Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 9, 2023 by Crystal Uys

“Basically, the cats have our number. And our address. And a map.”

So begins Derv & Co., a collection of stories and poems about some of the cats who’ve come into the hearts and home of T.J. Banks. We meet Derv (short for Dervish), the orange and white patriarch of the clan, and Star, the Siamese whose introduction into the household is described by Banks as “General Sherman marching through Georgia during the Civil War. ” In addition to many others, we also get introduced to Zorro the Reiki cat, who taught the author about healing and energy, and Phoebe, the office cat, who will guest blog right here on The Conscious Cat next week.

T.J. Banks knows and understands cats, and her appreciation and love for each individual cat shines through in  her sensitive and beautiful prose. You may recognize some of your own cats in the stories, and you’ll find yourself nodding your head in recognition of a particular feline trait, or laughing as something in one of the stories will awaken a long-forgotten memory of one of your own long lost cats.

Cat lovers, especially those who live with multiple cats, will probably recognize their own homes in the chapter titled “Feline Chic.” We’ve all made decorating compromises to accommodate our feline family members, from flooring to furniture to wall color choices (Banks suggests butter yellow if  you have cats who spray!) Sticky Paws tape may just be a cat lover’s best friend when it comes to home decor.

All the stories touched my heart, but it was the poems that moved me deeply. “Storm’s Passing,” written after her cat Stormy died one June morning when his heart stopped unexpectedly, beautifully captures the grief we all feel after losing a beloved cat. “For Solstice” conveys the experience of a spirit visit by a beloved cat that is so magical and lyrical, it filled my heart with joy. “Dawnstar” is an enchanting ode to a soulmate cat.

This is a jewel of a book. It’s the kind of book you don’t read just once.  And it’s the kind of book you’re going to want to give to every cat lover in your life.

Derv & Co. is available directly from the author – if you’d like to purchase, please e-mail T.J. Banks.

T. J. Banks is the author of A Time for Shadows, Catsong, Souleiado, and Houdini, a novel for young adults which the late writer and activist Cleveland Amory enthusiastically branded “a winner.” Catsong, a collection of her best cat stories, was the winner of the 2007 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. A Contributing Editor to laJoie, she has received writing awards from the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA), ByLine, and The Writing Self. Her writing has been widely anthologized, and she has worked as a columnist, a stringer for the Associated Press, and an instructor for the Writer’s Digest School. She is currently writing a blog called “Sketch People,” a  series of interviews with people who have stories worth telling. You can learn more about T.J. Banks on her blog, and through this interview.

I purchased this book.

You may also enjoy reading:

Book review: Catsong by T.J. Banks

Book review: Houdini by T.J. Banks

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