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Articles and Advice from our Pet Expert

10 Great Books for the Pet Lover on Your List

Looking for some last minute literary gifts for the pet lover in your life? Or, hoping the holiday weeks will allow you time to curl up with the cat for some recreational reading?

The following books are my ‘pick of the litter-ary list’ for pet fanciers. Whether you want to share a read-out-loud laugh with your feline-loving kids, be inspired by true stories of valiant canine soldiers or take your pet with you during your holiday travels, consider one of the following from this critter book collection.

Cat Tale

Written and illustrated by Michael Hall (40pp. Greenwillow Books. $16.99. Picture book; ages 3-6)

In Michael Hall's Cat Tale, three inquisitive cats, Lillian, Tilly and William J. set out to spend the afternoon snacking and reading, but wind up chasing words on a silly tongue twister of an adventure. While some of the fast-moving wordplay may fly over the heads of younger children, the bright, collage-style illustrations reminiscent of Eric Carle will engross them, while older readers catch on to the double meanings. Each sentence or scenario offers hints of what's to come, making this imaginative and thought-provoking read-aloud a likely favorite in the making.

Red Cat Blue Cat

Written and illustrated by Jenni Desmond. (40 pp. Blue Apple Books. $16.99. Picture book; ages 4-8)

Every kid sometimes wants to be someone else. And so, it turns out, do some cats. Kids can relate to the feline foes in Jenni Desmond’s Red Cat Blue Cat as each cat tries to imitate, match and outdo the other. And so the fur flies, but in the end, an unexpected change occurs, making both cats happy to be just exactly who they are. Vivid splashes of color combine with pen-and-ink and charcoal lines in Desmond’s captivating drawings to depict fun and familiar cat behavior. Red Cat Blue Cat is a fun, read-aloud book with a good dose of humor and skillful storytelling that kids will want to read over and over again.

For the Love of Cats: An A-to-Z Primer for Cat Lovers of All Ages

Written by Sandy Robins. Illustrated and designed by Mark Anderson (48 pp. Triumph Books. $16.95; All ages.)

Why are people so passionate about their cats? In For the Love of Cats, pet expert Sandy Robins explores felines and our obsession with them in a fresh and humorous way, using the letters of the alphabet, fun rhymes and interesting feline factoids that are paired with the colorful cat illustrations of Mark Anderson. A beautiful book to enjoy and a great gift for the cat lover in your life, For the Love of Cats furthers our fascination with these intelligent, affectionate, complicated and independent pets.

Your Cat: The Owner's Manual: Hundreds of Secrets, Surprises, and Solutions for Raising a Happy, Healthy Cat

Written by Dr. Marty Becker. Foreword by Jane Brunt. Contributions from Gina Spadafori (295 pp. Grand Central Life & Style. $25.99; All ages)

Dr. Marty Becker has become known as “America’s Veterinarian” because of his educational and entertaining shows and columns. He is also the popular veterinary contributor to ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, and a founding member of “Core Team Oz” on Dr. Mehmet Oz’s show. Your Cat: The Owner's Manual is the newest of Dr. Becker's best-selling books (dog-lovers, don't worry: Your Dog: The Owner's Manual is now out in paperback) which helps cat lovers with everything from finding the right cat, to preventing health problems and bad behavior. Also, check out his new (free!) e-book on tackling tricky pet messes, Easy Clean-Ups for Pet Messes.

Taming Me: Memoir of a Clever Island Cat

Written by Cathy Unruh (224 pp. Collage Books Inc. $12.95; ages 18 and up)

Taming Me is an intriguing, true cat story of Lucy Miracle, a feral kitten born on a tropical island where food is scarce, predators are plentiful, and Lucy is just struggling to stay alive. When Lucy is captured by humans and taken from her mother, her rags-to-riches adventure begins. In this epic tale told by Lucy herself, you will feel her terror when she is trapped in a cage, see through her eyes as she is nursed back to health from the brink of death and share in her joy as she accepts the love of her new human family.

Hiss and Tell: True Stories from the Files of a Cat Shrink

Written by Pam Johnson-Bennett (155 pp. Penguin Books. $15.00; ages 18 and up)

In this offbeat and illuminating memoir, feline behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett takes you on the wildest house calls of her career. These stories, each of which unfolds like a mystery, will help owners better understand the ever-fascinating cat psyche.

Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America's Canine Heroes

Written by Maria Goodavage (293 pp. Dutton Penguin. $26.95; ages 18 and up)

In her new book, Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes, Maria Goodavage offers a tour of military working dogs’ extraordinary training and heroic accomplishments, and the lasting impacts they have on those who work with them. When news broke of the raid that ended the life of Osama bin Laden, everyone wanted to know all about the intrepid canine members of the Navy SEALS team and other dogs who serve their country. In Soldier Dogs, Goodavage, a former USA Today reporter and the news editor at, tells heartwarming stories of modern soldier dogs and the military men and women who train and go to work with them in some of the harshest places on Earth. You’ll be moved by the trust and affection that flows both ways between the dogs and handlers in Soldier Dogs.

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

Written by Susan Orlean (336 pp. Simon & Schuster. $26.99; ages 18 and up)

Readers and television fans alike will remember Rin Tin Tin, a beloved icon, as the most famous four-legged star of the silent screen, who enjoyed a second life as a television star in 1950’s show “The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin.” In Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, The New Yorker writer Susan Orlean gives a detailed account of Rin Tin Tin’s life from the time the “original” male German Shepherd dog was rescued from a World War I battlefield by American soldier, Lee Duncan, to his tumultuous rise through Hollywood and beyond. The story of Rin Tin Tin is a quintessentially American story of twentieth-century entertainment, entrepreneurship and the changing role of dogs in the American family and society.

Awkward Family Pet Photos

By Mike Bender and Doug Chernack (176 pp. Three Rivers Press. $14.99.)

The authors of the New York Times bestseller Awkward Family Photos are back with a hilarious tribute to the unbreakable and sometimes uncomfortable bond between people and their pets in the book Awkward Family Pet Photos. The photos show both people and their pets at their craziest, and often it is the pet owners who appear totally nutty while their beloved pets finally get their just dues. From dogs and cats to pot-bellied pigs, parakeets and possums (yes, possums), Awkward Family Pet Photos is a great gift that will liven up family gatherings and break the ice at holiday parties.

Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook

Written and published by AAA Publishing (704 pp. $18.95.)

You can trust AAA for ideas on safer, more enjoyable travel with pets. Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook is the complete planning guide for travelers who embrace pets as part of the experience. Updated annually, the guide features more than 14,000 AAA-Approved and Diamond Rated hotels, campgrounds and attractions that welcome four-footed travelers. It also includes emergency clinics and dog parks, pointers on car and air travel preparations, and packing suggestions, and invaluable precautions and regulations on U.S./Canada border crossing procedures.

All of the above books are available at or

Happy reading!

Kristen Buck60x60

Written by:
Kristen Levine, Pet Lifestyle Expert and Wizard of Paws

December 19, 2012

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