You either like cat mysteries or you don't, and this tepid collection of 20 all-new stories won't change your mind either way. But the double requisite of cats and the Capitol calls for more resourcefulness than most of the authors can supply. Hints for reading: avoid the First Feline (in stories by John Lutz and Carole Nelson Douglas); don't expect much detection in the detective stories (by Barbara Paul, Jon L. Breen, Carolyn Wheat, William J. Reynolds, or Wendi Lee; Gary Braunbeck's ``The Cat's-Paw Affair'' is a happy exception), or much development of any sort in the cat-haunted sketches by Larry Segriff, Peter Crowther, or the usually reliable Max Allan Collins; and don't let Kristine Kathryn Rusch's dumb-in-cheek caper keep you away from the inventive entries by Richard Chizmar (also about the mass murder of cats) and Bruce Holland Rogers, or from Bill Crider's ``Code Red: Terror on the Mall!''--a Tom Clancy-plus-cat parody so broad and funny that you'll wonder how you could take any of the other stories seriously. Caution: ingesting too many at a sitting could cause hairballs.