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The photo-story of a purebred Persian cat--illustrative, in effect, of what can befall the best of cats in this very uncertain world. Misty's first life is spent in a cattery--""where purebred cats are raised for sale as pets, for breeding, or for show purposes."" Hess contrasts the expectant mother's pampering, and the kittens', with the conditions under which alley cats have sickly, unwanted young--presumably to encourage spaying, not to glorify catteries; but the omission of normal ""home"" birth is odd, and just the first of assorted times the book seems to lack firm direction. Misty's second life is brief, and all-too-clearly cautionary: she's purchased as a surprise present for a lady's granddaughter, and rejected by the child's allergic mother. Her third life finds her well cared for, but unloved: her owner, who had really wanted a show-quality kitten, gives her away when she fails to win a prize. (The segment is very informative, if equivocal, about the hobby of showing cats.) Her elderly new owner is overjoyed to have her--but the landlord isn't. Taken to an animal shelter, she's adopted by a vacationing family with a small boy and girl--then mishandled, neglected, abandoned. (""Misty's life was now no different from that of 20 million other homeless cats."") Finally, run down by a car, she's taken to a vet's and, once cured, given by him to ""withdrawn,"" ""insecure"" Chris: a boon to both. Hess apparently put a single Persian kitten through these paces--but, except for the last episode (somewhat mawkish anyhow), there's no lack of spontaneity, no sign of staging. As a general alert, the book should work quite well.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1984
Publisher: Scribners