Friday, August 25, 2017

The Must-Read Cat Book of 2017: Strays by Britt Collins (Review & Giveaway)


Imagine the pain of a beloved cat going missing, and for months you have no idea what's happened to her.

Imagine finding what you think is a stray cat, completely losing your heart to her as she changes your life, then discovering she has an owner desperate to be reunited with her.

Both are nightmare scenarios for any cat lover, yet it's the unthinkable situation that two very different men and one amazing cat find themselves facing in one of the best cat books you'll ever read, Strays: A Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America by Britt Collins.


For fans of A Street Cat Named Bob and Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World,Strays is a compelling true story of a man who rescues a stray, injured cat and how they save each other.
Homeless, alcoholic, and depressed, Michael King lives in a UPS loading bay on the wrong side of the tracks in Portland, Oregon. One rainy night, he stumbles upon a hurt, starving, scruffy cat and takes her in. Nursing her back to health, he names her Tabor and she becomes a bit of a celebrity in southeast Portland. When winter comes, they travel from Oregon to the beaches of California to the high plains of Montana, surviving blizzards and bears, angry steers and rainstorms. Along the way, people are drawn to the spirited, beautiful cat and moved to help Michael, who cuts a striking figure with Tabor riding high on his backpack or walking on a leash. Tabor comforts Michael when he’s down, giving Michael someone to love and care for, and inspiring him to get sober and to come to terms with his past family traumas and grief over the death of his life partner.
As they make their way across the West Coast, the pair become inseparable, healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts. But when Michael takes Tabor to a veterinarian in Montana, he discovers that Tabor has an identification chip and an owner in Portland who has never given up hope of finding his beloved cat, Michael makes the difficult choice to return to Portland and reunite Tabor with her owner. Now Michael must create a new purpose in his life after Tabor.
The authentic tale of an adventurous and charismatic cat and her compassionate human admirers, Strays proves the healing power of love and the profound bond between humans and animals.
I knew going in that this book was going to be heart-wrenching, because reading about someone facing the loss of a beloved pet, rather through death or any other circumstance, hits too close to home for anyone who has loved and lost a cherished companion. In this case it's made even harder because of the bond Tabor (named for the cafe she was found at) instantly forms with Michael, the homeless man who finds new reason to live in this precious little cat. (My favorite line: The cat allowed him to touch another world and see beauty in the smallest things.) The greatest act of love you can show someone is to let them go regardless of how your own heart is breaking, and that's exactly what Michael does when he discovers Tabor's true owner never gave up hoping she would return one day.

Photo credit: Tiziano Niero

I had tears through most of the second half of the book because I knew Michael and Tabor's time together was coming to an end, but when they embarked on their final journey back to where it all began I was completely done for. That little adventure cat Tabor stole my heart and I honestly don't think I could've been as brave and selfless as Michael in returning her.

This is a book that is destined to be a movie. It's an amazing story celebrating the power of love and the impact that one little cat can have on so many lives.

Photo credit: Michael King

About the author: Britt Collins is a British journalist and writes for The Guardian, Sunday Times, the Independent, Harper’s Bazaar, Condé Nast Traveller, and is a contributing editor for Billionaire.com. She has volunteered at sanctuaries around the world, from tending big cats and baboons in Namibia to wild horses in Nevada, that have inspired features for The Guardian and the Sunday Times. While writing for the British tabloid, the Sunday People, she has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for many international charities through her investigative animal-cruelty stories; as an activist, she has help shut down controversial breeders of laboratory animals. She lives with her cats in London.

Join Britt Collins on October 6th at the New York Open Center in New York City for an evening talk and book signing. Details and registration can be found here.

Giveaway: Thanks to the publisher one lucky winner in the US is going to win a hardcover copy of Strays: A Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America. To enter, simply leave a comment below (don't forget your email address!). A winner will be chosen at noon eastern on September 1st using Random.org.


