Posted by: greentangle | May 8, 2017

For the Pet Lovers

A few weeks ago, I read the new book The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions by Thomas McNamee. The title only partially reflects the book’s contents. It’s written in a conversational style with a tone that is sometimes amusing and sometimes annoying, mixing objective facts with the author’s own experiences living with cats. I thought, hey, I can do that, and planned to mix a book review with stories from my own life with the late lamented cats Hijack and Walden, but what I had in mind was beyond my current writing skill and emotional strength.

The book does have some science, but it’s also the life story of a kitten who showed up one winter night at the author’s place near Livingston, Montana (north of Yellowstone). We discover a couple of Livingston’s many unusual residents such as a cat killer and a wolf behind the counter of a copy shop.

Although the author gives some tips for reducing the amount of wildlife killed by your outside cat, he doesn’t seem very concerned about the ones who are killed, as he considered his cat’s need to be free more important. Feral cats are also discussed.

There is a lot of advice on creating the best environment for a cat and how a kitten should be raised to result in the most human friendly cat. After learning more about cats, the author feels some guilt about how he treated his cat at times, and is likely to make most cat ‘owners’ (including me) feel guilty as well.

The book includes his cat’s eventual illness and death and the numbing grief which followed. I still remember how long it took me to begin to get over my own grief when my cat companion of 19 years died. Life is not as good without a warm bundle of purr, but the time and circumstances of my life prevent me from having one so I have to get by on memories.

 

I just got back from vacation at my friend’s. Age has started taking its toll on each of us and we didn’t do the kind of hiking and traveling we once did, which can be more frustrating when I’m away from home with someone than it is when I’m alone in my usual place. I didn’t see the large animals I got used to seeing in Yellowstone, but there were deer, geese, turtles, a rabbit, squirrels, birds by the Lake, a muskrat, and feral chickens (or neighborhood free range at least). Some might call it a boring vacation, but I had someone making good meals for me, a bed and thus more and better sleep, and a fine dog to play with, all things which aren’t part of my usual life, and I know it was the best 10 days I’ll have this year. What more could one want from a vacation?

 

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