Part history of a species, part personal memoir, and featuring a healthy dose of wry humor, Clea Simon's The Feline Mystique
shares the tale of her particular cat (Cyrus) set against a backdrop of interviews and statistics on cats throughout the world. Smoothly blending mythology with modern stories of dedicated feral cat rescuers, feline fanciers might bond with this book as tightly as they've bonded with their own wee beastie.
The focus is relentlessly female and a happy counterpoint to urban myths and ancient folk tales about lonely women and their up-to-no-good pets. Simon walks us through her initial bond with a young kitten, through the warm years of record-clawing, arm-kneading, keyboard-walking, veterinarian-terrorizing cat companionship, and leads us gently through the sadness of parting with a beloved animal. You won't find practical tips on health care or soapboxes about the problem of strays in the city--just page after page of individualized love and fascination. From Norse goddess Freya and her flying cats to references of a study done on the annual kill of an outdoors-living housecat to an interview with Barnum and Bailey's female tiger tamer, each detail helps construct a solid picture of the multifaceted relationship possible between a woman and her cat. --Jill Lightner
From Library Journal
Simon (Fatherless Women) draws on personal experience, research, and interviews with female cat owners to explore the unique relationship between women and cats. She seeks to dispel negative old wives' tales about women and cats, creating a work that largely offers her own insights and reflections. She also examines how cats and women have been intertwined in historical myths and stereotypes, from the Egyptian cat-headed goddess Bastet, to the 15th-century burning of witches and their feline familiars, to the modern Catwoman. Throughout are stories of women and their cats, including a shelter worker, a tiger trainer, and a number of artists. Simon includes her own touching story of 17 years with her recently deceased cat, Cyrus, and explores how the female-feline relationship affects other relationships in a woman's life. A bibliography and list of cat rescue organizations accompany the work. Lovingly written, Simon's work offers an unusual perspective on an age-old topic and makes a suitable purchase for large public libraries. Eva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Clarkston
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.