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My Cat Saved My Life Paperback – April 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"This is a small story in the stories of the world," announces author Phillip Schreibman in his introduction to My Cat Saved My Life. "It's about a man and a cat and what the cat showed the man before it was too late."

Schreibman was a composer for theater and television in Toronto when both of his parents died, six years apart, after long illnesses. The losses hit him hard, and he plunged into despair. He found himself "confused among people, angry at trifles, depressed and distracted in all my endeavours." At 39 years old, he felt that his life had "ground to a halt."

Enter Alice, a tiny, abandoned kitten in desperate need of rescue. Schreibman, whose own cat had been killed two weeks earlier in an act of monstrous cruelty, could see that if he didn't save the kitten, it would die. What he didn't yet know was that the 6-week-old life he was saving would in turn revive his own.

As he and the cat began living together, Alice insisted that Schreibman pay attention to her. She'd wake him up early, sometimes by knocking the alarm clock on the floor if he didn't respond to gentler urgings. "C'mon, let's have breakfast," she was telling him. When he was stuck indoors fretting over bills at his desk, she would pull him away to show him something in her world. "Usually it was a bird in a branch or a sudden summer downpour; maybe a burst of midwinter sunshine was flooding the yard. I had ceased paying attention to these things." And that may have been Alice's greatest gift to Schreibman (and to us): teaching him to notice and appreciate the small wonders of everyday life.

My Cat is a book of rare emotional candor. Its beauty lies in the author's willingness to expose his rawest nerve, describe his own pettiness and fears, and recognize the fallacy of human superiority over other life. "My cat woke me up," Schreibman concludes. If we're willing to pay respectful attention, perhaps our cats will do the same for us. --Charles Smyth --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A breakthrough, a momentous 'cat' book, perhaps the best ever; an astonishing memoir [and] a stunning critique of human nature." -- David Rosenberg, Best-Selling Author of "The Book of J", June 3, 1998

"A map to an unknowable destination." -- Cate Terwilliger, Denver Post, November 11, 2000.

"This is a wise little book that will provide consolation to anyone who has lost hope. " -- Cecily Ross, Toronto Globe and Mail, April 28, 2001
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dogs Bark Publishing; 1st edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0968327303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0968327302
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "joycelips" on May 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This was truly one of the most insightful and heartfelt books I have ever read. This is a book not just for cat lovers, this is a book for all people. It is especially helpful for anyone who has ever felt the pain and grief of losing a loved one. Phillip Schreibman does not tell a "story," but takes the reader on a journey with him and Alice, the precious kitten he rescues, as she transforms his life and slowly, brings him back from the numbing pain that grief causes, and teaches him how to live and love again; how to look at life with wonder and joy. As a cat lover, and also as someone who is grieving, I read this book with a sense of profound wonder and amazement. Never have I been so genuinely touched by what the author refers to as a "small story." This clearly is the biggest story a person can tell -- how the love of an animal can take you from despair to and open your heart to seeing the world again (this time, through the eyes of his precious Alice), and experiencing life. As I read, I empathized, laughed, cried and was deeply touched. I took away with me "life lessons" that will remain with me forever. After reading this, I found myself watching my own cat and observing how he instinctively knew when I was sad and in his own special way that only a cat has, reached out to me. Now, I let him in and am slowly learning to open my heart up again. I applaud and thank Philip Schreibman for sharing with us this tremendous book, and give it the highest recommendation possible. Give yourself a special gift, and read this. You will be glad you did!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on February 19, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not just about dealing with the loss of a pet. It is the best book I have ever read (and I have read many) about the process of grieving. It is true, I just lost a pet; that is why I bought the book. In reading it, though, I experienced a profound catharsis that has allowed me to move forward through the grieving process more quickly and peacefully than I have ever done before. Reading this book has helped my heart to heal, not just from the death of my cat, but from all the losses that I have experienced, which, as I get older, seem to be cumulative. While the book is superficially the tale of a mystical cat whose soul connected with the author, it is in a much more important way about living in the world, of which death is a part. The book is poem about understanding that conundrum, and I know that I will refer to it again and again. To anyone whose heart is sorely grieving, who is stuck in a rut in the mourning process, I would say: read this book, it will make you cry and it will help you heal. If it were anyone I knew, I would give them this book. Thank you, Mr. Schreibman.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By SCMLA on February 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
if you like to cry, then read this book! of course, it's not heart - wrenchingly sad the entire way, but when you get to the part where ... well ... read the book & you'll see what i mean. i don't think i've ever sobbed so hard over a book in my entire life -- it even disturbed my cats! they thought something must be terribly wrong with me, because i was crying so hard, & so they came over to comfort me. here i was crying over a cat i had never met in my life & my cats came over to comfort ME. just like a cat! & that's why i love them so much ... so anyway, if you don't like to cry, or if you find yourself moved by very little in life, this might not be the book for you. the book is also tied together with schreibman's own brand of touchy - feely, new - agey spirituality -- if you can overlook that, or if you actually like that sort of thing, then reading this book might turn out to be a profoundly moving experience for you, as it was for me.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Don't let the title or short length of this book fool you - it contains a huge amount of wisdom. You don't have to be a cat lover to appreciate what the author is going through and what he learns. He has put exactly into words what I have been thinking for a long time. He has done an amazing job.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jean Brown on October 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Being a cat-lover I'm often drawn to books about them, I usually try to avoid buying because most turn out to be sweet but with little substance..Thank goodness I didn't resist MY CAT SAVED MY LIFE by Phillip Schreibman.This book touched me immensely...as time passes I realize more and more so much of life is about goodbyes and losing the people we love. This book helps answer how to go on living, the part grief must play and yes how so many lessons our animals (and for me that is cats:) can teach us if only we open our hearts. A book I know I'll read often and turn to to be reminded what life has to offer if only we will accept...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TR on May 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The author, while ostensibly telling a story about his cat, very eloquently delves into the ultimate question of the mystery of being. This is a very spiritual book, written almost like a poem. A gem. A rare treat.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Karen Bjork on May 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My Cat Saved My Life by Phillip Schreibman is not only entertaining but an insight to the human condition. This cat truly rescued the author from deep despair and depression. The story will touch the soul of any and all animal lovers, and perhaps educate those who aren't. Readers will never look at their own pets in quite the same light after discovering the healing touch this beloved pet holds for Mr. Schreibman. Absolutely a must read for those who are possessed by a cat. If I didn't already have a cat and dog, after reading this book, I'd be looking to adopt one post haste!
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