Sometimes the perfect book lands in your hands at the perfect time. I especially love it when that book is one you've never heard of before, but just have to read it immediately. Lost Cat is such a perfect book. I found Lost Cat on a recent trip to the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. I'd never heard of it before, but bought it after a very short browse and started reading it in the car on the way home- such is the power and allure of bookshops. The next day I'd already finished it.
Lost Cat starts with a bang, literally, as author and cat owner Caroline Paul, falls back to earth when an experimental plane that she was piloting fails. We never know why she was piloting an experimental plane, but it doesn't really matter. Lost Cat is the story of the time after her accident, when during her recuperation from a number of serious injuries one of her two cats disappears. Naturally Caroline is devastated.
When your cat goes missing, you panic. You imagine catnappers, vivisectionists. You have visions of the hole he is trapped in, the wounds that are keeping him from crawling home.
Is he drinking box wine with the rough and tumble feline crowd at the feral cat colony? Tibby does come home after a five weeks absence, but it is then that our story really gets going. Tibby comes back a "swashbuckling adventurer" who isn't eating at home.
Where do our pets go and what do they do, when we're not around? And why? Aren't we enough for our furry companions? For animal lovers, these are the ultimate questions.
And so begins Caroline's quest. Cat stalking really. She contacts psychics, invests in GPS technology, and even takes an animal communications class in a non-stop quest to find the lost five weeks of Tibby. Lost Cat is a beautiful, funny and moving exploration of what it is to love, but not only how to love cats, about modern life, and how we live in cities.
It was pathetic that Tibby knew my neighbours better than I did. He knew the state of their fences, the layout of their patio furniture, their gardening skills, the fights they had with their loved ones, the hours they rose, the hours they went to sleep, their tots, their dogs, the aromas of their meals.
Laugh out loud funny and wonderfully illustrated by Caroline Paul's partner Wendy MacNuaghton's clever and fabulous illustrations, Lost Cat is simply a delight.