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Sammy's Shelf
October 2013:
As long as you don't forget to feed me, you can call me anything you want!

It has been pointed out to me that I've been a little hypercritical of some of the recent books I have reviewed. My answer to that criticism is to write something worth reading and I'll give it two paws up.

Now, by chance, I have stumbled upon a picture book, The Cat with Seven Names (Charlesbridge. ISBN: 9781580893817) by Tony Johnston, that I can get enthusiastic about. This is the story about a kitty who visits various people in his neighborhood.

Each person gives the personable feline a snack or two and has a special name for the visitor. Whether it is Placido, Dove, Kitty-boy, Mooch or Mouse, the cat answers to the call because he loves to hang out with his friends (and the treats are pretty cool too!)

Then one day the kitty, who is a tad overweight, can't scurry across the street fast enough and he gets hit by a car. Fortunately, he isn't seriously hurt and his extended family all meet at the accident scene and share their concern about the kitty with many names.

Of course, these folks all realize they have more in common than just befriending the kitty and now these individuals of different ages, ethnic persuasions and social status begin socializing. Thanks to this cat, whose real name is Regis (oh ick!!), the humans in this picture book learn to communicate with their neighbors.

How sweet! As much as I would like to shred this warm-fuzzy idea and bury it at the bottom of my litter box, I must begrudgingly admit that there is a shard of truth in this tale.

Before he brought me into his household my person was not very partial to cats. Quite honestly, he disliked them! But years ago the cat across the street began hanging out in my person's yard. The next thing you know, Scooter was meowing at the door and begging to come in and check out the house.

Of course, a certain person began feeding Scooter and that sweetened the deal. It wasn't long before Scooter was spending half his time in my person's house and half the time with his own person. In fact, the family across the street would sometimes call on the phone and say, 'I think it's time for you to send Scooter home for his supper.' Or 'Is Scooter over there? We haven't seen him today.'

Eventually Scooter and his family moved away but then another cat with even more personality moved in. Addy was a very big, independent Norwegian Forest cat.

Apparently Addy roamed the neighborhood and was the area's enforcer or alpha cat. He also went by a number of names. The little girl next door, for example, for some odd reason always called him Baby Boy! And I think a person farther up the street dubbed him That Damn Cat!

Anyhow, not only did he police the neighborhood, but Addy was also fed at every stop he made. He even used the pet doors for other families' felines and then helped himself to their kitty vittles.

Unfortunately, Addy, like Regis, had a brush with an automobile. Poor Addy wasn't quite as lucky as the picture book kitty, though, which meant there was a vacancy in the kitty department which I was brought in to fill. Oh yes, that also explains why I am not allowed to go outside.

Addy's mishap sealed my fate. Like it or not, I was brought up to be an indoor kitty! Of course, with all this time on my paws I took up reading since I couldn't go outside to explore. And that means (lucky you!) that you get the benefit of my eclectic literary tastes when you read this column.
Sammy shares living quarters with Bob Walch. Not only does Bob provide the basic essentials for this loquacious feline but he occasionally offers editorial assistance. Find more of the Maine Coon's musings at
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.