Three delightful books for pet lovers – and a giveaway

Today I’m featuring three delightful books for both cat and dog lovers.  Every one of these books will make a wonderful holiday gift for the pet lovers on your list. 

Life with Maxie by celebrated radio host Diane Rehm is a sweet little book that will warm the heart of any pet lover. Maxie, a long-haired Chihuahua, hit the jackpot when Diane Rehm took the then 12-week-old pup home. Maxie’s life with Rehm is a dog’s version of paradise, but little did the author know that her life would also be forever changed by this delightful, albeit sometimes stubborn dog with some behavior challenges.   Rehm sums up the transformative power of her little dog in a final chapter that brought tears to my eyes. A delightful read, and a wonderful gift, for all animal lovers.

A Golfer’s Tail:  The Quest for the Double Slam by Roscoe Watkins is a fanciful and fun tale for cat lovers and golf lovers alike.  From the publisher:  Feline golf aficionados have long known of the exploits of Roscoe Watkins, widely considered to be the greatest all-species golfer of them all. This recently discovered lost manuscript chronicles Roscoe’s most memorable year, 1998, and is now available for the human servant audience. In that fabled year, Roscoe accepted the challenge of a brash young rival, Ichiro Nakamura, and began his quest for the Double Slam. The Double Slam would require winning all of the major championships on both the regular and senior feline golf tours. In making the Quest, Roscoe, with his faithful caddie and sister Maggie at his side, had to deal not only with the formidable challenge of Nakamura, but other champions, including Cyril (“Lord Sandtrap”) Bunker, Bruno Mauser, Murph McFurrson, and senior legends Scratch McNabb and Old Tom Norris. Follow Roscoe’s Quest and also learn the true secret of the game.

Dog Sayings:  Wit and Wisdom from Man’s Best Friend by Bradford G. Wheler is a collection of dog art and quotes celebrating dogs in all of their glory.  And despite the title, the book also has a chapter dedicated to cats, which speaks to the generous nature of the author, since most of the cat quotations refer to cats’ innate superiority to their lesser dog friends (which should not come as a surprise to readers of this site).  The wide variety of different illustrations ranging from photographs to watercolors to drawings to oil paintings make this book a visual delight for pet lovers.

I’m offering each of the three books as a giveaway for one lucky winner.   Leave a comment letting me know which book you’d like to win, and why.  Share the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter and leave the link in a separate comment for an extra chance to win.  This giveaway ends Friday, November 26.

I received A Golfer’s Tail from the author, and Dog Sayings from the publisher. 

Book Review and Giveway: Dewey’s Nine Lives by Vicki Myron

In Dewey’s Nine Lives:  The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions, Vicky Myron offers nine stories about some very special cats, inspired by the thosands of letters and e-mails she received from readers around the world after the phenomenally successful publication of Dewey:  The Small-Town Libary Cat Who Touched the World.  In these letters, readers told Myron how Dewey had touched their lives and shared heartfelt stories of their own special cats.  You’ll read about a determined black cat who changed a Vietnam veteran’s life for the better.  You’ll hear about a spirited kitten who brings back one woman’s childhood memories of a lost mother.  You’ll learn how a city cat with a rough start in life accompanies her adopted human through a series of major life changes.

Myron chose inspirational stories about people who were down on their luck, who mostly came from small towns, and who were faced with tough challenges.  Given Myron’s own background, it is not surprising that these stories resonated deeply with her.   At times, the stories focus a little too much on the humans’ backgrounds, but in the end, it’s always the cats in the stories who not only saved the day, but often saved their humans’ lives – maybe not literally, but most definitely figuratively speaking.   The cats in the stories are a testament to the healing power of cats – they opened hearts, inspired change, and transformed lives. 

Dewey himself is woven throughout the book.  There are some Dewey stories that were not included in the first book, and Myron shares what her life has been like after Dewey.  I was particularly delighted by the book’s final chapter as it answered a question I had been wondering about.

Like most sequels, this, too, does not quite live up to the first book, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable, heart-warming book which will make you hug your own cats just a little harder and thank them for all they’ve brought into your life.

For more about Dewey’s Nine Lives, and to see some of the cats featured in the book, watch the book trailer:


Would you would like to see your cat’s story featured in the paperback edition of Dewey’s Nine Lives?  Penguin Books is hosting an I Believe In Dewey’s Magic Story Contest, looking for true tales highlighting how a cat has impacted your life or the life of someone you know.

I’m giving away one copy of Dewey’s Nine Lives to one lucky winner.  Leave a comment on this post to enter the giveaway.   Tweet about it or share on Facebook and leave the link in a separate comment for an extra chance at winning.  This giveaway ends on Friday, October 29.

This book was sent to me by the publisher for review.

Cat Adoption Story Winner

Congratulations, Cindy – you’re the winner
of an autographed copy of Buckley’s Story

Thanks to all who shared their wonderful adoption stories – please be sure to read all of them, they’re truly moving and a testament to the bond between cats and the people who care enough to give them a loving home.   It turned out to be impossible to pick a winner by judging the stories, they’re all touching and wonderful, so I used a random number generator to pick the winning entry.  Congratulations, Cindy!

Book Review and Giveaway: Making Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa, M.D.

Oscar, the cat who can predict when nursing home patients die, has received quite a bit of press over the last few years.   Oscar, one of several resident cats at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island, seems to instinctively know when one of the patients at the facility is getting ready to die.   After over fifty correct calls by Oscar, Dr. David Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University, began to investigate this phenomenon and, in 2007, published an article about it in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

Making Rounds with Oscar – The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat is the result of Dosa’s interviews with family members and of patients and staff members at Steere House.   Dosa, who admits that he doesn’t know much about cats, and who is initially skeptical about Oscar’s abilities, hears a common thread in all the interviews:  over and over, patients and staff members tell Dosa how much Oscar’s presence has meant to them and their families during their time at the nursing facility.  Oscar provides comfort and quiet, gentle support when nothing or noone else can. 

