Review: The Old Man and the Cat


The Old Man and The Cat: A Love Story is a story of how Nils Uddenberg, a retired Professor of Psychology, became a cat guardian even though he had never wanted a pet of any kind. He discovers a homeless cat sitting outside his bedroom window one cold winter morning. He starts out leaving food for her. When he finds her sleeping in a basket that holds gardening supplies in his shed, he lines the basket with a warm blanket.

Cat lovers already know where this story is going: slowly but surely, Kitty makes her way into Uddenberg’s home and heart. As he reluctantly realizes that he is falling in love with the little grey and brown tabby, his background in psychology makes him want to go deeper into the cat’s inner life. Does she have a sense of humor? Is it possible to attach human feelings to her? Is she actually interested in his and his wife’s attachment to her?

This is a sweet little book about the difference one little cat can make in a human’s life.

I was on the fence about this book until I read the final paragraph. Don’t get me wrong: I was in love with Kitty from the start. Any cat who can worm her way into the heart of someone who never wanted a pet has my full admiration. I just couldn’t quite connect with the author. I enjoyed his self-deprecating ruminations about the nature of cats, and his surprise at the feelings the little cat stirred up in him, but something was missing for me.

Perhaps some of the emotional content of the book suffered during the translation from Swedish into English, perhaps I simply got impatient with him for taking so long to realize that he loved Kitty. But when I got to the end of the book, I found myself with a big smile on my face and in my heart.

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6 Comments on Review: The Old Man and the Cat

  1. Ellen Pilch
    October 23, 2015 at 8:43 pm (5 years ago)

    I want to read this.

  2. Gary
    October 23, 2015 at 9:29 am (5 years ago)

    Almost sounds like me and my relationship with my cat Sammy. He’s a Godsend and I love him so much.

  3. Sue Brandes
    October 23, 2015 at 8:15 am (5 years ago)

    Thanks for the review. Will have to add this to my reading.

  4. Fur Everywhere
    October 23, 2015 at 7:28 am (5 years ago)

    I have this on my “to read” list on Goodreads, and it’s great to hear that you ended up enjoying the book in the end.

  5. Summer
    October 23, 2015 at 4:48 am (5 years ago)

    This sounds like a very sweet book. Translations are hard to get right. The translator sort of has to read between the lines and often come up with the meaning and not the literal translation. But I’m sure you know that, speaking both German and English! My human took four years of French, and in that short time, understood this (even if she couldn’t do it herself).

  6. Maria
    October 23, 2015 at 2:06 am (5 years ago)

    I am delighted to see, that a book I truly love, written by a fellow Swede, has been translated and reviewed by you. I it as sweet and heartwarming story. I have o read it in English as well, to see if I can find if anything has gone missing in the translation.


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