Set in the present day, Catwings follows four cats, the winged children of Mrs. Jane Tabby. While they were born in the city, Thelma, Roger, James and Harriet are urged by their mother to leave a bad neighborhood that was getting worse. As soon as the kittens are able to fly, they leave the city and their mother who has no wish to leave herself. The book follows the four catwings as they try to make a home in the country where they find life is just as hard as it is in the city.
Although a children's book, Catwings (as well as its sequel, Catwings Return) was chosen as a "Book to Look For" by author Orson Scott Card in December 1991.
Yet even though LeGuin's stories are not sentimentalized, neither do they shock or brutalize in their truthfulness. Rather, as she makes danger and loss and injury and fear and all the passages of life seem natural and unavoidable, LeGuin also lets us see that life can still be well-lived, and individuals can still act rightly and lovingly and bravely, and can bear with dignity whatever losses come. Not a bad set of truths for children to learn in a couple of gentle, well-told tales.