CAT WALK by Mary Stolz


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The comfortable, old-fashioned, but uncloying story of a cat's progress from pillar to post. Born in a barn, the Little black kitten is a dreamer from the start, wishing for a name though his mother explains that only pets are given names. He is happy when the farmer's little daughter finds him, names him Tootsy-Wootsy (for his four large, six-toed white feet), and takes him into the house, where he sleeps companionably in the kitchen with the dog Juniper. But he only gets out when the girl takes him in her doll buggy, and he doesn't like the clothing and booties she keeps him in--so one day when the front door opens, he bolts. He finds his way to a service station whose softhearted owner Jerry takes him in and names him Snowshoes--but when Jerry's mean kid starts kicking Snowshoes around, Jerry takes the cat to Mr. and Mrs. Jaffee who run an animal shelter. Now named Max, short for Maximum (""for maximum number of toes""), the cat shares a basket with a rabbit named Mouse and an old dog, Cleopatra, and converses with Groundcover, the old race horse, and the Jaffees' other animals. Then Mrs. Jaffee gives Max to her grandchildren, who name him Mistletoes. Confined by their parents to the mud room, he bolts again, and then lives on his own--hunting, fighting, surviving, nameless--until a chance encounter stirs his memory and leads him home to the Jaffees. An old story, disarmingly told, with each home, human caretaker, and animal companion clearly characterized in a few light strokes.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
Publisher: Harper & Row