Friday, 2 May 2008

48. Roger A Caras - A Celebration of Cats

Title: A Celebration of Cats
Author: CARAS Roger A
Publisher: Robson Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
No. of pages: 238
First sentence: Tradition has it that Adolf Hitler hated cats.

I read as part of my studies of Think Cat! and would particularly like to thank AngelChild for sending it to me. It certainly fulfilled its intended role of cheering me up this afternoon 

I really enjoyed Caras’ rather dry wit and never more so than when he was describing his own history of cat ownership. The story of Mister Amanda, who faints at regular intervals, had me almost hysterical. I was very touched at the genuine love and affection Caras obviously feels for his eclectic collection of animals. He writes knowledgeably about all aspects of cats and our relationships with them – from deification to folklore to persecution to showing. I now know how (according to Scottish folklore) to give birth to kittens, a feat I have wanted to accomplish since my teens.

Given my strong liking for Caras and his writing, I was rather alarmed to find that he approves of declawing for some cats and I’m glad that this didn’t come up until the last chapter as, had the subject been broached before I was hooked, I would have closed the pages and read no further. Caras advocates declawing where the alternative is that the cat be put to sleep because he is inflicting such damage to his domestic surroundings. I’ve not seen the argument in quite that way before. Death or declawing? I find it hard to believe Caras does not love his collection of waifs (some of whom are declawed) and, as most of the cats came from shelters, their alternative was life in a cage or death. Is being declawed in order to live the full life Caras describes really so bad? The jury is out.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s trying to understand human-feline relationships. The cover is attractive showing a trio of cats in relaxed positions. The book is illustrated throughout, mostly by Oriental artists.

The book has left me with an impression of light and love in the face of hardship.


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