The Cat Who Came for Christmas
By Cleveland Amory
There are book about cats by passionate cat lovers and cat books by converted cat haters, but I think Cleveland Amory is unique as a cat author in that he was an animal lover who was utterly clueless about cats until one came into his life. And even after he had lived with his cat for quite a long time, he was pretty clueless (as he confesses in this book). This first volume in Amory’s classic trilogy introduces us to Polar Bear, and I quite sympathize with the hard work this former stray had to go through to train the author. Amory was under the impression that with persistence, a cat would do anything he might have reasonably expected a dog to do. It was up to Polar Bear to make it clear that a) cats do not come when commanded, but they might show up when requested, b) cats do not take well to travel, c) cats would rather starve than eat unappealing diet food, and a host of other feline rules and regulations that decidedly did not come naturally to Amory. And Polar Bear had to learn a few compromises along the way, too — for example, as someone involved in animal activism and rescue, Amory would often bring home some stray, needy creature. Polar Bear had to learn how to cope with that. You also get to hear about some of the early days of the animal protection movement (Amory was founder of the Fund for Animals). Although Amory has a habit of rambling (something not uncommon for authors of his era), this book is full of charm, and even sweetness — not a small accomplishment for a slightly cranky cat and his curmudgeonly human.