Buy Used
$3.99
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Ex-Library. Former library book. Dust jacket in Has dustjacket condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Cat Named Darwin: How a Stray Cat Changed a Man into a Human Being Hardcover – November 12, 2002


See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$3.98 $0.01

Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Today Only: Up to 80% Off Books from Best-Selling Series on Kindle
Discover a new series or continue reading your favorite. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (November 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395986427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395986424
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,039,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cat fanciers will enjoy this memoir by a 45-year-old man who lived alone until his heart was stolen by an orange cat. Jordan, a biologist (Divorce Among the Gulls: An Uncommon Look at Human Nature), was taking out the garbage one night when he discovered that a formerly well-cared-for cat he had thought belonged to a neighbor was, in reality, a stray, who scavenged food from garbage cans and was now gaunt and flea-bitten. His initial resistance was quickly overcome and the tomcat he named Darwin soon became the center of his adoptive owner's life. He describes how Darwin insinuated himself more deeply into his consciousness until Jordan finally allowed Darwin to sleep in his bed ("Thus Darwin and I became man and cat"). When Jordan is on assignment in England without Darwin, a vision of the cat as well as his scientist namesake suddenly appears to relieve his loneliness. Unfortunately, Darwin is diagnosed with the feline leukemia virus (requiring expensive treatments Jordan agrees to so that Darwin would be able to live comfortably for as long as possible), and after a long period of illness, dies. Though Jordan adopted another cat while Darwin was still alive, the author's relationship with that orange cat taught him to love. The author's self-deprecating style is what keeps this account from descending into mawkishness.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Entomologist Jordan (Divorce Among the Gulls) here offers a tribute to a stray cat. As a scientist, Jordan previously found animals interesting only as research subjects, felt no attachment to them, and was somewhat contemptuous of those who did. Then Darwin, a stray tomcat, came into his life and altered his way of looking at animals. When Darwin was diagnosed with feline leukemia, Jordan devoted most of his time to tending him, as another stray cat, Hoover, joined the household. After Hoover swatted at a sleeping Darwin, Jordan punished the cat in disturbing ways (including using a marble and slingshot) that this reviewer thought too severe. He does humbly acknowledge those wrongs, but by then one's patience with Jordan's quest to become human has worn thin. Because the author focuses so much on himself, instead of on Darwin, this book lacks the warmth and readability of works like Peter Gethers's Norton series, Deric Longden's The Cat Who Came in from the Cold, and Cleveland Amory's The Cat Who Came for Christmas. Although now reformed and a cat lover, Jordan should stick to writing about bugs.
Eva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Clarkston
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

If I could have given the book no stars, I would have.
Terri Barreras
If you're already an animal lover, this story will bring you smiles and tears.
OilBurnerBob
If you have ever loved and lost an animal you must read this book.
Linda S. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By OilBurnerBob on November 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I've known Bill for a number of years and we've usually talked about insects and politics (no further comment).
At a party a couple of years age, Bill started talking about his cats and how he'd discovered the emotional depth and intelligence of cats that was beyond anything he had imagined. I had recently had a similar experience and we spent the whole evening in cat talk.
I've been waiting for this book since that evening and I wasn't disappointed! I wasn't able to put it down!
Bill's writing is a pleasure to read and the book is a love story with all of the joy and pain that comes with an emotional commitment to another creature - human or otherwise. If you're already an animal lover, this story will bring you smiles and tears. If you've never had a deep emotional attachment to an animal, Darwin's story will bring you a understanding of how such a relationship can develop in human terms and, perhaps, encourage you to explore...
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ace VINE VOICE on August 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a gem of a book. Well-written -- sometimes a bit too pithy and scientific -- but despite that, Jordan's inward reflections are the soul-baring and keenly appreciated narratives of the living interplay between human and cat.

This book chronicles the transformation of Jordan the human (who admits to past transgressions against animals in the name of research), as he rescues, struggles with, loves, accepts and pays worthy homage to the cat Darwin as the teacher, with the human as putty being shaped into something finer than the original because of this living breathing oh-so-wise (and which of the felines is NOT wise?!) cat-being.

I can very well appreciate Jordan's well-written almost hilarious definition of unwrapping sharp kitty teeth from his limbs as "defusing a bomb", having myself done that many times with my (totally mis-named!) Baby Twinkle, an equally huge and fearsome female counterpart to Darwin, herself a street rescue.

But I gritted my teeth every time he let Darwin back outside at night and watched Darwin have his cat fights with the neighborhood cats. "For Heaven's Sake!" I wanted to yell at Jordan -- "One cat bite is all it takes! You're inviting a living death by Feline Leukemia or Feline Aids -- and you can easily avoid this by keeping Darwin inside, getting him vaccinated!!! So... when Darwin died a slow and terrible death (I have seen this TOO many times in friends' cats, and this disease is so easily avoidable!!!), I wanted to say "I really hope, Bill Jordan, that your next kitty stays indoors.....".
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While I would recommend this book to anyone, I think it'll hit home most closely with those who have ever owned, and perhaps even loved, a cat.
In this book Jordan retells the memory of meeting and accepting Darwin into his home, albeit often in a technical "scientific method" writing style at first. But as the story progresses, you see this colder side melt away, both from the character and the writing, and are left with the tenderness and emotion this man learned to feel for this cat.
There are moments that may be hard to read, as there a scenes involving the veterinary hospital and, as another reader pointed out, a moment where Jordan is mad at another cat for attacking Darwin when he was trying to get them to coexist in his home, as well as reflections of Jordan's youth when he was less concerned for animals. But these scenes help to show just how strong an effect Darwin had on this man's life, and how drastically he has changed. While I am no fan of animal abuse in any form, these scenes had a reason to be included.
The last few chapters had me in tears. As a whole, this is very touching and beautiful book. I bought it out of sheer curiosity at the mention of the title and having finished it...I have no regrets with my purchase.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Linda S. Smith on December 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book by a dear friend after I lost my cat Jolie to cancer. I felt like the world was ripped out from under my feet. Not many people understand this kind of love for an animal. This book is a very touching story of a kindred animal lovers tale of love and loss. Very well written. Intellegent and charming at the same time. If you have ever loved and lost an animal you must read this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By paul r on March 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
fantastic read. anyone who has a cat and ponders that relationship will love this book. a mix of life's realms all culminate in a primal realtionship between author, cat, and reader. funny, deep, informed, vulnerable, wonderful!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alfredo Valdivia Barba on February 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
After reading several books on true stories about humans and their animal companions, this book IS THE ONE! The author leads you with an open heart in his relationship with Darwin and how Darwin changed his deepest emotions. We all know how our companions change our life, but he has a way of describing all of this. I saw myself in this book, having lived a similar situation with my dear Sylvester, this story brough out my memories and lead me through the pages with smiles, deep emotions and tears, and at the end a deep sense of acomplishment surfaced once again. There will always be a special place in my bookshelf for this one...
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?