Best Friends - The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary by Samantha Glen gives the inside "scoop" on how Best Friends came to be and how it has grown into an international advocate for no-kill shelters nation-wide The first Best Friends news letter was a mimeographed single sheet telling about the sanctuary located in beautiful Angel Canyon outside Kanab, Utah. A small group of dedicated people back in the sixties (probably "hippies" and everyone knows how lazy and dirty they are - right? Read on!) bought a ranch in Eastern Utah, with minimal funding at best, and how they tenaciously hung. on, building it gradually into the grand place it now is. From the start they knew the need for a no-kill sanctuary with good living quarters designed especially for the animals they immediately began to be inundated with, was a huge undertaking. They couldn't turn any animal away and through their own creativity and dedication they were able to turn around near bankruptcy into the shelter it is today. There are stories of unthinkable human cruelty along with stories of human love and devotion. I read the entire book in one evening. About six hours. I simply couldn't put it down. There are wonderful photographs of various founding members as well as those who support them,, such as vets, whose care is vital. Yes, there are some stories in this book that are bit hard to read. But overall it is an extremely uplifting book. And it's easy to start and stop anywhere in the book. You can read a chapter and put it down and read more later. I learned just this week that Michael Mountain, one of the chief founders still lives in Angel Canyon at Best Friends. While he is no longer visibly active he still works to help the Sanctuary. He is currently active in environmentalism and marine life (and that, of course, doesn't mean the US Marine Corps!). Faith Maloney, another of the original founders, also still lives in Angel Canyon at the Sanctuary and she has an advice page where people can send in questions re problems they are experiencing with one of their pets (cat or dog) and Faith will answer. Faith's page is in their lovely, glossy magazine that is upbeat, doesn't present the reader with horror pictures of animals being tortured or killed. This book tells some harrowing stories, but on the whole it is very upbeat. You might need a tissue while reading it, but a whole box is hardly necessary. If you want to read an uplifting book about animals who come to Best Friends and are healed, loved, cared for and made to feel safe - if you want to read about loving homes being found for many and see how the "no-kill" movement is taking hold all across this country get this book! It's been out a while so you can find it used book stores, in the library, on Amazon either used or new or on Kindle- also in Barnes and Noble which is where I first purchase mine several years ago. All the original founders are now in their seventies, a few in their eighties. As a child of the sixties, I can relate to that! Visit their website and find out how you can become a member. Visit their Facebook page and learn more. I'm "Guardian Angel" as far as Best Friends membership goes. I adopted one kitty from them whom I saw on their web site. She had been rescued from a hoarding situation in the extreme cold and heat of Nevada. The muscles in her ears had atrophied since she was in such a tiny enclosure out in extreme heat and cold. So her ears didn't stand up like most kitty's ears do. She had been declawed. I applied to adopt her on line. A Best Friends volunteer showed up at my house to determine if I would be a good human for this little cat who had endured so much. The volunteer left saying that if she ever came back as a cat she would love to be one of mine. Shortly after her visit another wonderful volunteer drove this fragile kitty from the Sanctuary to Chatauqua Park in Boulder where we met and she gave me "Cybil". I renamed Cybil "Grizabella" for the kitty who sings the haunting song "Memory" from the musical CATS. All her teeth had to be pulled when she arrived at Best Friends. She had had numerous ear infections and I had to put drops in her ears a couple of times a day. She only weighed two pounds when I got her. During the nine more months she was alive she slept on my pillow each night with her chin resting in the palm of one of my hands. She actually gained a pound. She never again knew cold, heat, thirst, hunger or fear. Her kidney's began to fail and I was only able to buy her a bit of time with sub-cutaneous fluids. I held her and sang old cowboy and Beatles songs to her and she slipped away across the Bridge. She KNEW she was loved and safe! Although letting her go made a cat-shaped hole in my heart, I would do it again and have many times since Grizabella. I've been rescuing cats since I was about twenty and feel it is one of the reasons I'm on this earth My idea of a perfect vacation is to go to the Sanctuary and spend a week or two loving on kitties, walking the occasional dog, communing with the pigs. and hanging out with the horses. I fear I would come home with a pig and possibly a kitty or two. Pigs and chickens are allowed inside the city limits here in Los Alamos.
