Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Book Review: My Life in a Cat House: True Tales of Love, Laughter, and Living with Five Felines by Gwen Cooper


Celebrate the human-feline bond with all its joys, mysteries, and life-changing moments.

Gwen Cooper—author of the blockbuster bestseller Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life With a Blind Wonder Cat—returns with the ongoing adventures of her much-beloved, world-famous fur family. Ideal for new readers and longtime fans alike, this memoir told in eight purr-fect cat stories is filled with all the humor and heart Gwen’s devoted readership has come to know and love.

Raised in a dog-loving family, Gwen never pictured herself as a “cat person.” But from the very first feline she adopted—an adorable five-week-old rescue kitten, slow to learn how to trust after life on the streets—Gwen was smitten. Eventually one rescue kitten became five, and all the ups and downs of a life with cats are lovingly depicted here: From the obsessive cat who teaches himself to play fetch and demands it morning, noon, and night from his hapless human mom; to the crafty white beauty who raises outside-the-litter-box thinking to the level of an art form; to the routine vet trip that turns into a hijinks-filled misadventure on the streets of Manhattan with three (VERY cranky!) felines in tow. And Homer, the Blind Wonder Cat himself, returns triumphant in new tales of life and love after worldwide fame.

Sure to be treasured by cat lovers everywhere, My Life in a Cat House will leave you laughing out loud, shedding an occasional tear, and hugging your own cat a little bit closer. Read and rejoice!


There's something about Gwen Cooper's cat books that touch my heart like few others, and My Life in a Cat House is no exception. I savored this compilation of her Curl Up with a Cat Tale essays, reading one per night. Each night while reading I would think to myself, "this one is my favorite"...until the next night when *that* story became my favorite. Each one is just that special, and with each story I felt Gwen's love for her cats, and cats in general, bursting off the page. 

There were moments that left me in hysterics, such as the conversation between Gwen and her husband where they debate who is going to clean up the cat vomit in the kitchen. (Hubby figures she should do since she's so much better at it - well, practice makes purrfect - and what if someone is sick? Well, short of calling in a CSI team, how is she supposed to know who the culprit was if no one saw it happen?) Other moments left me in awe, like when one of her cats who loved playing with crumpled up paper would start bringing her whole sheets of paper to crumple up and toss! Balls of paper are one of Mudpie's favorite toys too, and while I think I have the most brilliant cat in the world, even she hasn't figured out that paper balls start out as flat sheets!

Of course being as emotional as I am about cats, many moments left me in tears, both happy and sad. One passage rang so true for me, and is such an important reminder for all pet parents, that it needs special mention here. Gwen's cat Clayton loves nothing more than playing fetch with his toys, to the point of obsession. While at first Gwen finds this behavior quite irritating, she has come to the following conclusion:
These days, I'm more apt to appreciate the fleeting nature of a cat's obsessions-of a cat's life. Clayton is still young, but time moves much faster than it used to. Just yesterday, Clayton was a kitten. Today he's five. Tomorrow he'll be a little old man struggling to lug himself around on his three legs. His days of flying up and down the stairs like greased lightning in pursuit of a toy mouse will be a distant, cherished memory. Much sooner than I'm ready for it, I know, a time will come when I'll think, What wouldn't I give to play fetch with Clayton just once more! 
I can't tell you the profound impact that passage had on me as I stopped to think about all the times Mudpie wants to play and I'm too absorbed in what I'm doing to participate or simply stop and watch the joy it brings her. I know all too well that a beloved cat can be gone in the blink of an eye and that every moment we have with these precious little gifts should be cherished. 

Whether you've enjoyed every one of Gwen's cat books or this is your first, snuggle up with a cat or two while you're reading. I guarantee with each turn of the page you'll pull them just a little bit closer as you realize just how empty your life would be without their unconditional love. 


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. As members of the Amazon Associates affiliate program, if you click on our links and buy something Mudpie gets a little money for her piggy bank!

15 comments:

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

The older Bear gets, the more frequently I lay awake at night and dread the time when he isn't here. I just can't imagine. I already see him slowing down and being less himself and it hurts me to the core. Every once in a while, the Bear I'll always remember comes out and I bask for a few more minutes in his sunshine.

Summer at sparklecat.com said...

We love Gwen's stories. She is an amazing cat writer.

Ruby's Rescued Life said...

Thanks for the review! I have read Homer's Odyssey but haven't read any of her other stories. Definitely adding this to my list!

Peaches and Paprika said...

That was a really sweet post and great review. We loved the paragraph quoted about running up and down the stairs like greased lightening. I too think of the times when I don't play with Paprika although she eyes are twinkling with fun and she's ready to rock and roll. Already she's dropped her door-climbing so she IS slowing down a little. I look forward to reading the rest of the book! Carol

The Menagerie Mom said...

Oh my goodness, this sounds like such a heartwarming book. The passage about her cat Clayton really hit home for me. Kitten Tonks loves to play fetch. She is the first cat I've ever had who will bring me a toy and want me to throw it, over and over again, for literal hours. Sometimes I catch myself wishing she'd tire and find something else to do so that I could get some work done. But, then I have moments like in the passage you shared here, when I think of how Tonks won't be young and active and eager to play fetch forever. So, I always try to cherish our moments (or hours) of fetch. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Another one for my to-read list!

Eastside Cats said...

I re-read "Homer's Odyssey" about once a year; it's just such a good story. I look forward to reading this book too!

Patricia T said...

Thanks, Melissa (and Mudpie). Sounds like a great book.

World of Animals, Inc said...

Thanks for the wonderful review. The passage that you shared is so true and very sad to think about. We would always want that fun memory that we have with our little ones. We are going to pick this book up. Have a great rest of your week.
World of Animals

Caren Gittleman said...

have to tell you, your reviews (and of course mine lol) are always my favorites! I love how you mentioned Clayton, and I agree with you, I often feel guilty when Cody wants to play and I am either "too busy" or just not in the mood. I also love that you mentioned the cat vomit excerpt that I did too....I nearly died because it sounded just like my husband and I!!! Loved your review!

Unknown said...

I couldn't have said it any better! Love all Gwen Cooper's books! Can't put it down.

Lola The Rescued Cat said...

We love Miss Gwen's books! Our mom got to meet her a few times and we have a purrsonally pawtographed copy of Homer's Oddysey. We can't wait for our mom to read us this one.

Mickey's Musings said...

Great review.
It's always fun to read other people's interactions with cats and it's fun to watch our own ones too :)

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

Sounds like a wonderful book.

Three Chatty Cats said...

This sounds like such a good book! Thank you for the review.

Terra Heck said...

I have two cats whom I cherish. This sounds like such a good book.