Friday, June 17, 2016

Lost Cat

Ending my week of cat book reviews with stories about cats who got lost and the humans who are lost without them!

Lost Cat by Caroline Paul and illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton

"A true story of love, desperation, and GPS technology" was what caught my attention and convinced me to read this pet memoir.  It is a quick read with short chapters, plenty of charming illustrations, surprising humor, and engaging writing. The author, Caroline Paul, was injured and home-bound.  Her two cats, Tibby and Fibby, are the high point of her recovery, until one month in, Tibby disappeared. Caroline was devastated over his disappearance, and then he came back more than a month later. After the initial relief and joy, she felt confused and betrayed, not knowing where her cat had gone. She made it her mission to find out, and this book chronicles her methods, which include a psychic, GPS on his collar, tiny camera on his collar, letters attached to his collar, pet detectives, and classes on communicating mentally with pets.

Paul writes with an engaging, conversational tone. The coolest thing is that as ridiculous as this account sounds, it is true, but the way she tells the story sells it. She captures the emotions and events with humor, self-awareness, and sincerity, even the darker moments.  She sees the humor in her situation, like trying to buy a GPS small enough for her cat and explain to the store clerk that she is not trying to track a straying lover but a cat. There are images from the GPS and camera to also provide more information (or not) about where lost cats go. It sort of reinforces the idea of the mysterious cat.  Paul ties her quest to the joy and heartbreak of having pets, life, love, trust, and relationships in general, all with a healthy dose of humor and sincerity.

Lost Cat by C. Roger Mader
Did you know that “puppy dog eyes” is in the dictionary, but, somehow, “kitty cat eyes” seem not to have the same reach, yet both can make people go “aww.”  Slipper’s big cat eyes on the cover of this picture book just grab you.  This charming story is told from Slipper’s point of view about her getting accidentally left behind when her Mrs. Fluffy Slippers moves, so she attempts to find a new person to adopt, but everyone who finds her wants her.  The view is mostly from the cat’s perspective, which means she sees everyone and everything closer to the ground, though there are a couple of shifts (the one looking down on Slipper is particularly cute—you will know it when you have to rotate the book to see better).  Slipper (and the readers) learn about the people she meets by their shoes and surroundings.  The illustrations are charming and express so much emotion.  The story is sweet and captures how it is the cat who adopts the human.

Look for both Lost Cat books in the VBPL Catalog.  For more true cat stories, try Nancy Davidson’s The Secrets of Lost Cats: One Woman, Twenty Posters, and a New Understanding of Love and A Letter to My Cat (see review).  For a few more wandering cat picture books, there is also C. Roger Mader’s TipTop Cat, Joy Harjo’s The Good Luck Cat, and Henry Cole’s Spot, the Cat.

Review submitted by Tracy V.

It seems appropriate to end the week with our own former lost cat, Rascal, who adopted us and has found a special place in our hearts (and that of quite a few others).


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