Book – The Cat Who Sang

The Cat Who Sang

Katie’s Place’s book, The Cat Who Sang & Other Stories of Rescued Pets, is about the animals at Katie’s Place over the years, their humour and pathos, their challenges and adventures, their eccentricities and altruism. Their stories have moved volunteers, adopters, and supporters, and they surprise us still, even after thousands of rescues. 

It’s a collection of short stories about the different animals that have crossed paths with Katie’s Place over the years. For some, the shelter became ‘home’ for the rest of their lives. For others, it was a pit stop on the way to a better life. For all of them, coming to the shelter meant an end to loneliness, hunger or pain.

All proceeds will go to Katie’s Place’s vet bills.

Following is a peek at the contents

People find themselves owned by their pet as much as they own them. Animals move into our homes and negotiate a relationship. They let us know what they like to eat, where they want to sleep, and what they like to do. Whether they get what they want depends on whose will is stronger, and some people capitulate to their pets — always laughingly, always with love. Living with pets is a partnership between human and animal. But it’s not an equal partnership. It’s a partnership in which we humans maintain ultimate control.

The bottom line is that we can get rid of them without raising an eyebrow among our neighbours if a pet becomes too demanding or inconvenient. They are, in fact, a body of persons without rights. Even that is changing as advocates plead for recognition of animals’ rights under the law. Animal advocacy is a field as charged with passion as animal rescue. The reason is the animals themselves. We discover ourselves in them. Their pain is our pain, and their relief is our relief. We cannot know them without being moved by them.

Rescuers find themselves drawn deeply and irrevocably into a relationship with animals that can never be the same as it was before we became rescuers. When our first grubby, snarling stray recovers enough to reveal his self, we are changed. At first, we can’t picture this slashing beast as ever welcoming human contact, either in his past or in the future. Then, in an oft-repeated story, a guarded, unknowable face one day takes on a softer aspect with a questioning look. If we extend a tentative hand, it’s met by a tentative muzzle reaching back. Once they take us into their confidence, we can see what they’ve been through. Now their full grief and pain lie bare in their eyes. We can recognize the unquestioning faith they had in the people who loved them at their birth, and their confusion when the love was suddenly gone. We can see what it means to them to be loved again. Their gestures and their eyes are more eloquent than words. Over time, we come to know them intimately, and it turns out that they are more like us than we ever dreamed.

The more animals we meet and the longer we know them, the more we realize they’re as complex and as individual as we are in their capacity for compassion, humour, embarrassment… for anything we ourselves experience. Where they differ from humans is in their vulnerability. They depend on us for their lives and, moreover, they trust us. That’s where passions become inflamed. Nothing cuts like the betrayal of trust. 

The story each animal tells is different according to his personality and his past, but we resonate with each story as fellow living beings. It’s not something we can really explain to others. We can only hope to show them with the stories of a few of the souls we’ve been privileged to know.  This book is about animals who have changed the lives of their rescuers and of their adopters.

The Supreme Drama Queen
Some cats are so placid they could be adopted out as paperweights. Most are livelier but genial. Then there are a few who are melodramatic divas with larger-than-life personalities. Esmée was one of the latter group. She was a slender calico, mostly black with a white bib, who came to us from another shelter in May 2003. She was deemed unadoptable because she lashed out. Her expression was always intense. Her eyes were always wide as if everything constantly amazed her, and they were appraising eyes. She was the greatest feline drama queen we’d ever met. …

A Brush With Death
A home owner saw a cat crossing her yard one day with such a strange gait that it alarmed her. The animal seemed to be staggering. She called us for help. He was a long-haired, black cat in sad condition. Obviously he’d been on his own for a while. He was bedraggled, emaciated, dehydrated, and he was totally blind. He could not have survived long in this condition. Something catastrophic must have happened to him recently. …

From Devil to Angel
Carmen was a dainty young tabby. She came to us in September 2005 from a vet’s office which sometimes had cats to adopt. She could no longer stay there because she suddenly became impossible. We discovered what they meant when we met her. If anyone came too close, she let out a blood-curdling shriek. In fact, you really didn’t have to get close. She let out a shriek if anyone passed by or looked at her. At the shelter, we covered her new-cat cage. It was the only way to get any peace. Once we heard bumping noises from inside, and when we peeped under the cover, we saw that she was playing. But the face peeping at her elicited another hair-raising screech. Everyone — human and feline — quickly learned to leave Carmen alone. …

“In closing, let me emphasize how impressed I am with your writing. You have done a superb job. I find your stories entertaining, funny and sometimes moving.”
    – Larry Jacobsen, author of Jewel Of The Kootenays and Leaning Into The Wind: Memoirs Of An Immigrant Prairie Farm Boy

“The book is well written and the cats’ stories are tremendously moving.”
    – Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun

“The Cat Who Sang is a generous book full of quiet heroes, human and animal.”
    – Alan Woodland, historian, poet, and Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Times columnist

How to Order

Until our Shop is fully functional, the book can be purchased directly from our shelter and from establishments around Maple Ridge, including Bosley’s, Alouette Animal Hospital, Pet Food ‘N More, Maple Ridge Veterinary Hospital, Eastridge Animal Hospital and Pitt Meadows Co-op.

If you buy a copy at our shelter, we can accept cash, cheques or money orders. We’re at 10255 Jackson Road, Maple Ridge — right behind the Maple Ridge SPCA buildings.  Click here to a map.  Our open hours are Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 2:00.

If you’d like it mailed, you can pay for it a couple different ways:

1) Via PayPal (see side bar to the right);


2) Via cheque/money order to payable to Katie’s Place. Our Mailing address can be found here

Please include a note with your PayPal order or cheque that indicates you would like a book, and that includes your mailing address as well. We’ll send the book out within a day or two of receiving your cheque / money order / PayPal payment.

Costs of packaging and posting:

The book is 8 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches (21.6 cm by 14 cm), and the shipping weight is 386 g.

If you are in British Columbia, below are the best shipping options:

1 Book
Regular mail (in an envelope) $4.00
XpressPost (1-3 Business Day delivery depending on where you are) $12.50

2 Books
Regular Mail (in an envelope) $8.00 total
XpressPost (1-3 Business Day delivery depending on where you are) $12.50 total

3 Books
Regular Mail (in envelope) $12.00 total
XpressPost (1-3 Business Day delivery depending on where you are) $12.50 total

For shipping costs for more than 3, please email us

NB – the prices above are based on mailing the book in a plain manilla envelope without any cardboard inserts or other such protection from damage. The book is just thick enough that adding two cardboard inserts will bump it up from ‘envelope’ to ‘package’ status and double the mailing cost.

Each book is $24.95 plus shipping (above). Please add the appropriate shipping costs to your book payment. Also, please let us know which shipping method you would prefer, either in the “comments” section of your PayPal payment, or in a note along with your cheque. Make the cheque payable to Katie’s Place and mail the cheque (or money order), with a note that it’s for the book, to our mailing address below:

10255 Jackson Rd, Maple Ridge, BC  V2W 1G5

Thank you, on behalf of our animals. Enjoy the book!

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