Heather Green had a stressful job writing for Business Week until a boyfriend and a family of stray cats came along. In “To Catch a Cat: How Three Stray Kittens Rescued Me,” she details her journey from single (and happy) work-a-holic journalist to cat and kitten rescuer.
Green doesn’t make the mistake of just writing about the cats and the rescuing. She intersperses the story of the rescue with the story of her life — and her needs and history. Green lived in New York and loved every minute of the excitement and glamour. Her boyfriend, Matt, lived in Union City, a decidedly not-glamorous place. When Green spends some time with Matt at his house, she notices a mama cat and three kittens.
Both she and Matt had noticed the plethora of stray cats in the neighborhood. They lounged under cars and on fence-tops. They were everywhere. Green had never really thought about them. But seeing the three adorable kittens brought home the realization that unless she did something, they would grow up to be one of the feral adult cats constantly at risk of getting hit by a car or getting sick and dying.
In addition to Green’s narrative about this part of her life, she educates the reader about different roles for those who rescue stray and feral cats. She says, “three different groups of people emerge, each reflecting the personality of those taking on the tasks: trappers, fosters, and feeders.”
The trappers, according to Green, are the hotshots of rescue. They are the ones lugging around the traps and caring for the feral cats after their sterilization surgery for the few days they need to be watched. Fosters, on the other hand, are “cheery, happy to serve, like flight attendants on airplanes.” She continues by opining that “Their job is to pinpoint the humans who are good enough for their charges.” And the last group — an essential group for any trap-neuter-release (TNR) program — are the feeders. They are the ones who provide food and water to the feral/stray cats and even build them shelters for inclement weather.
The story is a lovely blend of information about Green’s life, her relationship with Matt, her growing attachment to the kittens (and their mama), and her growing attachment to the eclectic community and its residents. Cat lovers and cat rescuers will love this story, but you don’t have to be a cat lover to enjoy the book. Beware, though. After reading this book you might just feel the urge to stop at the nearest shelter and bring home a kitten or two.