Tag Archives: review
“I suddenly felt an urge, almost an obligation, to do something even if it seemed reckless as well as hopeless. At this point Mac, having done his deed of mercy with the grey tabby, returned to deal similarly with the two kittens. On a sudden impulse, and to Mac’s utter consternation, I scooped up the black-and-white kitten from the table and deposited him carefully into the pocket of my sheepskin jacket.
‘You’re a sentimental fool,’ he said sternly, shocked by my action. ‘The wee thing will suffer and die no matter what you do.’
‘Well,’ I replied, ‘he might just as well die in front of my fire as anywhere else. Please send me the bill.’
With these hurried words of farewell I left an incredulous Mac shaking his head.”
So begins the amazing story of Toby Jug the Maine Coon by Denis O’Connor. Pawprints in the Moonlight is set in 1966, when the author, Denis O’Connor, was living in the English countryside in Northumberland as a 29 year old college professor. On a cold winter’s night, he comes upon a cat caught in a hunter’s trap. He rescues the cat who darts off into the night. Driven by a desire to help the cat, he follows her pawprints through the cold to a barn, where he sees the poor injured thing trying to care for two kittens. He rushes the trio to a local vet, where the mother and one kitten sadly pass on.
With little hope, he takes the remaining kitten whose eyes are not even yet open, back to Owl Cottage where he lives to try to nurse him back to health against all odds and with little available to assist him. What happens is a true miracle: the kitten not only survives, but begins to thrive under the loving care of his new owner.
As the kitten gains strength, he proves himself quite curious and having a lust for life, even as precarious as his situation proves to be. To keep him safe, Denis finds a glass jug which he pads with cotton to allow the kitten to be near him and see everything that’s going on. This in part helps give the kitten a name: Toby Jug.
The book tells of all of Toby Jug’s many adventures with his owner, including stolen garden tomatoes, misty evening walks, and a lovely camping trip! But the real beauty of this book about a charming, inquisitive little animal is the relationship it explores between owner and cat. So many of us feel a deep bond with our cats, one that goes beyond just owner and pet. Our cats are very special to us, and each cat develops its own unique personality. Every moment in the book will not only be relatable to any cat owner, but every question the author poses to himself in reflection of all of Toby Jug’s escapades, like “who is the master, and and who is the slave?” are questions we all wonder with regard to our cats when we are faced with moments of intensity: when kitty gets lost, or sick, or into trouble, and we face that fear of life without them.
The book also explores the life of a cat itself in relationship to domestication. While Toby Jug’s playfulness, love, affection, and life inside the home and the back garden of Denis’s cottage are wonderful and clearly bring Toby Jug great pleasure, there are also moments where Toby Jug’s animal instincts come into play. The author often must ask himself to reconcile his desire to keep Toby Jug safe and happy, while also conceding to Toby’s independence and natural instincts. These are things I have to face myself as a cat owner who lets her kitties play outside. There are times of course when my cats get themselves in trouble (like when Pickles was stuck very, very high in a tree for two days and was only rescued via a basket-pulley rig), but the sheer joy they experience by being allowed to roam the small patch of woods behind our house, or the pride they show when they bring home a small catch is something I can’t bring myself to deny them in spite of the worry it sometimes causes me.
This book is true gem for any cat lover, especially those who have in fact rescued a cat, whether the circumstance was as harrowing as the author’s or not. Seeing a cat who had no chance become a lively, loving addition to your home is always exceptionally rewarding. The story of Toby Jug’s life and experiences is truly heartwarming. The prose is beautifully written, and the book is the perfect length to curl up and read with your kitty in your lap on a cold night. I couldn’t put it down!
Even more perfect, the book is available for a steal in hardcover at Bares and Noble at $12.00, and electronically via Nook for just $9.99.
You will love this book. The story brought a tear to my eye while still giving me the warm feeling that only we cat people can understand. Get yourself a copy and let me know what you think in the comments when you’ve read it. ;3
When I was a kid, I loved reading, and naturally my favorite books were about cats! Today, I’d like to offer you a look at a children’s book with lovely illustrations called How The Cat Got Its Whiskers by Harris Tobias and illustrated by Evalena Jönsson Lunde.
