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Seven Cats and the Art of Living Hardcover – October 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Gift edition edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446519618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446519618
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,497,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was almost like stepping back into the pages of Winnie the Pooh and the pleasure I remember from being in the magical 100 Acre Wood. Jo Coudert's memoir of seven of her pets, how she acquired them, lived with them, lost them, is fascinating, and each cat teaches a lesson about how our behavior impacts the life we experience. I think what Coudert wants us to know is maybe the cat can't change the way it is -- how its life experiences shaped its personality -- but people can if they understand why they do what they do. Her pen and ink illustrations are charming.

Now, where the controversy is: I don't know if a cat's early life experience shapes their behavior that much or if they just have personalities. I have a feral cat I caught when she was three months old and after six years, she's still shy and withdrawn, and I have a male cat we acquired at 3 weeks who is wild and unmanageable despite being raised by us since almost birth.

But the bigger controversy: Coudert keeps her cats in when she would go back to her city apartment, but in the country she let them out and some of them come to very bad ends as a result. You will shed many tears reading this book. I think only one of her cats lives a long life. She also did indeed, as one reviewer was horrified to learn, ship a couple out to be barn cats elsewhere, and they disappeared. I felt bad about that. I have one who sprays, too, and he is ruining our life, but I can't see myself getting rid of him even so.

Then again, the sainted Dr. Dodson in his behavioral book is on the side of a shorter cat life if it's a happier one - outside.

This book stays in my amazon.com shopping cart to give as gifts whenever I need one and I'm interested to see her other books on other topics. I've also been inspired to write my own cat book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book which I have read and re-read (and have listened to on tape and CD) repeatedly. I have purchased several copies for friends as gifts (as was the case with the latest copy). As a "cat person", I have noted over the years the diverse tendencies within the species which seem to mirror human reactions to life. The author gives us an insightful look at cause and effect in human behavior as she sees it in the cats which have come and gone through her life. But the book is not just for those of us who love cats. Several of my "non-cat" friends have commented on how much they enjoyed this book and its perspective.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 12, 1997
Format: Hardcover
You don't have to be an animal lover to enjoy this book. It's not about cats, it's about life. The author has done a wonderful job of relating her cats' behavior to our own. By watching her pets, she shares lessons learned about human behavior. We could all benefit from these insights
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth J. Glodzik on June 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Although I basically enjoyed this book, I have very differing views of how cats should be treated. I believe that cats should be kept indoors for their health and safety as well as for the protection of wildlife. Remember, the "housecat" is domesticated, and is NOT a natural predator in the wild. You don't see people letting their dogs out at night, expecting them to return in the morning. We don't let our parakeets take a spin around town or let our goldfish splash in puddles in the driveway. So why do we let our cats roam the streets? Our attitudes about cats must change, and when they do, millions of cats around the world can be spared euthanasia due to over population. The author does, however, offer interesting insight into the different human characters that we certainly can learn from.
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4 of 21 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I truly enjoyed Jo's talents for writing and illustration and these talents shared with her readers on this wonderful book about her cats.
One can quickly feel the passion she has for these mysterious, delightful creatures. Reminiscing about these seven cats in her life all but transports the reader to GoWell (her home in the country) and the life she enjoys there with her dogs and cats and friends.
The heart she displays and articulates about her relationships with these seven are enjoyable to read, and the cat lover and/or owner can relate to the various emotions: the pain of losing, the thrill of discovery and growth.
Howeve, I must admit that this book would have easily been a five if she left it as this" "Seven Cats." She chose to allow this to become a commentary on living. That's where I humbly beg to differ, due to our different orientations of worldview. What I believe in is that all wonderful creatures (cats included) come from The Magnificent Creator God. I love his creatures and our cat Molly is one of our favorites. However, much as we love Molly and our two Shelties, we love the One who made them and us, and regard our relationship with Him as more important. God truly wants us to be good stewards of His creation, including cats and dogs. (Sidenote: I also take exception with her preference for cats over dogs. Dogs want to please their ownders far more than cats, and one can do much more activities with the dogs.)
Life brings with it many toils and troubles, as Jo relates. So where do we turn for help and relief and understanding and hope? I don't think we'll find the answer in our cats, as much as we cat lovers love them passionately. My suggestion is to turn to the One who gave us such remarkable gifts.
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Seven Cats and the Art of Living
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