A GOOD READ: Cat tales can make for an entertaining read
There are an estimated 7.9 million cats living in homes across Canada. Cat fanciers will know that each feline has a unique, sometimes strange and unpredictable personality.
The following books explore the world of cats and show that they are much more than cuddly balls of fur.
James Bowen saved the life of a stray cat and the cat repaid the favour. In A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life, Bowen tells the story of life with his orange tabby tomcat. In 2007, Bowen was a street musician and recovering heroin addict living in sheltered accommodation in north London. He took stray cat Bob into his home and helped the cat overcome a variety of health issues. One day, Bob refused to stay home and he followed Bowen on his daily busking trip to Covent Garden, becoming an instant celebrity. The relationship that develops between Bowen and Bob is both humorous and heartwarming. An adaptation of the book for children is also available entitled Bob, No Ordinary Cat.
Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown chronicles life with a new kitten. This runt-of-the-litter kitten does more than frustrate, amuse and delight her new family. Tiny Cleo helps her family members through the grieving process after Brown’s young son dies in a car accident. Cleo’s charming and lively personality provides comfort to the family through a time of intense sadness.
Gwen Cooper has written about her amazing cat in Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat. Homer was abandoned and needed to have both eyes removed due to a life-threatening infection. The veterinarian who performed the procedure had unsuccessfully looked for a home for the kitten for weeks until she asked Cooper if she would adopt Homer. The cat seems to have superhero powers as he jumps higher and is faster than Cooper’s two sighted cats. Homer has many incredible adventures and overcomes his challenges with the heart and courage of a lion.
David Dosa is a health services researcher, professor and geriatrician in Rhode Island who writes about a therapy cat in his book Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat. In 2005, Oscar was adopted by a nursing home and the nursing staff soon discovered that he could sense the imminent death of patients. Oscar curls up beside a dying patient and only leaves the room after the patient passes away. Today, Oscar continues to provide comfort to both patients and emotionally distraught families in Steere House’s Safe Haven Advanced Care unit. Dosa’s book also provides a physician’s insight into the lives of patients struggling with dementia.
Readers searching for a book filled with humorous cat stories need look no further. Bob Tarte writes about his experiences living with six cats in his book Kitty Cornered: How Frannie and Five Other Incorrigible Cats Seized Control of our House and Made it their Home. Tarte was raised to believe cats were untrustworthy, devious creatures.
He reveals his transformation into a cat person with stories about how each cat joined his household. Tarte shows readers that animals have a great deal to teach people about the world and themselves.
There are many more entertaining and educational books available about cats and other pets. Visit your local library to ask staff for other titles about the fascinating relationships between humans and animals.
A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published on Wednesdays. Lori Nick works at Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam.