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Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Cat: 101 Stories about Life, Love, and Lessons Paperback – September 22, 2009
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About the Author
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are co-founders of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Oscar, the Garbage-Can Kitty
Oscar was named after the Sesame Street character who lives in a garbage can because that is where we first became acquainted. I was working at a pizza-delivery chain and had been assigned garbage duty. While tossing bags into a Dumpster, I heard a faint meow. I began digging through the trash, and several layers down I found a cat—bruised and thin. I wasn’t sure if the cat had crawled into the Dumpster to scavenge for food or if he had been put there purposely. Our establishment sat directly behind an apartment complex, and unsupervised and abandoned pets were common.
Back on solid ground, it became evident that the cat had an injured leg. He couldn’t put any weight on his right hindquarters. The situation created a dilemma for me. Finances were tight, and I was moving back home to my parents’ house—with two cats already in tow. Dad barely tolerated the two established felines. His reaction to another injured stray was sure to be less than receptive. I took the stray to the vet, hoping to patch him up. After shots and X-rays, the vet discovered the cat had a cracked pelvis. I posted notices, hoping someone would claim the cat or adopt him.
Meanwhile, the response at home was swift and firm: No more cats! Dad insisted I take the cat to the Humane Society immediately. I protested that the cat would be put to sleep. Luckily, my mother intervened. She agreed the injury would make the cat unadoptable, so we would keep him long enough for his hip to heal. Then he would have to go—no arguments.
Oscar must have somehow understood his situation. He seemed to study the other two cats and their interactions with my father. We suspect he bribed Tanner, our golden retriever, with table scraps in exchange for etiquette lessons. When the other cats were aloof, Oscar was attentive. He came when his name was called, and he would roll over on his back to have his belly scratched. As his injury began to heal, he would jump on the ottoman by my father’s favorite chair, and, eventually, into his lap. Initially, Dad pushed Oscar away, but persistence paid off. Soon, Oscar and a muttering Dad shared the chair. At mealtimes, Oscar would come to sit with us.
Positioned on the floor by my father’s chair, every so often Oscar would reach up with one paw and tap Dad on the knee. At first, this provoked great irritation and colorful expletives expressed in harsh tones. Oscar, however, refused to be put off. Repetitive knee-taps soon led to semi-covert handouts of choice morsels.
Oscar greeted my father at the top of the stairs every morning and waited for him at the door every evening. My father sometimes ignored Oscar, and, at other times, stepped over him, complaining the whole time. Oscar mastered opening doors by sticking his paw underneath the door and rocking it back and forth until it opened. Soon, he was sleeping in the master bedroom at the foot of the bed. My father was completely disgusted, but couldn’t stop the cat from sneaking onto the bed while they were sleeping. Eventually, Dad gave up.
Before long, Oscar, aspiring to his own place at the table during meals, began jumping up into my lap. He was allowed to stay as long as his head remained below table level. Of course, an occasional paw would appear as a reminder of his presence.
Three months passed, and the vet pronounced Oscar healthy and healed. I was heartbroken. How could I take this loving soul away from what had become his home, from the people he trusted? Sick at heart, I brought Oscar home and told my parents what should have been good news: Oscar was a healthy cat with a healed hip. “I’ll take him to the Humane Society like I promised,” I said dully. As I turned to put Oscar in the carrier for the trip, my father spoke, uttering three magic words: “Not my cat!” Oscar is home to stay. He now has his own chair at the table and sleeps—where else?—in the master bedroom between my mother and father. He is their official “grandkitten” and living proof that deep within the most unlikely heart, there is a cat lover in all of us.
©2005. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This book will make you life, cry and wonder in amazement at the bravery, intelligence, independence and sensitivity of man's other best friend, the cat!
I spent an entire day alternately laughing, crying and cuddling my kitties while reading this book. I could not put this amazing book down. It is a must read for anyone that has ever been owned by one of thse amazing creatures!
This book is a gold mine for feline lovers. A well-established cat fanatic, I didn't think I could read anything that would make me love cats even more, yet this book did it. I was touched, moved, humored, and enamoured all over again with our furry feline friends.
A quick disclosure - I have 2 stories in the book. But since I don't make additional money if the book sells or not, I hope this review will be taken at face value. I would snatch this book off the shelves and give it to any cat lover, any day. I'm very pleased to be a part of such a fine collection.
This book is broken into 12 sections such as: Learning To Love "The Cat", Purr-fect Pets, and Saying Good-bye, to name a few. Under each section you will find stories that warm your heart and bring tears to your eyes, stories that bring out more than a giggle, and some stories that you will shake your head and say, "You have to be kidding?"
I loved this book, it was just as good as the one on Dogs that I finished not long ago. I'm telling you, if you love cats you will adore this book, and even if you don't you will still walk away never looking at them the same. I never really knew that cats could be such faithful companions. They definitely are not like dogs, and they certainly let you know that, but I have to admit they are a 'class act.' I'm so glad that I got to read this book and recommend it to all who want to know, just what is going on in the mind of your cat and why they do the things they do. Trust me, highly interesting and very entertaining, to say the least.
Great book! Fun and heartwarming read! Strongly recommended.
-Words that Changed My Life -Overcoming Adversity
-Health Challenges -Attitude Adjustments
-Every Day Is Special -Silver Linings
-Role Models -Moving Forward
-Counting Your Blessings -Gratitude
As you can see, there's a pretty broad range of topics, and as I mentioned before, the stories are short, with most being around 4 or so pages each. I liked this, because I have kind of a hectic schedule most days, and don't get much time to sit around reading inspirational books. However with this book, you can read a couple of the stories in just a few minutes, and then take away some great messages to think about for the rest of the day. So if you're looking for a few quick words of inspiration now and then, I highly recommend checking this one out.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great stories, good read, fast shipping, good condition. Recommended.Published 9 days ago by Raymond B. Rice
Another outstanding work portraying the wisdom and healing powers of our fellow feline travelers on this earth. Love it - have all other books in this series. Read morePublished 17 days ago by ADJ
My thirteen-year-old daughter was having some bad attitude problems. She was very ungrateful, and most the things that came out of her mouth were angry. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Amanda
This book was given to me by my sister during the time I wasn't so sure about my faith anymore. It's just a book but it's what saved me from falling apart. Read morePublished 20 days ago by RedQueen_