Cat Lovers Will Enjoy This…

Snip20180510_1It is pouring buckets of rain today. We can use it. It’s midway through the morning and it is grey, wet and cold. This is the start of our Tasmanian winter.  I am ready for it. I don’t mind winter. We don’t get the snow like North America or Europe so it is liveable.  Mind you, ask me again in September, after three months of this and it will be a different story.

It has been a busy week of Play Reading and Writing Group with friends.  We finished Arsenic and Old Lace written by Joseph Kesselring, in our Play Reading class. It was great fun with the old ladies hiding the dead bodies in the window seat. I saw the film about 200 years ago but had never read the play.  It was great fun reading the various parts especially the part of Teddy “Roosevelt” Brewster. He was an old gentleman with dementia who thought he was Teddy Roosevelt. He also thought the holes he was digging in the basement were part of the building of the Panama Canal. There were some pretty good laughs as the reader got to yell, “Charge!” as he headed up or down the basement steps.

It’s been a kind of “fluffy week”. I use the term fluffy to describe events that are pleasant without angst of any kind. I also describe comfort books as ‘fluffy’. Books that can be read without much thought and can be finished quickly.

I read an article about a book named Cleo written by Helen Brown. It is a true story about a little black cat that healed a family during a tragedy that happened to them and the healing effect the cat gave them over the years.  So I put it on hold at the library a couple of months ago, forgot about it and then received an email to go pick it up.

It’s a New Zealand story. A family lives in Wellington. Mom, Dad and the two little boys, aged 9 and 6. One day mom takes them to visit a woman who had a litter of newborn kittens. Of course they weren’t going to get one. Mom, after all, was definitely not a cat person.  However the boys talk her into putting one on hold to take home when the kitten becomes old enough because after all it would make such a good birthday present for him. (Eyes look upward with pleading cries). They also promise to do any number of chores for her for the rest of their life if only, just this once, they can have this little girl.

Then about a week later tragedy hits the family in a very hard way. The arrival of the kitten is forgotten until it is delivered several weeks later. The timing couldn’t have been worse but they take her in and name her Cleo.

I don’t usually read books about animals. I have to read the last few pages of the book first to make sure there isn’t anything awful before I bond with the character in the book.

The tale is one of love, hope and redemption (as the publisher describes it). This is a very accurate description. The cat moves with the family to Auckland, New Zealand and later to Melbourne, Australia over a 23 year period.  It is a lovely little creature, small for its size and very mischievous.  He brings cuddles and laughter to those he is ‘responsible’ for.  The book has a huge “Awwwww” factor.

He lives a long, happy life so those animal lovers out there who can’t read books about animals can relax throughout this book. 23 years to be exact which is a very long life for a cat.

It is interesting to watch how this family copes with the tragedy in their life and how they evolve through the next two decades. I met their friends and lived through their highs and lows. It is written quite well and I got to know Cleo.  She was a lovely little creature.

This book isn’t for everyone. It can be read in a day and one must love cats to enjoy it. If you aren’t an animal person then leave it on the shelf.Snip20180510_3

It is a book to save for one of those days when you drink coffee or tea for most of the day because the outdoors is very wet, the rain on the roof tries to lull you to sleep and it’s cold enough to have a fuzzy wrap. It’s a comfort book or as I tend to think it, a book of ‘fluff.’

PS- if you want to see photos of my three cats – scroll down and I’ll introduce them to you.

Uncle Buck aged 12


Cousin Eddie aged 3
Griswald (Grizzy) aged 2


14 thoughts on “Cat Lovers Will Enjoy This…

  1. I am a cat person, so the book sounds wonderful.
    I find it refreshing to read animal stories periodically. In this part of the world we get many accounts from game rangers, farmers, hunters or people who live in the bush and routinely interact with wild animals. Some of these reads have been unexpectedly good.
    BTW: you have three delightful cats. Thanks for sharing the pics.

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  2. It’s co-o-o-ld and I’m very unhappy – so I understand your point about a fluffy book to read with tea and toast (or some such. I’m not really a cat person, am more a dog person, but I do love stories about any pet which “saves” a person or family so I’d probably enjoy it. I remember seeing it on bookshop shelves.

    BTW I have seen Arsenic and Old Lace (the film) so many times. It was one of my family’s favourites – Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, et al. I like the idea of your play reading group. U3A has one here – but it is all reading, not also writing like yours is.


    1. Our play reading class is just reading too. The writing is a group I belong to on a different day. Sorry for the confusion. I’m a dog person too. My husband is a cat person so I’ve had to accommodate. If I had to have only one pet it would be a dog.

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  3. lovely photos… i can’t say i read too many books like this recently, but i fondly remember the ones by Jim Kyelgard, alfred ollivant, James Heriot and others…


    1. I love Jim Kilgard and James Herriot. We met James Herriot in the 1970’s at his practice in Yorkshire. A total fluke, being in the right place at the right time and he invited us into his home and chatted to us. It was wonderful.

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