The story begins introducing our feline heroes, who are completely bald! In this fairytale, “when the world was new,” cats have no fur. The King of Cats and his subjects are freezing cold, and they need something to keep them warm. They wrap themselves in blankets to provide warmth, but this is simply not good enough!
The King of Cats must find an answer to this problem.
The King of Cats sends his four trusted amabassadors to the ends of the earth to talk to other animals to discover their secrets of staying warm. The four amabassadors each visit the Kingdom of the Fishes, the Kingdom of the Birds, the Kingdom of the Snakes, and the Kingdom of the Rats. Each Kingdom sends the ambassador back to the King with a glorious new outfit to try on–everything from scales, to feathers, to snakeskin, to see if they provide the warmth the cats need… Except for the clever Rats, who try to trick the King of Cats without revealing their secrets of warmth!
The King of Cats does not like to be fooled. This means war with the rats, and leads to the King’s final solution to his problem.
This is a book I would have adored as a kid, and I would have spent many hours trying to replicate the pretty illustrations. You and your little one will just love to see the different outfits from the other animal kingdoms the King tries on, and laugh at his reactions to each outfit! This is a fun, quick read, with an engaging but easy to understand story. What little cat lover wouldn’t adore a fairytale about a kingdom of kitty cats?
The book is available as an e-book at a steal for both Kindle and Nook! You can also get your hands on a beautiful printed copy at CreateSpace. I don’t have any children, but I don’t think I could resist an e-book copy all for myself!
We often share stories from ZooBorns here on ModCatLove, so we were thrilled to receive a copy of the new ZooBorns Cats! book from Simon & Schuster, which came out on November 1st.
I have to be honest—up until the past year or so, I had no idea there were so many different species of cats out there. In the time that I’ve been blogging and connecting with other cat lovers, I’ve learned about so many wonderful species of cats—the sand cat, clouded leopards, the African black-footed cat, and one of my favorites, Pallas’s cat . Well, did you know that there are, according to the book, thirty-six different types of wild cat?
Although ZooBorns Cats! does of course feature well-known wild cats like lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, and lynxes, it teaches us about so many other lesser known species of cats, and there are some I’d never heard of, like the mysterious Guiña (also known as Huiña or Kodkod), the frog-eating(!) Iriomote cat, and the big-eyed oncilla.
In addition to showcasing some of the cutest pictures you’ve ever seen, ZooBorn Cats! is also extremely informative. Each species of cat comes with a tidbit of information, such as its lifestyle, where it is found, and whether it is endangered or not. Most of the cats are named, as well, and their birth dates and birth locations are also provided.
I live outside of Nashville, so I was pleasantly surprised to see not one but two cats from the Nashville Zoo featured in the book. This here is Matsi, who was born at the Nashville Zoo in June 2010. I wonder how big she is now? The other Nashvillian kitty is Blitz the Eurasian Lynx, who was born during the May floods last year! According to the book, Blitz is part of an outreach and educational program called “Wildlife on Wheels.” I am hoping to go on my first trip to the Nashville Zoo soon, so I hope I’m able to catch a glimpse of these two celebrities!
Just look at all those precious little baby wild cats! You know you can’t resist them! This is a great little book to have and would make a terrific present. Not only is it adorable and educational, but also 10% of the proceeds from the sale of every book is donated to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund.
Buy ZooBorns Cats! now, available at Amazon!
“This book celebrates our well-intentioned but sometimes misguided affection and shines a light on the wonderfully awkward side of pet ownership.” – Awkward Family Pet Photos by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack
As anyone who has tried to gather parents, siblings, extended family, and daughters and sons for a photo knows, there is almost always something awkward about a group photo—especially a professional one. From wacky outfits that seem like a good idea at the time, to unwilling and pouty participants for a pose, almost all of us can pull out a photo and cringe with a smile about how awkward it seems looking back. These photos are too wonderful not to share and ask, “What were we thinking?!”
“What were we thinking,” indeed.
Pets add a whole new flavor of awkwardness to the mix. We love our pets (especially our cats), and want to capture them as an adored member of the family. We’re willing to endure the battle of getting them to pose to catch that perfect moment in time where everyone’s together. As Mike Bender and Doug Chernack mention in their introduction to the book, our love and desire for pets to be included as part of the family photo can sometimes be charmingly misguided.
