The secrets of How to Be Your Own Cat
go back to the Meiji period of Japan, when cat people wrote books in between naps. For example, the author of the Japanese classic I Am a Cat
was himself a feline: "Choosing a kitten for the main character has a two-fold meaning as Sōseki was, in fact, himself a stray kitten" (Aiko Ito & Graeme Wilson's introduction to Sōseki Natsume's I Am a Cat).
Our illustration from a 1906 edition of the book.