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Book Review/Synopsis

 

 

 

SECOND-CHANCE CATS

edited by

Callie Smith Grant

 

I don’t normally read books made up of short stories. However, I received this one as a gift and found it quite enjoyable to read. The stories are all true which make this book very appealing.

One good thing about short story books is that you can read a tale very quickly. There is immediate satisfaction. Also, there’s never the urgency to continue reading to see what happens. The stories are short so reading can be stopped anywhere along the book at the end of a story.

The tales in this book are truly diversified. There are thirty-three of them and the majority deal with cats who have been rescued from various situations or locations. Then there are the narratives of the cats who in turn and have rescued their owners as well.

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The reader will become acquainted with Newt, a feral one year old-looking cat who meowed at the wrong door but ended up becoming the household princess. The man who opened the door had a desperate fear of cats due to a childhood incident. Oblivious to this, the cat walked into his apartment and sat in the middle of the living room, determined to stay. He gave her a wide berth and at night he slept with his bedroom door locked. The days wore on but in the end it all worked out.

***

Then there’s Grungy who lived with a colony of cats looked after by a local woman. He was chosen by a young girl who had an insatiable yearning for cats. To curb her inclination of bringing home all kinds of strays, her parents allowed her to pick one of her own from the colony. They became best friends. The girl had severe bronchitis and after a couple of years doctors discovered she was allergic to just about everything, including Grungy. It broke her heart when he had to be rehomed.   It got worse when she learned he had run away from his new home. With all the searching he was never found.

Several months later, as she started off to school, she almost tripped on a bedraggled thin cat lying on the doormat. She bent to pick it up and realized it was her precious Grungy! Needless to say, he was allowed to stay as an outdoor cat.

***

One story tells of a teenage girl who helped a woman take care of several feral colonies in their area. This was a volunteer job that would take her two hours every night to do. She didn’t just ‘dump and go’ but rather observed and tried to give them some human socialization. She noticed an adult cat with four small kittens. She assumed it was their mother and began bringing them kitten food in their own bowls. They always came to her, but the adult kept its distance. It was quite awhile later that she realized the cat was a tom who was acting as a guardian for the kittens. The colony was part of a TNR (trap, neuter, release) program. However, the elusive male could not be trapped.

Late one night, during the rainiest months on record, she was helping out by taking care of other colonies besides her own. At one of these she heard a mournful cry of help. She called out and heard it again. It was the tom, miles away from his home! With her flashlight she followed the sound and saw him crawl out of a storm sewer pipe. He must have sought shelter in a storm drain and ended up being swept away by the torrential rains having traveled miles underground. She went to him and he allowed her to pick him up, even though he had never before been touched by human hands. She took him to her pickup and kept him on her lap where his chilled body could get a bit of warmth. She drove him back to his colony and together they sat in the pickup for an hour while she talked to him and he dried up. The weather cleared so she let him out and he slipped into the bushes.

The next day he came out to greet her along with his four fluffy charges. She had named him Tug, because of the strings he pulled on her heart. At long last they had become bonded friends.

***

The Wings of Rescue is a non-profit organization out of California that flies homeless animals from states that have overcrowded shelters to others that need rescue pets for adoption.

A plane would be bringing more than one hundred cats, several dozen dogs and even thirteen potbellied pigs to Minnesota from Ft. Worth, Texas. The public Relations Director of the Animal Humane Society, Mary, from the Twin Cities was at the airport anxiously awaiting the flight. Her shelter would be receiving half of the animals with the rest being divided between two other rescues.

When the plane arrived the animals were unloaded and distributed and by nightfall were safely lodged in their new shelters and foster homes. Once home she posted on Facebook that the animals had all arrived safely. Very quickly she received a response from a Jessica in Forth Worth who had rescued one of the transports from her place of work. It was a momma cat, Checkers, with her babies and she wanted to know how they were doing. Jessica and her co-worker, Jocelyn, had taken turns during their shifts to take care of her before and after she had her kittens.

When the night manager at the large home improvement center wanted to put them down she quickly took them home. With help from her local Humane Society she was able to foster them. She and her husband worked socializing and housebreaking the little family. Already having four cats of their own they were unable to keep them and with many tears of uncertainty brought them to be sent on the transport.

Mary remembered seeing a few sets of feline families, but which one was Checkers and where was she now? Next morning she discovered they had been assigned to her rescue. She found them sleeping comfortably and took some pictures to send to Jessica. Jessica then filled her in on Checkers’ life in the home improvement center along with her siblings Butter and Penny, who also had their own stories.  

Mary took special care watching over Checkers and her family feeling it her duty for the two Texas girls who had nurtured them.

The kittens were weaned and sent to a foster home until they were spayed. When they became available for adoption they all found homes rather rapidly.   As for Checkers she was chosen by a young grandchild for her grandmother who had recently lost one of her two cats and wanted a companion for the remaining one.   Checkers found a loving home and blossomed into the perfect cat!

***

There is one story that recounted an unusual rescue. A woman had been trying to trap a pregnant cat for several weeks. When she succeeded she noticed she no longer had a big belly.   She took her to the vet who informed her the cat had given birth six to eight weeks earlier and the kittens would be off on their own. She was then spayed.

The woman told the author of this occurrence, who in turn questioned why she had believed the vet. She asked the woman for the location where the cat had been trapped. Learning it had been at a large construction site she realized she would need help. She reached out to her own cat, Spirit.

He was a blind cat who had miraculously found his way to her doorstep when someone had intentionally blinded him as a kitten. Having been together for two years a strong bond existed between them. She had harness-trained him and he was able to follow direction through the sound of her voice. They were a team.

They went to the construction site and entering the trailer learned that the momma cat had been seen around the trailer often going underneath. She was given permission to look for the newborn kittens, who were hopefully still alive after being without nourishment and comfort for countless hours. The trailer was fully skirted and resting on concrete blocks. It was dark, claustrophobic, damp and daunting! She called a nearby and true close friend who dropped everything to come help. The two women and Spirit crawled underneath. For two hours they soldier-crawled the areas where they could fit. Finally, only the low areas remained. Spirit was unleashed and following her voice cues he walked in a pattern over the unchecked spaces.

On the verge of giving up they began crawling toward the exit when she noticed Spirit returning to the same area every time she asked him to come. When he refused and lifted his paw up to the subfloor her friend immediately belly crawled to him. Once there she started to pull out some of the fiberglass insulation. With a gasp out came a tiny kitten! All in all there were four. It had been thirty-three hours since their mamma’s capture and who knows how much longer before that when they had last nursed.

They were taken to her home where she happened to be fostering two other female cats each with five kittens of her own. The older of the two accepted them and eventually the younger one did also. The two mommas did not like each other but they shared a deep love and affection for the little orphans who flourished under their care. Thanks to Spirit, the cat who had been terribly abused as a kitten, the four fluffy felines would live to be adopted two each into two loving homes.

***

These are just a few very abridged versions of the stories compiled in this book. They are all good and a favorite would be difficult to pick. It certainly is a nice book to have handy. If the urge to be blue or down or simply need a break from the woes of the day, pick it up, turn to a story to read and your feelings will take a back seat. ~ Marilu Shellie