26 comments:

  1. My human heard about this book not too long ago, and it sounded so remarkable it gave her chills. She is looking forward to reading this incredible story.

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  2. Two of our three cats were found as strays. Moko was being picked on by other stray cats and a friend's father took her in (he couldn't keep her because his wife was extremely ill, on oxygen, and highly allergic to cats). We did post signs and in local papers, but nobody ever claimed her. Given just how social she is and how much she's loved people from the first day, I know she had to have been someone's cat. They either lost her and didn't bother to look for her or dumped her. Their loss was our gain. The other, my Kotoha, was found by me as a two-week-old feral kitten. I bottle fed her and she socialized in our home. I know she didn't belong to anyone. Our cats are indoor-only - not only to keep them from getting hurt or sick, but to keep them from getting lost.

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  3. Oh, this book most certainly sounds like such a profound, bittersweet read. I can only imagine bonding with a sweet kitty, only to discover that he already has a loving family. What a special story.

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  4. That sounds like an amazing story. Sad but also a powerful testament to how deeply cats can touch people's lives.

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  5. Thanks, Melissa! Although the book does sound very emotional, it has to be a great read.

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  6. This beautiful book would be a treasure. I would give it to my sister who lives alone with 2 cats and would love this book.

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  7. Sorry. e-mail address. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  8. Your review and the post is wonderful. What a captivating book which I would cherish. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  9. This looks pretty darn cool! Unfortunately we're in the great land of Canada, so we can't apply :(

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  10. I would LOVE to win this! Bear's saved my life in a similar way. He thought me how to accept love and also how to live vs. just survive. He was homeless when I found him ... I doubt he ever had a home (there was a feral colony nearby) - but I can't imagine if I'd had to give him up.

    mommakatandherbearcat @ gmail . com

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  11. Such a beautiful cat! It sounds fascinating!

    jsmith[delete brackets]3may[delete brackets]2011

    [at symbol]

    yahoo[dot]com

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  12. I read an article about this story, but didn't know it was a book! Sounds exquisitely human, humane and loving.
    vickydenison @ gmail. com

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  13. My husband and I took in a stray cat years ago. She had been living under our deck and I would put food out for her. When she started to trust us, we brought her inside. I put an ad in the lost and found in the paper because I knew if it was my cat I would want to find her. We got a few calls but they weren't looking for a Siamese. She was a great cat and we were happy to share our home with her.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  14. My husband and I took in a stray cat years ago. She had been living under our deck and I would put food out for her. When she started to trust us, we brought her inside. I put an ad in the lost and found in the paper because I knew if it was my cat I would want to find her. We got a few calls but they weren't looking for a Siamese. She was a great cat and we were happy to share our home with her.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. Oh gosh, this book sounds amazing and one I will absolutely read!

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  16. Sounds like a great book.
    So good to see a reunion, but a heartbreaking end for Michael King.
    Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

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  17. What a heartrending book! I can only hope that another loving, unique cat to share his life! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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  18. We are a family owned by two cats. My heart still pulls to help out those stray cats that are in our neighborhood. We've had two litters born in our garage and the neighbor's woodpile. It broke my heart to find they left before I could trap them and have them spay and neutered in hopes of finding forever homes. Thank you for sharing this heartwarming book. I would love to call it my own. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  19. I've heard of this book. I really want to read it. norbert8bubba@yahoo.com

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  20. Oh my goodness, I would probably be crying through the whole book!

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  21. This sounds like an amazing book, but I don't think I could handle it emotionally.

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  22. Sounds great! Two of my fur kids were strays; they make the best pets.

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  23. This sounds like such a lovely story. turtle6422(at)gmail(dot)com

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  24. I'd love to win because we have a stray who has recently adopted us :)

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  25. I'd like to read it, but then again I'd write about it too and my Amazon link might compete with yours...but then again, weeks or months would've gone by...

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  26. I am crying just reading your book review. I can barely imagine making my way through reading the book! But buy it I will because I can't resist a great story and a great cry!

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