This cat’s extraordinary talents will come as no surprise to cat lovers, nor will they question Oscar’s abilities.  He truly is a remarkable cat, and he, and the other cats who live at the nursing home, clearly demonstrate how having cats at a nursing home can have a wonderfully calming and beneficial effect on the patients, staff and visitors. 

Sadly, the title of the book is a bit misleading.  If you were expecting to learn more about Oscar’s extraordinary abilities and how he knows when someone is about to die, you will be disappointed.  The majority of this book is devoted to dementia and Alzheimer’s, and the devastating effect these diseases have not only on the patient who is suffering from them, but also on the patient’s family members and caregivers.  As such, the book surely is a wonderful resource for families who are dealing with this heartbreaking disease in a loved one, but it will leave cat lovers feel a little cheated. 

I really wanted to like this book.  I love the idea of a nursing home with resident cats.  There have been numerous accounts of how patients who stopped responding to and recognizing loved ones will still respond to animals.  This has been written about exceptionally well by Jon Katz in his book Izzy and Lenore about Izzy, his hospice trained dog.  Dosa, too, acknowledges that he believes that animals are a way for these patients to still connect, but, in my opinion, falls short of exploring the premise more deeply.

This is, perhaps not surprisingly, given Dosa’s medical specialty, primarily a book about dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and it addresses those topics well and in great depth.  However, Oscar, the star of the book and its title, an exceptional cat with the special ability to not only predict death, but to comfort a dying patient through his or her final moments, does not get the attention he deserves.  I had hoped that the book would take a look at a possible scientific explanation behind Oscar’s abilities, and perhaps, also address the spiritual dimension of why this gifted cat does what he does.  This is a good book, full of compassion, caring and hope, but it left me wanting more.

I’m giving away one copy of this book to one lucky reader.  For a chance to win, please leave a comment telling me why you want to win this book.  For an extra chance to win, tweet about the giveaway or share on Facebook and post the link in a separate comment.  This giveaway ends Friday, June 25.

June is Adopt-A-Cat Month – Share Your Cat Adoption Stories

Sponsored by the American Humane Association and the CATalyst Council, Adopt-a-Cat Month is designed to help make a difference in the lives of cats.

Approximately 4 million cats end up in shelters every year, including thousands born every spring and summer during “kitten season.” Your local shelter and rescue group is brimming with cats of every breed, age and personality just waiting for a loving home. Whether you prefer young and frisky or mature and mellow, you’re sure to find the perfect cat companion during Adopt-A-Cat Month!

The Conscious Cat wants to hear your stories!  Did you adopt your cat from a shelter or rescue group?  What made you pick this particular cat over all the others at the shelter?  Or did kitty pick you?  Do you work or volunteer at a shelter?  Do you have a favorite adoption story?

Leave your story in a comment, and, if you’d like, introduce the shelter or rescue group you adopted your kitty from and leave a link in the comment so they can get some recognition, too.   At the end of the month, we’ll pick the most heart-touching story, and the winner will receive an autographed copy of Buckley’s Story.

New from Moderncat Studio: The Scratch Tower

Every once in a while I come across a product that is so cool, I just have to share it with you – and this Scratch Tower by Moderncat Studio is one of them. 

***Moderncat is giving away a Scratch Tower to one lucky winner in the month of June – look below for details!***

Guest post by Kate Benjamin

Last week I showed you the new Wave door-hanging cardboard scratcher from Moderncat Studio, and this week we have another exciting new design to share with you: The Scratch Tower. Also designed in collaboration with the team at Juggernaut Design, The Scratch Tower is a huge hit at my house. We’ve been testing prototypes for months and this thing is definitley a cat magnet.

The Scratch Tower is a freestanding cardboard scratcher, unlike any other scratcher on the market. Just like Wave, The Scratch Tower is held together with compression instead of adhesives, so you can easily replace and recycle the cardboard when it becomes worn. This also allows you to change the configuration of the cardboard pieces to create an endless number of geometric, sculptural designs. You can try different configurations until you find just the right design that suits both you and your cat. And if one area of the cardboard gets worn out, simply rearrange the pieces so kitty can keep on scratching, although the cardboard we used is extremely durable and mine hasn’t shown signs of wear yet, even with repeated scratching.

There are two styles of cardboard pieces to choose from: Trio and Triangle, plus you get to choose either red or black for the ball on top.

Here are just a few of the designs you can make by rearranging the cardboard:

The sturdy base is made of Arreis sustainable design, 100% recycled fiberboard with a high-gloss white laminate on top and four non-skid feet on the bottom to help protect floors from scratching and to provide stability on hard surfaces.

The Scratch Tower measures 11″ by 11″ by 19.5″ tall and the cardboard scratching portion is 6″ by 6″ by 14″. All parts are fabricated in Phoenix, Arizona and hand assembled at the studio. Each Scratch Tower comes fully assembled and ships via USPS to addresses in the US. International shipping is available. The Scratch Tower is available in the Moderncat Studio Etsy shop for $95 US. Replacement cardboard will be available for $30.

Moderncat is giving away one of these fabulous Scratch Towers to one lucky winner!  Enter the giveaway during the month of June by clicking here.

Kate Benjamin is the founder and editor of Moderncat, a resource for cat owners with a modern style. She seeks out the newest products for living with cats in a modern home. She tries to identify not only products that fit a modern aesthetic, but also items that are truly innovative and that make living with cats a more enjoyable experience. Moderncat combines product reviews with other useful information for cat owners in a clear and concise format.