PARK AVENUE VET by Lloyd Alexander


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Dr. Camuti writes of his 40 years as a veterinary practitioner, recounting little stories, correcting popular misconceptions, and defending his favorite of all beasts- the cat- fang and claw. Although he has ministered to celebrities' Siamese for two score (James Mason, Tallulah Bankhead, Imogene Coca) he insists 'there are no famous men or women where a sick animal is concerned'. One gathers from his book, however, that Dr. Camuti is no lower species Martin Arrowsmith. Awakening to the sick calls of the wild after being saved from a house fire by a pet cat, he goes on to putting himself instead of a geriatric St. Bernard to sleep, treating a papier-mache dog, and getting to know a pigeon with a penchant for eating seed out of his owner's navel- though any old navel would do. Among his favorite cats was a Persian named Flower, sentenced to remain in perennial heat because of an ovarian cyst, whose coquetry forced neighbors to alter every tom in the neighborhood for sake of a night's sleep; a paranoiac Siamese, Hercules, who'd been dropped on his head when only a little kitty; and the favorite of all felines, Rhubarb, whom Dr. Camuti saved from a nervous breakdown by absolutely forbidding any more night clubs or personal appearances. In the area of misconceptions corrected, Camuti insists that there's no such thing as a bad cat, that they are neither oversexed, innately evil, nor sneaky. He suggests we stop endowing animals with human attributes and appreciate them sui generis. No religious analogy is made. Animal lovers will like the book. Cat lovers will be crazy nuts for it. The stories are amusing in spite of their treatment.
Pub Date: July 9th, 1962
Publisher: Holt Rinehart & Winston
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1962


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