Another addition to the cute cat book genre, this one more graceful and evocative than most. The question remains, though: Why has this author of serious, provocative fiction (The Golden Rope, 1996, etc.) wasted her time on a book about pets? Born the only child of a resourceful alley cat, Foudini M. Cat (the ""M"" stands for Mouser), enjoys a few good months with his mother before she goes off hunting for food one day and doesn't come back. Alone and frightened in his basement home, Foudini hides out behind the dryer until a thoughtful human rescues him and another adopts him. Of course, Foudini has no reason to trust humans at first, but after a while he allows himself to be befriended by his captor. Eventually, he realizes that the woman he calls ""Warm"" (for obvious reasons) is his ""assigned person,"" and he thereafter devotes himself to keeping her company. Sharing the city house and country house between which Warm and her husband (called ""Pest"") shuttle with Foudini is a dog, Sam, who happens to like cats. The two pets strike up a lifelong friendship in which Sam protects Foudini from occasional life-risking behavior and Foudini reciprocates by cleaning Sam's fur. After Sam dies (apparently of old age), Warm and Pest provide a kitten, Grace, as his replacement. Foudini's wry commentary on Grace's foolish ways evolves to affection and, finally, love, as the ghosts of cats past, as well as Sam, advise him in his dreams. Schaeffer has been accused of getting a little too intense and weighty in her fiction. That's certainly not a problem here.