If you've never heard of Best Friends get the book! Then visit their website and learn how you, too can support this amazing Sanctuary and the no-kill movement.Their goal is for this country to become a "no-kill" nation by 2025. And with all of us doing what ever we are able to do, that goal just might become reality! I guarantee you'll love this book!!
After Cleo Came Jonah by Helen Brown, as the title tells us, is about the kitty who came into the lives of Helen and her family after Cleo's passing. Helen was determined not to have another cat. She was recovering from breast cancer and surgery and had NO intentions of adopting another pet. But a visit to a pet shop changed all that. Suddenly, there in their home was the Siamese kitten, Jonah. Getting accustomed to Jonah and Jonah to her and her family took some doing. Meanwhile, her book on Cleo had become an international best seller. So not only was Helen dealing with her own mortality, but with her sudden fame as the writer of an international bestseller, and just to complicate matters, her daughter had decided to become a Buddhist nun in Sri-Lanka, which was then in the throes of a civil war that had been going on for some time. Jonah was yearning to become an outdoor cat, her daughter was yearning to become a Buddhist nun, Helen was yearning for a healthy body. Helen's visit to her daughter in Sri Lanka proves to be a turning point for them both.
A book about very real people, their very real cat, and their very real struggles, aspirations, concerns, triumphs - just life in general is, as with any Helen Brown book, very readable. It took me a couple of afternoons. You can find this book in the library, on Kindle, in used book stores, on Amazon. I bought mine used off Amazon. This is not a sad book! No tissues necessary!
Cleo, the Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown is the first book about Helen's life, her kids and her kitties. Cleo arrives, the runt of a litter with a tiny black body and huge ears kind of like sails. She has no way of knowing she has just landed in a family devastated by tragedy. Cleo really does "save" Helen and her family as they struggle through a tragic death, Some serious illness, a major relocation from New Zealand to Australia. A divorce and remarriage. This book is rich in wisdom and healing. I found myself wiping tears and even laughing out loud. You are indeed in for a treat with this book about a tiny black cat who showed up exactly where she was needed as she was needed most. You'll love Cleo's quirky character and you'll also be along for the ride as you get to know Helen and her family members, including her opinionated, outspoken elderly mother.
I got this book used on Amazon. It is probably available in Barnes and Noble, on Kindle, in the library and used book stores. I loved it so much I have purchased and devoured After Cleo Came Jonah. So, more to look forward to!
My absolute favourite line in this entire book is""Your cat, "he whispered. "Just. Peed. On. Me." I'll leave you to find that gem. It was one of many droll moments. Enjoy!
Bono by Helen Brown is not only the story of a rescue cat who needed a foster home but of the woman and her daughter who fostered him in their tiny New York rental apartment. (Lest you make the mistake of pronouncing Bono's name as the last name of Sonny Bono, the author explains that he was named for the lead singer in U2 - bit of a difference there). Bono's became homeless during Hurricane Sandy, had been found bedraggled and quite sick with an infection, so had to have daily meds. and, embarrassing to him, he had been given a "lion-cut" due to his badly matted fur. He was residing at Bide-a-Wee, a real, no-kill shelter in Manhattan, but due to his lack of socialization and his weird hair cut, plus he was FeLV+ so it was unlikely that he would get adopted. He needed a foster who was patient, in a quiet home. He needed time.
Helen went to New York because, quite frankly, she was bored with her life in Australia. Helen had survived breast cancer,had been married for twenty years to a kind, successful, but . "samey" sort of guy and she longed for the bright lights and excitement that she had found when she first visited NYC as a successful author. She had friends in New York and no sooner had she arrived with her young adult daughter Lydia than she got together with a friend, Michaela, who worked at Bide-a-Wee - MIchaela immediately talked her into fostering Bono. You'll have to get the book and find out how Bono changed not only Helen's life and her relationship with her daughter, but how he helped change her relationship with her husband.. There, I've already disclosed too much!
I enjoyed this book so much I'm going to find her first best-seller about her cat, Cleo. Not only does she love kitties and write about them, but she writes well - not something always easy to find in the "cat stories" genre. Suffice it to say that Helen and Lydia also change Bono's life - and insure that he gets the chance he needs. I post kitties who are on "Death Row"in the NYC-ACC every day on FB and Bide-a-Wee is, thankfully, a far cry from the NYC-ACC. It's good to know there are places like Bide-a-Wee, which is Scots dialect for "Stay a While".
