You’ve got dogs wearing glasses, dogs wearing bow ties, dogs wearing hats: pointy, straw, Santa. Dogs grinning. Dogs knee-deep in mud, dogs tucked up in bed with a bag of popcorn and the TV remote. Dogs, it seems, have no dignity. Dogs will do anything for a treat.

And then there are cats: sly, coy, peevish. A few will tolerate the odd hat or sweater, but you can tell by their faces that they aren’t getting into it. They are enduring it. They are thinking snide thoughts about their owners. In Latin.

The genesis of these books — “Cats on Instagram” and “Dogs on Instagram” — is, of course, social media. The Instagram account @dogsofinstagram was started by Minnesotan Ahmed El Shourbagy and his then-girlfriend (now wife) Ashley Paguyo; it has 3.5 million followers.

The @cats_of_instagram, for reasons I cannot possibly explain, has 7 million.

Text in these books is minimal — nonexistent, really, beyond a few silly captions (“Every day is National Dog Day”). These aren’t books to read, but books to flip through.


Laurie Hertzel is the Star Tribune’s senior editor for books.

Dogs on Instagram
By: Ahmed El Shourbagy.
Publisher: Chronicle Books, $16.95.

Cats on Instagram
By: Eli Omidi.
Publisher: Chronicle Books, $16.95.