Feb 3, 2010

The Cat Who Couldn't See in the Dark

Veterinary Mysteries and Advice on Feline Care and Behavior 
by Howard Padwee and Valerie Moolman

Another book about veterinary work! (They're among my favorites). Although this vet of a small-animal practice in New York city has treated everything from snakes to dogs, the book is mostly about cats. Each chapter contains a few related tales of cats he treated, sprinkled liberally with advice on their care. It covers forty years of his practice (often stating "things were different back then") so some of the information might be a little dated, and I did notice the book has received a lot of criticism (on Amazon) because the vet recommended declawing indoor cats. Myself, I had some issues with the people keeping wild animals like raccoons and monkeys as pets in city apartments! Nevertheless, the stories were still engaging, even though the writing style is fairly simple.

Among the cats we meet in the pages of The Cat Who Couldn't See in the Dark are many who suffer from common ailments like fleas infestations, obesity, falls and swallowing needles and thread. Then there's one who accidentally gets shut inside a freezer, another who develops a habit for drinking alcohol, and even a cat that finds a dropped joint on the floor during a party and consumes marijuana. I was really captivated by the tale an obsessed lady who horded cats and fed all strays she could find on the street told of meeting an even crazier cat lady!  I also really like the chapter heading illustrations by Barbara Smullen, in a textured kind of pen and ink work called stippling. There is some similar work in her online shop. The artist kindly permitted me to share some of her illustrations from the book with you:

(click on any image for a larger view)

I got this book from Paperback Swap

Rating: 3/5 ......... 235 pages, 1997


  1. This book sounds wonderful! I love the drawings too, they are stunning! It also amazes me the "adventures" and lives cats get into and lead. I am always happy when I hear about people who love cats and care for them...even the obsessed ones!

    Great post!
    ~ Amy

  2. Amy- thanks! I love her drawings, too. My kitties are constantly getting into some kind of mischief themselves. Always so curious!

  3. I do so admire vets - they face so much in a day. I love the illustrations too.

  4. Oh Lord! I can't even imagine what a mess it would be to have a monkey as a pet. Can you imagine having a pet that clever? With all those problem solving skills AND clever little monkey hands? Might as well have a kid. That never gets toilet-trained.

  5. I have read (other) books where people kept monkeys or chimps in the house. Either the house got trashed in a horrendous way, or the animals ended up in a cage that took up most of a room. Not a good situation, I think. And yeah, even the chimps that learned to wear clothes, sleep in a bed, eat with silverware, never ever got toilet trained.


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