Look for this enjoyable book about a special needs kitty in the library, on Amazon Kindle, at Barnes and Noble, and just possibly in used book stores, although its copyright is 2018. As a person who has never been to NYC, and has absolutely no desire to go, I was afraid I would be put off by Helen's love affair with the place. Suffice it to say that her love affair with the city of "cold steel canyons" becomes a love affair with her foster kitty. Find out if Bono finds the forever home he deserves, if Helen and her husband get back together and if she returns to Australia. Guaranteed - you'll find this book thoroughly enjoyable!
Homer and the Holiday Miracle, by Gwen Cooper is a very slender little book that makes an ideal afternoon's reading while curled up with your kitty(s). Gwen Cooper is one of my favourite writers featuring kitties. I won't tell you what the holiday miracle is- you'll need to read for yourself. You can get this delightful little book on Amazon, Kindle, at Barnes and Noble or probably in the library. It is brand new and won't be in used book stores for a bit. For all of us kitty lovers, this little book will warm your hearts. Best wishes for 2019 and happy reading! -Christina
Finally a book about cats by a truly good author, one we've come to depend on.
My Life in a Cat House by Gwen Cooper (Homer's Odyssey) was delightful. Gwen Cooper really knows cats! And she loves them to pieces! Since patience has never been one of my virtues I pre-ordered this from Amazon. It's only available in hard cover right now, or on Kindle. You'll learn more about not only Homer, but Scarlet and Vashti, the two cats Gwen had when she adopted Homer. You'll also meet her two current kitties, gotten while Homer was still alive, Clayton and Fanny. Ms. Cooper has a hilarious way with words. I found myself laughing out loud and even wiping away a tear or two. Each chapter shows, at the beginning of the chapter, a photo of each one of her cats. I spent three wonderful evenings reading this book. Well spent!
Ms. Cooper has another book out that has been out a year or two. I just haven't been able to afford it. Ir's called Kittenish and is a take off on the numerous selfies of Kim Kardashian- gack! I mean to order it as soon as it's available used. Meanwhile, if you've never read any of Gwen Cooper's books, start with Homer's Odyssey, go on to The Ninth Life of Homer the Blind Wonder Cat, and then pick up Love Saves the Day - all books about a cat or cats - all wonderfully written, a couple of which will make you reach for an entire box of tissues, but well worth the tears. It is so much fun to have a book worth reviewing - or even worth reading for that matter.
You can order it new on Amazon, find it at Barnes and Noble, and on Kindle. Not in used book store yet. May you experience the delightful anticipation of sitting down with a book you know you are going to enjoy - one of the most satisfying of thoughts! Happy reading!
The Cat in the Window is a compilation of stories (each chapter a story), edited by Callie Smith Grant. Since each chapter is in itself a short story about a different cat, you can pick this book up and start anywhere and read for as long or as little as you like. I tend to like book-length stories, but this one was recommended to me, so here t'is.
Ms. Grant gives us a short bit of info about each contributing author. Some chapters are taken from full-length books, such as the excellent book about Kit Kat and Lucy by Lonnie Hull DuPont. More than one writer has contributed a few stories. It's interesting to compare the writer's styles. As in all compilations, there are some you will love, some will make you laugh out loud, some will make you feel as if the writer is being a little "too cute". I don't recall any out and out sad stories in this book. If you're looking for book featuring cats, that you can pick up and set down without committing a whole evening, this book might be just the one. Available on Amazon (used), in used book stores, in the library and probably on Kindle.
If any of you gentle readers has read a good cat book that hasn't been already reviewed, please shoot me an e-mail and tell me the title and author. email@example.com.
I'm fast running out of good kitty books to report on. I've read a couple that were so bad I absolutely refuse to report on them.
The Old Man and the Cat (A Love Story), by Nils Uddenberg.
In looking for upbeat books about kitties, the title of this one caught my eye, so I ordered it from Amazon and read it. It is about an old man and a cat, but as far as being a "love story", I remain unconvinced. Translated from the Swedish, perhaps the book lost something in translation. My reading of this book didn't show me that the old man who, very reluctantly, adopted a stray kitty, felt any empathy,much less love! The book doesn't end sadly. I'll say that for it. The writer is a retired professor of medical psychology. He spends quite a bit of the book discussing human/cat relationships, in a scientific manner. I found myself getting bored. The last page is the saving grace of the entire book, in my mind. He says, "I wouldn't mind dying in my bed with Kitty somewhere close by." I can relate to that! Maybe another reader will get more out of this particular book than I did. Not quite up to the reviews I read about it, you can, none the less, obtain it on Amazon, in used book stores, the library or on Kindle.
