Cats & Daughters: They Don’t Always Come When Called
By Helen Brown
Just so you know, Jonah — the quirky and strong-willed feline around whom much of this book revolves — does not officially enter the story until page 105. I am mentioning this now so that those of you who pick up this book don’t get mad at me for recommending a read that is about humans as much as it is kitties. The truth is that cats and humans co-exist, and when the human is the author, often the cat acts as a catalyst, symbol or teacher and as such, sometimes has to take a literary (although not necessarily literal) back seat to the humans’ doings. Mind you, if this were a cat-written book, things would be much different, but in this case the author is human Helen Brown, whose best-selling book you may recall — Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family. Cleo spent over two decades as a healing force with Brown and her family and after Cleo’s death, the author saw no need for another cat. But in the midst of a series of life’s upheavals — Brown’s son getting married, one of her daughters exploring life in a Buddhist monastery, and a breast cancer diagnosis for Brown herself — she wound up bringing home a wonderful and utterly crazy Siamese kitten. Unlike Cleo’s healing energy, Jonah is chaotic and determined, if ever devoted… not unlike Brown’s daughters. It takes Brown the better part of the book to come to an understanding of both girls and cat, and come to terms with accepting them for who they are and what they aspire to. While this is a book that has more humanity than felinity, there are satisfying doses of both for anyone who enjoys a good bi-species memoir.