ISBN 1-40540-732-8

Understanding Your Cat: An Illustrated Guide to Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior by Don Harper

My neighbor used his garden hose to spray the f . . . uzz ball out of a stray cat.

N, a retired gentleman who had taken to sitting in his front yard and yelling at cars that drove too fast down our street, didn’t notice that Shadow* and I were on the front porch reading. When I saw this happen, I made a mental note not to ask N to cat sit.

N did not know a thing about cat behavior. If you mess with a cat, it will exact its revenge. I would not be surprised if N found a massive cat poo-poo in his grill or on his favorite patio chair. Too bad N hadn’t read Understanding Your Cat: An Illustrated Guide To Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior by Don Harper.

The book contains such useful information as:

Over one quarter of the population owns a cat.

The flightless kakapo has now become one of the rarest parrots in the world because of feral cats.

Cats find antifreeze appealing and drink it readily. And then DIE.

One can give their cat a bran bath by warming bran in the oven, rubbing it into the coat, and brushing it out.

Catnip is a member of the mint family.

Many household plants are poisonous to cats. One should obtain a full list from their vet.

One should never keep a cat on their lap when driving.

Do not teach babies to pull a cat’s tail or disturb it when it is sleeping.

Before reading this book, I planned to teach every baby I met to not only pull my cats’ tails, but also poke them in the eyes, and spray them with sunscreen.** And maybe it’s just the psychology degree in me, but I found the case studies to be of particular interest. They were, by far, the best part of the book.

I don’t just like cats.

I have an unbridled love for them.


The fact that I don’t speak Polish couldn’t dissuade me from purchasing Szulerzy’s album Blues’ n’ Roll after I saw the cartoon of the cat band on the cover.

On a recent trip to the county fair, I saw two projects that made me wish I were a 4H judge. CB deserves a

Cat tree by Cody Bromenshenkel Carver County Fair 2012

blue ribbon for sheer ingenuity alone—I mean a Christmas tree stand? Bravo.

N’s behavior + the 4H kids got me thinking about what I could do to help strays in my community. I called the local animal shelter and spoke to Barb Kastens:

Me: How can one help if they have, like, no money and no time to actually volunteer? I’m featuring a cat book on my blog next week.

BK: I wrote a book about cats.

Me: Really? Want to be friends?***

BK told me that her book was called ‘Niser’s Nine and it could be found on Amazon. I told BK more about the blog, and how I refuse to write bad things about books because they take so much work to create.

BK: Oh, can you say how much hard work goes into making a book on your blog?

Me: Yup.

“Inspired by Jenny” by Kati Buckenti Carver County Fair 2012

BK said that the animal shelter would take new or used cat trees, carriers, and toys. Some volunteers made fleece blankets for the animals by ting the ends together in knots. The shelter needed donations of food, but nothing already opened. Cleaning supplies were always in demand.

BK: You would not believe how many paper towels we go through. Oh, and birdseed.

Me: Birdseed?

BK: Yes, we have bird feeders outside the window of the cat room, so the cats can watch the wild birds. To prevent boredom.

Me: And what about volunteering? Can someone just show up and pet the kittens on, say, Thursday afternoon?

I was thinking about my artistic nature, and general inability to commit to schedules. Also, it was Wednesday. BK informed me that volunteering hours needed to be scheduled in advance, but people could volunteer for a few hours a month if that was all the time they had to spare.

Me: If cats aren’t your thing? (I was thinking about N.)

BK: We have rabbit evaluation volunteers. Someone who comes in and looks at the rabbit’s behaviors and then writes helpful comments for new owners. We also need old newspapers to line puppy cages.

If you watch this kitten video, and you still don’t like cats then you have no soul.

Either that or you are allergic to cats.

If you think driving a 0.99-cent roll of paper towels to your local animal shelter is inconvenient, try writing a book. Books take a lot of energy and hard work to make.

*Our dog. She seemed just as confused as I did by N’s behavior.

**My niece sprayed both of my cats with sunscreen because they “would not play with her”. This prompted a long talk about the moral and ethical treatment of those who are smaller than us, why we should avoid purchasing products tested on animals, and why some people don’t eat meat.

***I didn’t actually ask BK to be friends aloud. That part was in my mind.

****Please share your cat tales with me in the comments. It won’t seem random. I promise.



Filed under Books, Cats, Kittens, Life

8 responses to “ISBN 1-40540-732-8

  1. I was looking over the books on the left hand side of your header (if I’m looking straight at the picture) and saw some old Star Wars Novels. Awesome!

  2. Deborah Meissner

    My laundry room flooded this week (never start a load of laundry when you have things soaking in the plugged utility sink!), and my cat Pippa walked nonchalantly through standing water, used her litter box, and walked out. She also gives paws-around-your-neck hugs, and actually greets people who come to our house, instead of running away. She is amazing. Loved this post!

    • Thank you so much for sharing! My cat Chondra gives paws-around-the-neck hugs. He also tries to get all 15 lbs of him around my neck to hang out while I read and write. It was cool when he was a kitten, but not so much anymore.

  3. What I want to know is why would you WANT to give your cat a bran bath? To make it more palatable to old people? Or is it like when I had chicken pox and my mom gave us oatmeal baths? And who deliberately teaches babies to pull cat’s (or dog’s) tails? That’s messed up. But this post is not. I enjoyed it immensely.

  4. Also, when I lived with CT, we had a cat, Vox, that would break into our apartment (I guess that’s where they got the term “cat burgler,” huh?). Anyway, I got locked out of the apartment once because of Vox and I had to run three miles to campus (after having already run three miles before that) in order to catch CT before her class. I ended up typing 5 pages for class at a kiosk computer because I needed to get it done. That’s not really a good cat story, but it’s a cat story nonetheless.

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