Cute Cats From Around the World edited by Alex Rosel (2013)

Essay review: Cute Cats From Around the World edited and additional material by Alex Rosel (Amazon Kindle, 2013)

cutecatsfromaroundtheworldCute Cats From Around The World – their stories in words and pictures.

Featuring the world famous, Alfie The Chepstow Cat.

Take a tour and enjoy an assortment of cats from various regions of the world. Their owners tell us how they originally got their cats and kittens – the stories are varied and some are truly heart-wrenching – and we are given an insight into each cat’s character and what significant events have shaped their lives.

Discover what life threatening event overtook Celyn, a delightful ginger cat, and exactly why he is now on a diet.

Read about the inspirational Bert and Ernie, both black cats, and how they came to their owner’s rescue at a very traumatic time in her life.

Learn just why Barry is not what you would expect and just why one of the most believed myths about cats is, in fact, totally incorrect.

All these and more tales about a variety of cute cats from many different countries will keep you engrossed and soon have you appreciating what an important role these moggies play in a lot of people’s lives.

With over 45 full color photographs of cats and kittens, this book will delight feline lovers everywhere. The cat pictures are homely and portray their character perfectly.

And, just for good measure, a short quiz about the development of kittens is included.

Anyone offering me a review copy of a cat book will always be greeted with an enthusiastic “yes please!” because cats. You know? I love those furry little bundles of joy!

This book is a collection of stories of cats (with some pictures) from around the world, which appear to have been submitted to the editor for collection. The editor, in turn, has created a 79-page ebook out of it. (There’s a paperback version with the same page count, but honestly, just over £8 (US $12.99) sounds over-priced, even if it has full colour photographs.)

The stories are delightful and some pull on your heartstrings more than others. It’s a lovely read for cat lovers, and the people who have written about their furry friends obviously love them very much. Some cats have had a difficult start in life, but are now well looked after, and that’s fantastic. Kudos to everyone who adopts animals and give them a better life!

I just wish there was more to this as a book. If it was a plate of food, I’d say it needs seasoning.

The stories themselves are mostly quite short in length and lack depth. They’re cute and I love to read about their lives and see the pictures, but … this could have easily been a blog or something instead. A blog where you ask people to send in the story of their cat along with some pictures and you post them and people read and go “awww”. If you put the stories into a book, I expect a little more, to be honest.

There is the story of Alfie, the Chepstow Cat, for instance. That’s a story about a cat who has become a feature of his town, and everyone knows him. That’s the sort of story that makes the leap from generic blog post a book.

The editor is looking for more stories in order to put out a sequel and sure, I could send in the stories of all three of my darlings, but let’s be honest, the story of two of them will only ever really be interesting to me, the Squeeze and the boys’ former human.

To illustrate a point: in short, their former human bought them, loved and cared for them. Roll on a year and a bit and we’re at his house, and at about 4am, remarking that one was asleep on my lap and the other one on the bag we’d brought and that “teehee, they look like they want to come home with us!” (because it’s the sort of thing us people with cat envy say). We find out that as he’s moving out in a couple of weeks, where he’s going he can’t take the cats with him, so they actually need re-homing. Huh. We said that well … we could take them, technically, we have the space, but it’s not the sort of decision you take at 4am, so we’d think about it while he kept looking for a new home for them. That was Sunday morning. Thursday evening, I went to pick them up.

It’s a cute story, and it would be furnished with cute photos, but it’s not terribly exciting or poignant or meaningful to anyone but me, basically. (On the other hand, Daisy’s story is longer and makes for a more interesting reading, because we’ve been through a lot together.) And for the most part, the book contains personal stories like that of Monkey and Elbie, which might be positively delightful to read for a cat lover, but at the end of the day, it’s only really meaningful to the human who wrote it, and it’s not particularly emotionally engaging for anyone else to read about, as it were, even if it brings a smile to your face.

Other stories are emotionally engaging, though, like the story of how Hendrix brought Bert and Ernie to their humans, which was probably my favourite story out of all of them. If Cute Cats from Around the World had only contained in-depth stories like that, it would have been a much better book.

Now, it just feels like a collection of random blog posts written by a bunch of people who clearly love their pets very much and want to tell the world about them – which is fine, I’d subscribe to that blog in a heartbeat – but as an actual book, I just think it lacks purpose, somehow. For the most part, it’s collection of stories that could’ve been written on the back of a postcard, mostly about cats with perfectly ordinary cat lives.

On the other hand, if we take it entirely at face value, it definitely is a book about cute cats from various parts of the world, showing us that while we might live on different continents and in different cultures, the love for our feline companions is exactly the same. Which is nice.

The bit about kittens at the end also gets a thumbs up, reminding us all that a cat isn’t just for Christmas (or the summer holiday), but for life. They might be adorable little kittens to start with, but just because they grow doesn’t mean they don’t still want to be loved, fed and have a nice, warm bed to sleep in.

The overall feeling here is that the concept is right, but the execution is wrong.

3 out of 5 whiskers, and thank you to the editor for letting me read it! 🙂

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