If any of you gentle readers has a good cat book to recommend, one I haven't already reviewed, please shoot me an e-mail and I will look into it. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Finding good kitty stories is harder and harder, especially for a voracious reader such as myself. I read a book about a cat in England who, but for the selfishness of his owner, would probably be alive today. I refuse to review the woman's book. She was more impressed with her "twenty minutes of fame" due to her kitty and his passing, than with her actual kitty. I read all kinds of books about cats - some funny, some whimsical, some terribly sad, some about a different cat in each chapter. I've written about all my favourite cat books so far, and some that have not been so favourite. I'm down to one more book in my stack to review and then I'll be searching. BTW, I read up to four books a week - all types, mostly about the Native Americans, either historical, or biographical, books about the Anasazi, environmental books, geology, some mysteries, some good fantasy, only good westerns, which does not include Louis L'Amour. I'm picky what I read, but since I read so much I am always looking for new books and authors. I try to avoid sad animal stories, since there are plenty of sad animal stories right around us, in Real Life. I have some excellent books about otters, elephants, horses, animal rights, vegetarian/vegan movements, no-kill shelter movements, environmental issues. I'm just running out of good kitty books.
The Good Luck Cat by Lissa Warren
In 2008 Lissa Warren witnessed the death of her beloved father from a heart attack. Ting, the living extension of Lissa's dad, is a purebred Korat. My only problem with this book was that Lissa and her parents didn't seek out and save the life of a shelter cat. Instead they spent a huge amount on a purebred cat. Those of us in cat-rescue would save the life of a cat in a shelter, or one we had taken in from one of the colonies, like Charlie,Oscar, Ebony, or CJ to name a few. (I'm still hoping some kind soul will step up to adopt sweet Sweet Pea out at Big T's). Lissa and her parents are obviously well off financially and it never occurred to them to look in a shelter for a cat. That being said, they gave Ting the best life any cat could have.
Less than a year after her father's death, Ting is diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition. Their only option to save her life is to have a human pacemaker implanted in Ting's little cat body. The procedure is performed by the best animal hospital in Boston. Thus begins the story of how Ting helped Lissa and her mother deal with the loss of Lissa's father. When her dad was alive he was "Ting's person". This book does NOT have a sad ending! Ting survives the surgery and her journey back to health helps prepare Lissa for a serious diagnosis of her own.
Beautifully written, this book is not just the story of a spoiled purebred cat and her upscale owners. It is a book about grief, hope, and how our pets, in this particular story, a little grey cat, can not only help us through the tough spots, but enrich our lives and enable us to keep on keeping on, to keep on hoping and to appreciate each day we have, especially each day we have with a beloved pet.
Available in the library, on Amazon, in used book stores and on Kindle, I found myself involved in Ting's life, her prognosis, as well as how Lissa, her mother and Ting become a team - a team that is strong because they have the love of each other. An enjoyable read. Although I found it hard to relate to the social background of Lissa and her mother - one of privilege, in a sense, of entitlement. But if you can get around that aspect, it's a good story about a kitty who overcomes the odds and helps her humans. Read it to read about Ting!
Rescued is twelve stories of rescued cats as told through "their eyes" I normally don't like to read a collection of short stories since I'd rather have a story I can get in to However, this book was recommended by a friend and I got it used from Amazon.
Twelve rescuers tell the stories of a cat they rescued, as seen through the eyes of that cat. Not cutesy. Not adorable. No gimmicks. At the end of the book each author is pictured and there is a short bio for her/him. There is a photo or two of each cat featured - that appears along with that cat's story.
As rescuers we all can relate to more than one of these stories. They are heart-warming, sometimes funny, sometimes a bit sad. But every kitty in each story is indeed a rescue.
If you want a book you can pick up and read a short piece from, this just might be the answer. I think the story of "Rama: Sideways" might just be my favourite. You can find this book new or used on Amazon, probably in used book stores, maybe on Kindle and possibly in the library. Read it and see which kitties are your favs!
LFFAC adventures, stories and maybe even a cute cat video every now & then.