A cat owner chronicles his feline-dominated household.
A journalist by day, Tarte (Fowl Weather, 2007, etc.) has also entertained animal lovers for years with humorous tales from the veritable zoo of animals with whom he and his wife, Linda, share their Michigan home. Here the author depicts the six feline buddies who deign to cohabitate with him. Before the narrative begins, an illustrated map of the “Ground Floor of a House Overrun by Cats” and cast list including the six “Cats of Characters” suggest the playful tone to follow. Although as a pet owner Tarte demonstrates an uncommon enthusiasm for animals (his household also includes parrots, rabbits, geese, ducks and parakeets) and rare openness to helping any in distress, his journalistic objectivity and self-deprecating introspection lend heartwarming humor to this account of cat-inspired chaos. Though some of the hyperbolic, unnecessarily dramatic descriptions may take some getting used to, Tarte’s more contemplative passages contain real insight into both human and feline behavior. Particularly moving is the author’s self-assessment of his dynamic relation with his cats, as he depicts each with the care typically reserved for a beloved. Explaining his affinity for animals in general, Tarte writes: “I loved their attentiveness, the grace with which they dealt with problems, their tenacity, and just about every other attribute they had that I lacked.” But what also helps normalize this tale is the author’s humor in realizing when his and his wife’s behavior exceeded normal pet-owner behavior.
A funny, pleasing read for cat lovers of any age.