Kirkus Star


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A delightful litter of cat stories from the master storyteller of North Yorkshire. Herriot (Every Living Thing, 1992, etc.) is now retired after 50-plus years of practicing veterinary medicine, primarily with farm animals. While, especially before WW II, country vets rarely treated house pets, Herriot was an exception. Over the years, he not only treated a wide range of feline ailments but met and befriended many colorful and devoted cat owners -- and these stories are as much about them as about the animals. There's Mr. Ireson, an eccentric world traveler and lover of poetry who lives in a makeshift tarpaulin house with petite little Emily, his cat whom Herriot saves from a difficult delivery with an emergency caesarean. When visiting a farm to tend to a cow's overgrown hooves, Herriot finds a tiny black kitten outside in freezing weather. The kitten is soon adopted (and nursed) by a foster mother -- a sow with twelve piglets. And there's Olly and Ginny, two completely wild strays who adopt the Herriots at their later home in Hannerly, living for years in the backyard and ever so slowly learning to trust humans. (The day Ginny presses her nose against Herriot's was, he says, one of his ""greatest triumphs."") And, most touchingly, there's the tale of Debbie, a stray who frequently visits the plush home of Mrs. Ainsworth, where she's fed and allowed to sit by the warm fire but stays for only a precious few minutes each time -- but where, with her dying breath, she brings her tiny kitten on Christmas Day. A must for Herriot followers and cat lovers alike; the only disappointment may be that this slim volume simply reads too fast. Short, but oh, so sweet.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1994
ISBN: 0312113420
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: St. Martin's