Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family
By Helen Brown
While this is not as much of a “cat book” as one might wish — it is really more of a memoir, with Cleo, the plucky black kitty as the main supporting cast member — it does prove without a shadow of a doubt that cats are wiser than humans, and that even when we are supposedly “misbehaving,” we have great healing properties. Cleo came into author Helen Brown’s life at the worst possible time: Brown’s young son, who had picked Cleo out for adoption from a litter of kittens — had just died in a tragic accident. Brown thought that the last thing she needed was a kitten, but Cleo was what she needed most of all: a companion for her other son, Rob, and a distraction from the overwhelming grief that often threatened to consume her. In truth, Cleo does not mend Brown’s family, because nothing could have saved her marriage, but she does lend her healing presence to Brown and Rob, and helps them out in so many ways: helping Rob make new pals and screening new mates for Brown, for example. She welcomes Brown’s two daughters and new husband into the fold, and Brown, who thought she was a dog person, realizes that she and Cleo were meant to find each other. Cleo’s long life, and Brown’s emotional-but-never-cloying book are testaments to that.