04 August 2011

Book Review: Shadow Cats

Shadow Cats:  Tales from New York City's Animal Underground by Janet Jensen
ISBN:  1580627528

Shadow Cats: Tales from New York City's Animal UndergroundThis book chronicles the journey of its author from someone concerned about stray cats to manager of feral cat colonies. Along the way, she rescues and cares for many cats, while learning many lessons. Many of the stories in the book are humorous, some very tragic.

The passion of the author and of other rescuers comes through clearly in this book. I found it very heartwarming that in a city like New York, known for its toughness, there are networks of people dedicated (sometimes to extremes) to save cats which will never be pets to anyone. For people outside cat rescue groups, this book is a fine introduction to what it takes to rescue cats, both financially and emotionally.

My biggest complaints with this book are the overall writing and organization. In many places, the writing could be more clear, more descriptive, more detailed. She missed many opportunities to elaborate on humorous situations or to explain why certain actions were more appropriate. The book is generally told in chronological order, but this is not always adhered to. Some chapters seem almost to have been inserted later, to fill out the book. Maybe it was her passion and her emotional connection to the subject that led the author astray, but I would have liked the book more had it been better edited.  A minor complaint is that I wished she had included more details on handling these cats -- taming a feral cat -- so that I could learn something useful when dealing with my traumatized shelter cats.

Overall, this is a good book. Someone had recommended it to me and I'm not displeased that I bought and read it.  I probably will not read it again, because of some of the tragic stories -- stories which I take too much to heart. If, however, someone came to me and asked for a book about cat rescuing, I'd have them read this one so they understood more of what they were getting into.  )

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