A book review: The Happy Tabby

Recently I was asked to review The Happy Tabby: Develop a Great Relationship with Your Adopted Cat or Kitten by Susan C. Daffron. This is a well-written book on the basics of kitten and cat care, focusing on the special needs of rescued animals. Daffron writes in an extremely friendly and comfortable style that made this book enjoyable to read. However, had I not been approached to do the review, I’m not sure I would’ve pulled this book from the shelf – calling it The Happy Tabby (although logical as explained by Daffron in the book) seems to distance it from its subject of selecting and understanding a (rescued) cat of any sort, not just tabbies.

The book begins by asking some basic questions that anyone who is thinking about getting a cat should consider, starting with whether cats are the right pet for you. Daffron then provides an overview of the different sorts of rescue organizations and shelters so you know what to expect and of what to beware.

Beyond the information for those just getting started with their own cat(s), I think this book is particularly useful for those of us who puzzle over why our cats do certain things – things that obviously make sense in their furry little brains! I’d especially love to ask Susan Daffron what might be going on in May’s furry little brain as she presents herself to be petted, then proceeds to wag and lash her tail throughout the petting session as if she’s the most annoyed cat ever – but she sticks around to be petted…

I also think this book would be helpful for people experiencing feline behavior problems. As Daffron notes regarding changing feline behavior, “The trick is that you have to make them think that the change was their idea the whole time.” It’s also informative about what vaccinations cats usually receive and why, as well as what health issues they may be prone to throughout their lives.

Brief tales of Daffron’s own cats add a pleasant personal touch to the book. Sometimes the asides were directly related to the particular topic or section of the book, but when they weren’t, I spent some time trying to make connections that didn’t seem to be there.

Additionally, the book provides excellent information on how to acclimate your cat to claw trimming, although I would add that only giving your cats treats after claw trimming really changes their attitude toward the whole process. Sometimes Chaos even purrs while I’m trimming his claws. (I know he’s thinking “TreatTreatTreatTreatTreatTreatTreatTreat!”) However, I’m not sure I’ll ever be brave enough to attempt to bathe him, even with the tips in this book! (I mean, look at yesterday’s picture – would you try to bathe that cat?!)

“Those poor unadopted kitties. I’m glad Mom adopted me! Even if she does have lots of unreasonable rules about not napping on the kitchen table and stuff like that.” -Mayhem