James Herriot’s Cat Stories
By James Herriot
Illustrations by Lesley Holmes
St. Martin’s Press, 1994
“Their innate grace and daintiness and their deeply responsive affection made them all dear to me.” Pg vii
James Herriot is a veterinarian in the countryside of England whose practiced mainly surrounded farm animals. He came of age when the domestic animals today (dogs and cats) were not important as the domestic animals then (cows, horses, pigs, sheep) but they were no less loved and cherished by their keepers. He writes of 9 memorable cats, 7 which were his patients and 2 which adopted his wife.
Alfred, the Sweet-Shop Cat – a beautiful grey tabby who sat on the corner of the counter of his keeper’s confectionery shop, observing the goings on.
Oscar, the Socialite Cat – another tabby, this one black, brown and orange, is found by the side of the road and brought to the vet’s to be put down
Boris and Mrs. Bond’s Cat Establishment – “Boris was an enormous blue-black member of the outside cats and…I always cherished a private conviction that he had escaped from a zoo; I had never seen a domestic cat with such sleek, writhing muscles, such dedicated ferocity. I’m sure there was a bit of puma in Boris somewhere.” Pg 54
Olly and Ginny, Two Kittens Who Came to Stay – The kittens were Olly (black and white) and Ginny (tortieshell). Their life at the Herriot’s is documented in this story and how over time they began to tolerate the vet’s wife’s touch but never the vet himself – because he caught them and neutered them. This is a sweet story of the virtues of caring for a feral cat colony.
Emily and the Gentleman of the Road – A wandering old gentleman takes p with a tiny little tabby he named Emily and walks her into the village several times a week.
Olly and Ginny Settle In, recounts the decision the cats make to seek help with their severe “cat flu” illness from the vet and when well, they go back to hating him.
Moses Found Among the Rushes tells the story of a barely alive black kitten found by the vet on a stormy night where he gives him to the family of the cow he’s tending to. The farmer’s wife brings Moses back to life and then puts him in sty with a sow and her piglets. The sow takes him in like he’s one of hers and nurses him along with her babies.
Frisk the Cat with Many Lives – an old man brings his near-death black cat into the doc’s office who brings him back to life several times.
Olly and Ginny the Greatest Triumph – the vet finally gets to touch the cats that have been hanging around his house for years.
Buster the Feline Retriever is the story of a cat who retrieves like a dog!
Rating 4 out of 5 paws for heartwarming stories of my feline cousins and their mostly happy lives.
Plus many more!