Book review: The Complete Cat’s Meow by Darlene Arden

The Complete Cat's Meow Darlene Arden

When I look at cat care guides, I typically review them to see if they are something I would recommend to other cat owners. After almost three decades of either caring for cats, working with cats, or writing about cats, I don’t expect to find much that I haven’t read or heard about before. And yet, I bought The Complete Cat’s Meow: Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Your Cat, because I knew that a cat care guide written by Darlene Arden would be special. I wasn’t disappointed.

Darlene’s wealth of knowledge, thorough research, and engaging writing style come through on every page. But even more than that, it’s Darlene’s love for cats that makes this book special, beginning with the introduction’s closing phrase “The Complete Cat’s Meow will…help your feline companions live longer, healthier, happier lives. In return, you will reap a boundless bounty of love and affection” to passages such as “open your heart and your home to a kitty and watch the love flourish.” One only has to look at the photo of Darlene with her cat Aimee on the back cover to know that Darlene isn’t just an expert on all things cat, she truly loves cats.

Reading this book is like a conversation with a good friend who loves cats as much as you do, but knows more about them than you do. The book covers newborn kittens, how to choose the right cat for you, how to prepare your home for your new kitty, understanding cat behavior, nutrition and health care. Darlene presents an extensive list of feline health concerns ranging from urinary tract disease to cancer to dealing with emergencies and surgeries. The book also includes a listing of popular breeds with detailed descriptions of their appearance and personality.

The two sections that really stood out for me are the ones on new kittens, and on how to choose the right cat for you. In the kitten section, Arden goes into great detail on how a responsible breeder raises kittens. At fist, I was a little skeptical about the emphasis on breeders in this section, because I’m not someone who would ever purchase a kitten, (nor does the author advocate this as the only way to bring a kitten into your life). I quickly realized that the author uses the example of how a responsible breeder raises a litter of kittens to illustrate how kittens are raised in ideal circumstances, such as being handled and socialized from a very early age, and not being separated from their mother until they’re at least 12 weeks old. In the section on how to determine which cat is right for you, the author carefully reviews all aspects that should be considered, from age to breed to coat length. I have not seen these two aspects of cat care covered this thoroughly in any other cat care guide I’ve read, and I read a lot of them!

This is not to say that the other sections aren’t covered with the same level of depth and attention to detail. Every section in this book provides excellent information. In addition, the book is beautifully illustrated throughout with black and white photos and some absolutely stunning full color photographs in the middle. It also features an exceptional resource guide.

If you’re only going to buy one cat guide, this is the one to get. The Complete Cat’s Meow is not only a great book for those who are new to sharing their lives with cats, it really belongs in every cat owners library.

Darlene Arden with cat AimeeDarlene Arden is an award-winning writer, lecturer and Certified Animal Behavior Consultant. She is the author of numerous books on pet care and  hundreds of articles and columns for all of the major cat and dog publications, as well as for newspapers and general interest publications. Darlene is passionate about helping animals live longer and better lives. For more information about Darlene, please visit her website.


I purchased this book.

6 Comments on Book review: The Complete Cat’s Meow by Darlene Arden

  1. Roberta Beach Jacobson
    May 28, 2011 at 11:00 am (8 years ago)

    Ingrid, I agree with you, Darlene has the magic touch.
    In general, I’m not a fan of cat care guides, but Darlene writes with such humor and enthusiasm. She’s thorough in her research, too. It all makes for a stunning book! I’ll review it on my blog soon.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm (8 years ago)

      It is so much more than just a cat care guide, Robin, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to reading your review.

      Reply
  2. Connie
    May 27, 2011 at 10:15 am (8 years ago)

    after fostering for 10 years, I can concur that how a kitten is raised makes all the difference. While you might not pay to get a cat from a breeder, knowing the kitten’s history will help you understand what challenges you might need to overcome. Kittens that were never exposed to dogs will have a hard time adjusting to one when they are older. Kittens that never left the house often are very fearful of car rides and while out and about and can easily become car sick. I do my best to expose my kittens to as much as I can (since I don’t have kids or dogs) and I’m always told my kittens are some of the most well adjusted and social kittens they get back at the shelter. It is nice to see a cat book address that. I might have to look into it.

    Btw, have you ever reviewed Cat vs Cat.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm (8 years ago)

      Connie, that’s wonderful that you work so hard to socialize your kittens. I, too, was thrilled to see this topic addressed in Darlene’s book.

      I read Cat vs. Cat a while back, but I’ve never reviewed it.

      Reply
  3. Max the Quilt Cat
    May 27, 2011 at 6:26 am (8 years ago)

    Sounds like a great review. Looking forward to getting the book.

    pawhugs, Max

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm (8 years ago)

      I think you’ll enjoy the book, Max.

      Reply

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