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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


83/100: Cat vs. Cat - Keeping the Peace When You Have More Than One Cat

Cat vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat - Pam Johnson-Bennett

I put this book on my reading list in the aftermath of what I have dubbed "The Great Kitty War of 2008" -- a harrowing experience in which one of my cats turned on the other as if she were a stranger after the latter visited the vet. However, by the time I actually acquired the book, the "war" had died down to an occasional outbreak of violence, and I didn't feel the need to read it immediately. I kept the book on hand, though, "just in case."

Fast forward six years, and one of the parties in the Great War has died. I looked at the book on my shelf and felt sad that it was now "useless" since I was now a resident of a one-cat household.

Until three months later, when I caved into the temptation to bring home a second cat from the shelter. Suddenly, this book became highly relevant again!

The book covers a lot of general "best practices" for raising psychologically healthy cat, and thus it treads much of the same ground as the book that introduced me to Pam Johnson-Bennett, Starting from Scratch: How to Correct Behavior Problems in Your Adult Cat. I think this is hard to avoid when a guru pens multiple books, and can't assume her reader has read the others. Still, I found the reminders to be helpful as I hope to make a smooth transition back into a two-cat household, and I loved that EVERY issue addressed in the book -- from aggression to litterbox issues -- assumed the presence of other cats in the environment. It's an incredibly encouraging book for anyone who can't have "just one" cat, as Johnson-Bennett's compassion for and commitment to cats shines through. Many of the suggestions require a fair amount of time and patience, but not a lot of money, and Johnson-Bennet also guides the reader through which cat products are a waste of money and which are crucial to a cat-friendly home.

Overall, I would recommend Johnson-Bennet's books to anyone who lives with cats -- and this one in particular to those who live with more than one.