The cover illustration depicts a closeup of Rip the Cat's face, as Rip is drooling.
Alison Moore is meeting up with her best friend Ryan Engel on her way to school. She is on her bike, rehearsing lines for a school musical when she accidentally runs over a cat in the road, and kills it by decapitating it. She tries to return the cat to a creepy old house, but the girl who answers the door screams in horror, saying her mother won't like this at all. She introduces herself as Crystal and says that the cat Allison killed is named Rip, and he is no ordinary cat. Rip then springs back to life.
Allison goes to school to rehearse the play, but she starts to hear a cat that no one else hears. Rip appears and is killed again, this time by a play prop. He springs to life again, but Ryan doesn't believe this is the same cat Allison killed.
During dinner that night, Allison finds cat hair in her soup. She goes back to her room to see that her toy mice collection has been ruined. The next day during lunch, she finds a cat head in her lunch bag but Ryan sees nothing when he takes a look. Rip returns that night and tries to choke Allison, but she throws him out the window, killing him for a third time. He once again springs back to life and claws Allison. She notices that her cut isn't bleeding.
The next morning, she finds herself gobbling down three cans of tuna. During rehearsals, she starts licking her hands. She climbs a ladder up to a balcony for a scene, and when she gets a phone call from her mom, she jumps down, thinking she can land on all fours. Mom calls Allison to inform her and Dad have to take care of Aunt Emma, so Allison must go home to babysit her brother Tanner. At home, Allison coughs up a hairball and decides she needs to visit Crystal to find out what is happening to her.
She visits Crystal and tells her that Rip has been stalking her, and Crystal says Rip has now used up 8 lives. She then slams the door on Allison. She walks away and bumps into Ryan. She explains to him the creepy things going on, when she finds herself walking to a pet cemetery. She finds Rip's gravestone, revealing that he has been dead for years. She opens Rip's coffins, and the cat comes out. Suddenly, the other tombstones start rumbling and several other undead cats come out. The ghost cats form a tornado and the cats start chasing Allison.
She runs to Crystal's house, where she takes Allison to the basement to meet her mother. It turns out she is a half human, half cat creature. Crystal's mother explains that she is a scientist and Rip was part of a failed experiment that killed many cats. Rip was too evil to die, so he came back and started taking her life force so he can keep living and not use all of his nine lives. His scratch also turns people into cat creatures, which is why Allison has been acting like a cat. Rip wanted Crystal's life but her mom wouldn't allow it, so she let Rip use her life instead. Now her life is almost out, and they will use Allison as a sacrifice.
Rip and his cat friends appear, but Allison throws out one of her toy mice, hoping it will distract them. This works, as the cats defeat each other while fighting over the toy. Rip gets caught up in the cat fight and is soon lying on the floor, defeated. Crystal and her mom thank Allison for freeing them of the evil cat.
The next day, Allison and Ryan are walking to school. Ryan dives down to get something and Allison sees that it's a mouse. She claws at him and demands that Ryan give it to her, because she saw it first.
- For the television adaptation, visit the episode page.
- Stine has claimed he had a "terrible time" working on this book and reportedly wrote three different versions of it before his editors were satisfied.
- The plot of this book is notably similar to that of the book Pet Sematary by Stephen King. Both books feature dead cats coming back to life. R.L. Stine has also admitted that he has taken influence from Pet Sematary for several of his stories.
- "The Cat's Tale" — a short story from More Tales to Give You Goosebumps — includes similar plot elements to Cry of the Cat, such as an evil cat and the protagonist behaving more like a cat as the story progresses. This story predates Cry of the Cat by about two years.
- The Goosebumps Hall of Horrors book Claws! shares some minor similarities to this book, mainly in that the plot also involves a cat that continues to be killed, but never stays dead.
- On a related note, Stine's other hit series, Fear Street, released an evil cat story — simply titled Cat — a year before Cry of the Cat.
- Prior to the book's release, several book advertisements and R.L. Stine himself listed the release date as December 1997. The release date ended up being January 1998, and Monster Blood IV was released in December 1997.
- In an interview, illustrator Tim Jacobus revealed that he bought a small lot of Goosebumps books so he could read them and better relate to his fans. He praised the books' writing and named Cry of the Cat as being especially good.
- One of the tombstones in the pet cemetery is for "Whitey," likely named after a dog that R.L. Stine's family owned when he was a child (as mentioned in It Came From Ohio!).
- Whitey was previously the name of the Thompson family dog in Let's Get Invisible!.
- This was the only Series 2000 book to receive a trading card. However, the trading card's back has a different format than the ones that came before.
- This book references Tom & Jerry and Godzilla.
- Rip's name is an allusion to the acronym R.I.P. The acronym is often seen on gravestones, and it stands for "rest in peace."
- Alison and Tanner's mother was mentioned by name in the book: Margo Moore.
- This is the only book to have four different advertisements.
|Goosebumps Series 2000 series|
|#01 Cry of the Cat||#10 Headless Halloween||#18 Horrors of the Black Ring|
|#02 Bride of the Living Dummy||#11 Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls||#19 Return to Ghost Camp|
|#03 Creature Teacher||#12 Brain Juice||#20 Be Afraid — Be Very Afraid!|
|#04 Invasion of the Body Squeezers: Part 1||#13 Return to HorrorLand||#21 The Haunted Car|
|#05 Invasion of the Body Squeezers: Part 2||#14 Jekyll and Heidi||#22 Full Moon Fever|
|#06 I Am Your Evil Twin||#15 Scream School||#23 Slappy's Nightmare|
|#07 Revenge R Us||#16 The Mummy Walks||#24 Earth Geeks Must Go!|
|#08 Fright Camp||#17 The Werewolf in the Living Room||#25 Ghost in the Mirror|
|#09 Are You Terrified Yet?|