. After her brother and father start acting strangely, she deduces that one piece of fudge makes you like animals and that two lets you understand what they say. Mrs. Cooper gets angry when Tad and Mr. Cooper start feeding Skipper people food, and Nora goes over to complain to Maggie, who explains that the fudge wears off after a while. Nora and Tad visit Maggie again and pretend to each eat one piece of fudge. They each also take an extra piece. When they get it home, Tad eats two pieces, then three, starts acting a bit like a cat, then takes Nora's, and turns into a cat.

You can read some of the book on Google Books here and see if it matches what you remember.


Some details sound like it could be "The Cat Sitter Mystery" by Carol Adorjan.


There was something scary about the house next door. Beth certainly didn't believe in ghosts, but the big old mansion set in the shadows did look haunted. Even Mrs. Goodall, the owner, looked a little like a witch, with bright red hair that was green at the roots. But she had lots of cats, and Beth loved cats.

But when Beth agreed to take care of the cats while Mrs. Goodall was away, all kinds of strange things began to happen. Every time she went over to feed the cats she heard creaking noises coming from different parts of the house ...doors opened and closed by themselves...and lights mysteriously went on and off. Something beside the cats was lurking in the house next door!



"Mrs. Goodall's a witch," Tiffany Tanner said.

..."What makes you think she's a witch?"

"She has a black cat, doesn't she?"

"Lots of people have black cats, Tiffany."

"Maybe they're all witches," Tiffany said.

Cats' names are initials:

O.C., F.C., C.C., L.C. Such strange names for cats. Like people's initials. Suppose they were people's initials. Suppose Tiffany was right. B.C., Beth thought. Beth Carew.

How much more exciting it would have been if Mrs. Goodall were a witch! If someone were imprisoned in the attic, or if the cats were not cats at all, but people under a spell,...

You can read it on archive.org.

  • I don't think it's science fiction or fantasy (though I haven't read it), but I guess it could be moved to literature - if Katie comes back and confirms.
    – Ayshe
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 12:47
  • Too old to migrate at this point.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 13:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.