Reviewed by Evon Handras, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals
Who says you can’t judge a book by its cover? In the case of Nobody’s Cats by Valerie Ingram and Alistair Schroff, you absolutely can. This beautifully written and illustrated story is sure to be a winner with children and adults alike, which holds true for all timeless children’s picture books. From the very first page, the readers’ heartstrings are tugged on just enough to want to keep reading about what happens to the cold and hungry little black kitten the story’s young hero happens to meet one wintry day.
Based on a true story that took place in rural British Columbia, the story centers around a young boy who comes across other children taunting a tiny kitten and the other cats taking refuge at an old barn. He jumps in to protect the kitten by scaring the other children away, and he never forgets him. In the spring, a humane educator visits the school. The boy, the true hero of the story, recounts what he saw. What follows next is a wonderful community effort to help these community cats. The children, with the help of the adults and the compassionate local vet, embark upon a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) project that vastly improves the lives of the cats.
Nobody’s Cats is an excellent introduction for young readers. It touches upon kindness and compassion towards animals and community cooperation, and offers excellent illustrations on Trap-Neuter-Return basics and proper colony care. Readers also get an understanding of the difference between feral cats and stray cats that can be rehomed, which is a big part of working to help community cats. The book also provides an excellent glossary of community cat terms for young readers.
Nobody’s Cats is based on the community cat project that the authors and their local community worked on for three years. In addition to being a key part of the project, local students contributed artwork and also helped write the ending of the story. “Nobody’s cats” are really a community’s cats, and this excellent book conveys that point beautifully.
How to Order
Nobody’s Cats is available as a soft cover book for a $10 donation (which includes shipping). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to order. A Kindle edition is available on Amazon.com.
All proceeds support the Lakes Animal Friendship Society, a small, volunteer-run animal welfare organization in rural northern British Columbia, Canada, which focuses on several initiatives including student and community education about animal care; compassion and bite safety; spay/neuter assistance for animals from lower income families; TNR and colony support for community cats; dog houses for dogs and cats in need of all-weather outdoor shelter; and pet food for the local food bank.
About the Reviewer
Evon Handras, a former music business professional, joined the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals as Director of Administrative Services in 2007. She currently works with the Alliance’s NYC Feral Cat Initiative program, and also is active in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) of the community cats in her home borough of Queens. In addition to her work on behalf of the animals, she still engages her passion for music by occasionally moonlighting as a DJ specializing in classic soul music.