An author tells the fictional life story of a real cat he adopted, using his imagination to fill in the blanks.
Patches is a kitten born in a New England home to a man named Henry and his family. Economic woes and Henry’s drinking drive his wife and children out of the house, and one day he abandons 1-year-old Patches, claiming he can’t afford another mouth to feed. Patches wanders by himself until he meets Chester, an adopted feline who roams outdoors, and Buster, a street-wise stray cat. From these friends, Patches learns to forage from the local diner, find shelter and water, and defend himself in fights. The owner of the diner whose dumpster he frequents catches him and tries to set him on the restaurant’s rats, but Patches decides he would rather be friends with the rodents and watches them play pranks on the establishment. The advent of winter presents new challenges for Patches, and he must rely on his wits and new friends to prevail. Throughout the novel, Plante’s (Solar Energy, Photovoltaics, and Domestic Hot Water, 2014, etc.) affection and passion for animals are quite evident and his concern is admirable—even if it occasionally comes off as preachy when the narrative diverts from the plot to elaborate on the reasons that a cat should not be allowed outside. Patches gets into some bad scrapes, but his troubles seem to be resolved a bit too easily at times—he quickly makes friends with most of the animals he encounters and doesn’t seem to have enemies for very long. He spends the book going from one predicament to another, just trying to survive, but the ending brings the story full circle. While the settings are vividly described, the characters are often portrayed through telling rather than showing—as in this introduction of a human character: “His attitude towards others was not a positive one, so he never helped other people, animals, or essentially even himself for that matter.” Even so, cat lovers should enjoy this work.
A simple tale of a feline’s journey that carefully details the plight of stray animals.