I received James Herriot’s Cat Stories book as a Christmas gift, and I loved every page of it.
James is an excellent storyteller and shares about some of his cats, the cats he met while he was a vet, and those who cared for them.
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James Herriot was a vet in the rural United Kingdom and became a vet at the age of 23 in 1939 and was married to Joan (who is called Helen in the book).
The introduction to the book should not be skipped! James loved cats before they were a popular indoor pet.
He wanted to learn all about cats when he headed to veterinarian school, only to discover that many of the vet books at the time didn’t include cats.
The cat stories from James’s other books were compiled into this book (I wasn’t able to determine if it was all the cat stories from all the other books or just some of them).
The Cat Stories
I enjoyed this book so much because I could relate to many of the stories. And you can tell from the writing that James loves cats.
Three of the ten stories feature Olly and Ginny, a pair of feral kittens that Helen spots one day on their property.
Helen is excited to see them. However, they are unfriendly and want nothing to do with Helen or Jim. Gaining their trust is difficult, especially for Jim, who doesn’t have as much time to spend near them. And then he must get involved to care for them a few times (and they don’t forget!).
I know what’s it like to wait months (or more than a year) to be able to pet an outdoor cat and never to gain their trust at all (like with Chloe).
The book is about more than the cats. It’s about the people that care for them and the unique relationships that people can have with cats.
James traveled to farms that would often have cats. And sometimes, he would travel to care for cats at other locations.
For example, the story of Alfred, the cat that lives in a sweet shop. Geoff (the owner) is impacted when Alfred gets sick. When Alfred improves, so does Geoff.
The stories are a delight to read. There are a couple of points where I was in tears, but I was smiling most of the time.
If you like cats, and cat people, reading James Herriot’s Cat Stories is worth the time. I plan to reread it!