Review: Home with Henry by Anne Kaier

home-with-henry

When Anne Kaier first saw a cat in the middle of the road, she thought he was dead, and just kept on driving. But after passing four or five houses, she pulled over, got out of the car, stopped traffic, and picked up the limp, but still warm cat. After a few days at a veterinary clinic, the cat, who Kaier had named Henry by then, was pronounced healthy, so she took him home to live with her and her 10-year-old cat Lucille.

Kaier set Henry up in a spare bedroom in her Philadelphia home. As soon as she let him out of his carrier, he panicked and started throwing himself against the only window in the room. Kaier was stunned. Even though Henry wasn’t the easiest patient at the veterinary clinic, the vet had pronounced him as “just scared. He’ll come around.” It turned out that Henry was not just a stray cat – he was feral. In Home with Henry, Kaier chronicles the first year of life with this challenging cat in a series of diary entries.

Anyone who has ever taken on the daunting task of trying to tame a feral cat knows what Kaier was up against. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, Kaier did not. A self-admitted technophobe, she never even went online to try and find helpful information. I admire her patience and perseverance – and perhaps, in some ways, this was a case of ignorance being bliss, because most of the information she would have found would have told her that taming an adult feral cat is a very challenging undertaking. I found myself a little frustrated at times with some of the things she tried to bring Henry around when a simple Google search could have helped, but her approach ultimately worked as she was slowly building a relationship with the frightened cat. Along the way, Kaier’s sensitive, sometimes funny, often almost painfully honest narrative captured my heart.

This small volume is a story about a woman and her two cats, but it’s also a story of a single woman’s life in a busy city. As her relationship with Henry evolves, the reader learns about her family, her friends, and her neighborhood.

Ultimately, this is a story about how a cat can transform a life, and how love can be found in the most unlikely situations.

books banner for posts

9 Comments on Review: Home with Henry by Anne Kaier

  1. Cheri
    July 6, 2015 at 3:22 pm (5 years ago)

    I’ll be ordering this book from my local bookstore! I spent a year (2004) making friends with a feral cat who lived behind my apartment building. At the end of that year he slowly slowly moved in with me. He had to be able to go outdoors, so I promised him I wouldn’t lock him inside.

    Boo was about one year old when we started getting to know each other. He became the feline love of my life. Altho he has a couple of health problems now, including asthma, which is difficult to treat as well as possible in a Strong Minded cat (“you want to do WHAT with that little mask??”), we’re coping. The quality lap time we share at least once/ day is still very special, very precious time.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 6, 2015 at 3:51 pm (5 years ago)

      Boo sounds like a wonderful boy, Cheri. All my best to him and you.

      Reply
  2. Susan/s
    July 5, 2015 at 3:51 pm (5 years ago)

    That was a thoughtful review, Ingrid, though your assumptions about the Google search notion gave me pause. I, too, think Anne may have learned more about Henry by fumbling through the results of following her instincts than she would from any search engine. And he may have learned more about her that way, as well. In any case, certainly not everyone uses Google, or wants to. That she was up for the challenge IS remarkable. Hooray for you, Anne! And thanks for the heads up about this book, Ingrid!

    Reply
  3. Karen
    July 3, 2015 at 8:15 am (5 years ago)

    Wish the book was on kindle. Want to read it.

    Reply
  4. Fur Everywhere
    July 3, 2015 at 3:34 am (5 years ago)

    Wow, I’m kind of glad she didn’t do a Google search. I wonder if she had, if she would have continued to try to persevere with him? It sounds like the story has a good outcome in the end, which is awesome. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 3, 2015 at 6:15 am (5 years ago)

      That’s what I kept wondering, too!

      Reply
      • Anne Kaier
        July 3, 2015 at 8:28 am (5 years ago)

        Thanks so much for the comments. Thanks to Ingrid for the generous review.

        Amazingly enough, Google didn’t exist back in 1997 when this story actually happened. Also I could sense Henry’s underlying sweetness. That’s what drove me on to try to domesticate him.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          July 3, 2015 at 9:03 am (5 years ago)

          It’s hard to imagine a world without Google! Your special connection with Henry comes through in every word you wrote.

          Reply

Leave a comment

First time visitors: please read our Comment Guidelines.