Review: Catalyst by Sarah Beth Durnst

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I rarely read books in the fantasy or young adult genres, but every once in a while, I get a pitch to review a book that sounds so intriguing that I agree to take a look. I’m glad I did for Catalyst. This story about 12-year-old Zoe, who rescues a tiny kitten on her birthday, and the adventures that her act of kindness lead to, appealed to me on a lot of different levels.

From the publisher:

Zoe named the kitten Pipsqueak, because she was so tiny, and promised to always take care of her. Then the kitten grew. And grew. Now she’s bigger than a horse—and talking as well! Fleeing into the woods to escape the curious eyes of the Internet, Zoe and her best friend, Harrison, must keep the giant cat hidden as they desperately search for a way to return her to normal size. If they don’t succeed, Pipsqueak may never be safe again. But why did she grow so large in the first place? And what if trying to change her back leads to even greater danger?

Aimed at readers in grades 5 through 7, I nevertheless found myself drawn into this story almost from the very beginning. Durst’s writing style is beautiful, and that alone made reading a pleasure. But it’s the plot and the vivid descriptions of the magical creatures that really delighted me and kept me turning the pages. I found myself smiling and holding my breath, sometimes at the same time.

Ultimately, this is a story about growing up, about change, and about accepting others for who they truly are, regardless of species, shape or size.

I think this is a wonderful book for young readers, but it can be equally enjoyable for adults who are willing to suspend belief and escape the current reality for a little while.

Catalyst is available from Amazon.

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*The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves. I received this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Remembering Ruby: That Time When Ruby Watched the Tree Trimmers

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We’re coming up on about a year ago that Ruby first started to get sick and then rapidly declined. It’s hard to believe that she’s been gone almost ten months. There are days when I feel the grief as acutely as if she had only left yesterday. Memories are both comforting and painful, as you would expect when you’re grieving. I’m grateful that I not only captured so many on photos and videos, but also in her “Ruby’s Reflection” column. Today’s memory goes back to the summer of 2012. Continue reading…

Holistic Actions! Offers Resources to Help You Take Better Care of Your Cats

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Founded by holistic veterinarian Dr. Jeff Feinman, Holistic Actions! offers resources to educate cat (and dog) parents on how to care for their pets holistically so they can live their longest and best lives. Rather than managing symptoms, HA!’s mission is to help veterinarians and cat parents focus on disease prevention and avoidance of unnecessary diagnostics and treatments. Continue reading…

Mews and Nips: Cat Imitates Human

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A Japanese cat may be the world’s first real copycat. Ebisu was able to imitate the actions of her human under controlled scientific conditions. Claudia Fugazza, an ethologist at Eötvös Loránd University, who had been studying dog cognition for nearly 10 years using “Do as I Do” training, discovered this talented feline by accident. As part of the study, she was working with a  Japanese dog trainer who told her that she had trained her cat with the same method. For more about Ebisu and to see him in action, visit sciencemag.com.

If you missed any of the stories featured on the Conscious Cat this week, here’s a recap: Continue reading…

Review: RompiCatz Adjustable String Wand Toys

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RompiCatz makes some of the best cat toys on the market. These toys from the creator of the popular Neko Flies are designed to engage your cat’s natural hunting and prey instinct. Ellen understands the importance of mental stimulation and physical exercise for indoor cats. She has been creating toys that move and act like real prey for many years. Her toys provide endless opportunities to keep cats happy. Continue reading…

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