The topic this week is Characters I’d Name a Pet After (These could be your own pets (present or future), you could pick 10 different animals and tell us the name and animal type, or you could choose 10 names that would make fun cat names, etc. Put your own spin on this one!)
I struggled to come up with any ideas for this topic. But as I am a cat lover this is my spin – it is Cats in Books.
The Guest Cat (my review) is a Japanese Cat called Chibi, who made herself at home with a couple in their thirties who lived in a small rented house in a quiet part of Tokyo. She belonged to their next door neighbour but spent a lot of time with the couple coming and going as she pleased. I was disappointed to discover that the cat on the cover does not look like Chibi, who was a pure white cat whose fur was mottled with several lampblack blotches containing just a bit of light brown.
The cat in The Girl with a Cat Tattoo is called Max, a black and white cat with a ‘kitler’ – a cat with a moustache. He lives with Melody, a young widow. Two years after her husband died Max is fed up with the strange men she brings home and decides to do a bit of matchmaking on her behalf. He is a cat of action, but finds it’s more difficult than he expected. It is an entertaining, romantic tale with some dark moments, told from Max’s point of view. I’ve read this but didn’t write a review.
Koko is The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (my review), a beautiful Siamese cat. The cover disappointingly shows a black cat, not the beautiful Siamese with a “voice like an ambulance siren”. The book is about Joe Qwilleran, a newspaper reporter assigned to be an art writer, who together with Koko, investigates the murder of the owner of an art gallery.
Paw Tracks in the Moonlight (my review) tells the story of how Denis O’Connor rescued a kitten during a snowstorm and how kitten survived, despite the vet’s prediction that he wouldn’t. O’Connor lived at Owl Cottage and as he was out at work all day he put the kitten in a jug to keep him safe and named him Toby Jug. This memoir covers the first year of Toby Jug’s life and it’s a remarkable story because this is no ordinary cat (if such a creature exists, that is). He is a Maine Coon cross.
I must have watched all of the programmes in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small about ‘James Herriot’s’ vet practice in Yorkshire. There are many James Herriot books and I’ve read a few of them in the past. James Herriot’s Cat Stories ( my review) is a collection of ten stories clearly demonstrating his love of cats. In the introduction James writes that cats were one of the main reasons he chose a career as a vet. They have always played a large part in his life and and when he retired they were still there ‘lightening’ his days.
I love watching Simon’s Cat on YouTube. It is brilliant – so funny and just like our cat, Heidi, so I was delighted to find there are several books by Simon Tofield. The first one is Simon’s Cat in His Very Own Words.
I’ve read but not reviewed The Wild Road and The Golden Cat by Gabriel King. I loved these magical novels, which I read years ago. When a runaway kitten named Tag meets a mysterious black cat named Majicou in his dreams, he learns he is destined for bigger things. Called by Majicou, Tag enters the Wild Road, a magical highway known only to the animals, and learns that he is needed to find the King and Queen of Cats and bring them safely to Tintagel.
The story continues in The Golden Cat. An ancient prophecy speaks of a golden cat whose coming will heal the troubled world. But the Queen of Cats has three golden kittens—and when two are stolen away, the distraught parents turn to Tag, the brave young cat who is the protector of the magical Wild Road.
And finally two cats in children’s books. Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories for Little Children are stories he told to his daughter, Effie (Josephine) as bedtime stories – fantastic accounts of how various features of animals came to be. Kipling explained: ‘in the evening there were stories meant to put Effie to sleep, and you were not allowed to alter those by one single little word. They had to be told just so; or Effie would wake up and put back the missing sentence.’
One of the stories is The Cat That Walked by Himself about when the tame animals were all wild. The wildest of all was the Cat and this is Kipling’s explanation of how the cat came to use humans for its own comfort but remained independent, walking in the Wet Wild Woods, ‘waving his tail and walking by his wild lone.’ Kipling’s illustrations in this book are perfect.
And last of all is the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one of my favourite children’s books. I no longer have the copy I had as a child, so a few years ago I bought The Complete Stories and Poems of Lewis Carroll. The Cheshire Cat sits in a tree and grins. He appears and disappears at will and at one point he vanished slowly beginning with his tail until there was just a grin left which remained for some time after the rest of him had gone.