Back in February, I featured some of my absolute favorite cat photos from AwkwardFamilyPetPhotos.com, and when Three Rivers Press contacted us about reviewng the new book, we were more than happy to oblige.
The book is divided into chapters based on types of portriats and types of pets. Of course, I speedily jumped to the Cats chapter (with an introduction contributed by Karen of mousebreath.com!), but the chapters on Farm Animals, Exoctic Animals, and especially the Awkward Pets chapter were equally rewarding in hilarity. The Awkward Pets Chapter catches pets at their most awkward moments, with not a care in the world for the camera lens.
One of the best aspects of the book is when a photo is coupled with a “Behind the Awkwardness” tale, where the photo contributor explains the story behind the photo. A favorite of mine is a photo of a little boy named Alex dressed in a cat costume on all fours beside his tabby cat. The now-older Alex in the photo explains, “Believe it or not, it wasn’t even Halloween—this was my every day wear.” Definitely reminds me of myself as a child! The stories behind the awkward photos and the sense of humor contributors have about them make the photos especially relatable.
Another one of the fun aspects of the book are the Tales from Veterinarians peppered throughout. As a frequent vet visitor with many silly questions about my cats’ behaviors, I always wonder how many strange stories they have to share about pet owners like myself. I especially loved a vet’s tale about a vest she received as a gift from a client which spiked her allergies—just wait until you read why!
This book is a treasure for pet owners and non-pet owners alike. For pet owners, we can see a bit ourselves in each photo and smile, and for non-pet owners, they get a silly, good-natured window into our world, where the pets are certainly a part of the family! And we do love them very much, especially for sharing in our awkwardness. As Mike Bender and Dough Chernack put it,
“Perhaps their most loving gesture of all is allowing us to be awkward. And for that, we are very grateful.”
You can purchase the book at AwkwardFamilyPetPhotos.com and on Amazon, but for one of our lucky readers, Three Rivers Press has provided us a book to give away! To be entered in the giveaway for this wonderfully funny book, just comment on this post by 11:59pm EST on Sunday, November 13th. The winner will be announced Monday, November 14th!
Hello fellow cat lovers, and welcome to ModCatLove.com’s first product review! Pixelcat and I received a sample toy pack from designer Kate Benjamin over at Moderncat Studio. Moderncat has many environmentally-friendly, handcrafted, and cost-effective products for your kitty. Today, Pickles the Drummer, Clementine, and Dr. Kitty Purrington sampled four of Moderncat’s most popular toys. Which ones came out the champions?
Pickles (obviously) immediately snooped in the box within seconds of me opening it. The organic catnip was potent enough that my cats could smell it through the box!
Pickles tried out a retro orange, boomerang-shaped, felt Atomic Flyer, a multi-colored Felt Roller, and a natural-colored Jute Bomb. The clear favorite for Pickie was definitely the Atomic Flyer. She could dig her claws into and safely chew on the felt, and I really think she liked the unique shape! She did like to bat at the the Felt Roller and chew on the Jute Bomb, but the Atomic Flyer was the clear winner for Pickles.
I made a silly little video of Pickles enjoying her little boomerang-like Atomic Flyer (I will absolutely be buying a full pack of these shapes, I couldn’t believe how much Pickles loved them!):
I can safely say, however, that the Jute Bomb came in close second for Pickles. SO EXCITED:
Kitty quickly chose the polyfill-stuffed small ModKicker, extremely well-crafted and tough for a hunting cat like himself.
He and Clementine (notorious for sharp teeth and sharper claws) both kicked and scratched and bit at the ModKicker, but there wasn’t a single thread out of place when they finished. Toys like the ModKicker that can withstand rough play are especially important to me.
Of course, while I was quite happy to see how much my cats loved all the toys, I personally loved their unique, trendy designs. As Kate says about the ModKicker, “You won’t mind seeing these scattered around your house,” but I feel the same way about all four of these toys! Snobby Clementine was even happy to pose with them all as a fashion statement to other cats out there:
Look at that model pout! …Or that Catnip-high…
Thanks very much to ModerncatStudio.com for giving us these toys to review! They are awesome, kitty-safe, and I highly recommend them! Absolutely fabulous for modern cat lovers like ourselves!