Leonard Wibberley's Books

Leonard Wibberley's Books

We are the family of the late Leonard Wibberley, and we are currently in the process of getting Leonard's books available in ebook format. Leonard also wrote mysteries under the pen names Leonard Holton. Sign up for his newsletter at to receive columns written by Leonard Wibberley that were syndicated by newspapers nationally over his lifetime. You will also receive news of the upcoming releases of the ebook editions of his many novels.


Motley—The Famous Sea Cat

By Leonard Wibberley

Originally Published January 14, 1979


The collective for lions is pride—so that one speaks of a pride of lions and a stand of trees, a gaggle of geese and a pod of whales.


And is it, perhaps, a push of people?


I have been trying to find the collective for cats and cannot come up with it. Perhaps contemplation would be the word—a contemplation of cats, for of all familiar creatures it seems to me that cats are in constant contemplation.


But then again one hardly ever sees a crowd of cats, for they seem to prefer solitude except in the frenzy of the night and that may be the reason I cannot find a collective for them.


Cats have been constantly in my life ever since some 20 years ago when my daughter wanted a kitten for Christmas.


There are not many kittens available at Christmas time, but I found a black and white one for her which became the matriarch of a long line of cats of a variety of colors, for the original cat was adventurous in her affairs and her children and their children inherited the tendency.


I am not myself fond of cats and I am not at all sure that they themselves approve of me. They endure me, I suppose. They tolerate me and are amused at my graceless, un-feline behavior.


I once asked that original black-and-white white cat what she thought of me and the reply was chilling. She closed her eyes and passed her pink tongue over her lips as if savoring a meal.


After that I was never quite at ease in a room alone with her.

Her offspring were all cats of character. We kept one from each litter, gave the others away and had the mother altered and so we were able to control the cat population around the house.


One of her line, the only one I was really fond of, became a famous sea cat, for I took her to Hawaii as a kitten on my boat.


Alas, though weaned, she was really too young to leave her mother. She had not learned to cope with fleas and was soon crawling with them so that I had to give her a bath several times which was the equivalent of picking up handfuls of fishhooks and rubbing them with soap and then toweling them.


But eventually the fleas were brought under control and Motley (that was her name) settled down to the voyage.


In sailing through the tropical waters, flying fish and tiny squid fling themselves aboard at night and when the first arrived, wriggling in the cockpit, Motley reverted to her ancestors of millions of years before and became a sabre-toothed tiger.


She was on the fish in a moment, all claws, teeth and savagery, killed it quickly and then, hissing if anyone approached, devoured the whole thing.


She had soon discovered that the ocean was the source of this delicious largesse and would spend hours walking perilously along the gunwale, watching the rolling blue ocean and awaiting another handout.


Cats, of course, are supposed to be afraid of water—but Motley had not been long enough with her mother to learn this fear.


When we arrived at Lahaina (19 days out and the Genoa ripped three times) and had cleared health and customs inspection, we were warned that the cat must not be allowed ashore in keeping with the regulations for the control of rabies.


It was useless to argue that Motley could not possibly be rabid, having been quarantined by being almost three weeks at sea. There was nothing in regulations to cover cats that had been yachting. So we would leave her whenever we rowed ashore.


And Motley would jump into the water and swim behind the dinghy. She swam with great energy and delight. We would pick her out of the water and put her back on board or give her another boat to cat-sit until we returned.


Eventually, Motley came to despise the land and in the heat of the afternoon would often jump overboard and go for a swim in the harbor.


When I brought her home, invigorated by the sea voyage, she had a stupendous litter of kittens.


EDITORIAL NOTE FROM LEONARD'S SON: Soon after the voyage, Motley was spayed, but the operation was botched. Leonard tried everything he could to save her but couldn't. It was the first time I saw my father cry. We always had cats after that.






Motley was the inspiration for Leonard's Thanksgiving Poem for Children—The Ballad of the Pilgrim Cat, now only 99-cents on Kindle.


Download the FREE 22-minute audiobook here.


Check out Robin Leigh Morgan's 5-star review by clicking this link:






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Leonard Wibberley's Pen Name
Leonard Wibberley's Pen Name



Leonard Holton is the pen name for Leonard Wibberley, author of The Mouse That Roared. As Leonard Holton, Wibberley wrote the "Father Joseph Bredder" mystery series which were named A Red Badge Novel of Suspense alongside Agatha Christie, Michael Innes, and Hugh Pentecost.




Father Joseph Bredder was a decorated sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. before becoming a Franciscan priest and amateur detective who both solves crimes and saves souls.


When Father Bredder gets involved with murder—Heaven only knows what will happen next…





“The Father Bredder stories are notable for their warmth of characterization and the wit and wisdom which grace their pages.”—Dodd, Mead & Company


The Father Bredder Mystery Series


The Saint Maker (Now Available on Kindle)

Secret of the Doubting Saint (Now Available on Kindle)

Deliver Us from Wolves (Now Available on Kindle)

A Pact with Satan

Flowers by Request

Out of the Depths

A Touch of Jonah

A Problem in Angels

The Mirror of Hell

The Devil to Play

A Corner of Paradise

Sign up for our monthly newsletter at to receive columns written by Leonard Wibberley that were syndicated by newspapers nationally over his lifetime. You will also receive news of the upcoming releases of the ebook editions of his many novels.


The Mouse That Roared: eBook Edition (The Grand Fenwick Series 1) - Leonard Wibberley

In Leonard Wibberley’s classic political satire, a tiny backwards country decides the only way to survive a sudden economic downturn is to declare war on the United States and lose to get foreign aid – but things don’t go according to plan.


The Mouse That Roared was made into a successful feature film in 1959 starring Peter Sellers.




“As funny as it is charming.”

The New York Times


“Along with his beautifully cockeyed humor, his lovely faculty for needlesharp, ironic jabs delivered where they'll do the most good, and his nice talent for storytelling, Wibberley has serious things to suggest and he suggests them admirably.”

San Francisco Chronicle



– Christian Science Monitor


“Fantastic, uproarious farce ... Taken as a plea for sanity in an era that often makes no sense Whatsoever, The Mouse That Roared has a lot for readers to ponder.”

Saturday Review


“An enchanting performance. Wibberley has further polished his sound and pleasant style, whose unruffled simplicity points up the humor and contributes a good deal of our entranced suspension of disbelief.”

– New York Herald Tribune




Books 2 through 5 are best read after The Mouse That Roared, but all of the books can be read and enjoyed at any point in the series.


The Mouse That Roared (Book 1)

The Mouse On The Moon (Book 2)

The Mouse On Wall Street (Book 3)

The Mouse That Saved The West (Book 4)

Beware of The Mouse (A Grand Fenwick Prequel) (Book 5)


currently reading

Progress: 100%
A Pact With Satan (The Father Bredder Mysteries Book 2) - Leonard Holton
Flowers By Request - Leonard Holton
The Centurion: A Roman Soldier's Testament of the Passion of Christ - Leonard Wibberley
Beware Of The Mouse - Leonard Wibberley