~by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson
I recently decided to adopt two kittens from the local Humane Society. I grew up with cats, but have never had any since I've been on my own. When setting off on a new venture, I generally enjoy tracking down a few good books on the subject. (I find this background research--the research behind the research--an extraordinary amount of fun.) After asking around for recommendations and reading reviews, I settled on Good Owners, Great Cats. Happily, I discovered that it was right on the top of the list of recommended readings in the adoption packet I received from the Humane Society when I brought the kittens home. I figured that I must have made a good choice. And after reading it discovered that indeed I had.
The book is divided into four main parts: "Required Reading," "Kittenhood," "Adulthood," and "Solving Feline Behavior Problems." It focuses on general cat care and behavior, but also touches on some common health concerns. Good Owners, Great Cats covers everything from cat-proofing a home, to choosing and raising a cat, to how to say goodbye when the time comes. The information is presented in a very accessible way, and it is obvious that the authors care deeply for cats.
The detailed table of contents, formatting of the book and text, and the index make navigation and information discovery easy and painless. (Of course, I just read the whole book straight through, and it well suited for that, as well. It's not very long, but it's very informative). Also included is an annotated bibliography and resource guide that helps direct the reader to good sources for further information and subjects not fully covered in Good Owners, Great Cats.
In addition to the no-nonsense approach to basic cat care and needs, a significant portion of the book devoted to cat behavior. Especially important are the sections dealing with unwanted behaviors, how to correct (or refocus) those behaviors, and even how to prevent them from occurring in the first place. While I do have experience taking care of cats, cat behavior is something I am less familiar with. However, after reading through Good Owners, Great Cats, I can honestly say I have a better understanding of why the kittens act the way they do and my interactions with them have been better informed for it.
After finishing Good Owners, Great Cats, I came across a virtually brand new copy of Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook for a few dollars. Except for a few chapters, it's more of a reference book. It primarily focuses on cat health and medical issues, making it a wonderful compliment to Good Owners, Great Cats. With these two books, my previous experience, and my vet clinic, I feel more than adequately prepared to raise the kittens.
Piper and Lysander certainly seem to be pretty happy with me so far.