Book Mews: The Cats of America

Cats have fascinated us since time immemorial. Their habits, their moods, the mysterious workings of their minds all place us firmly under their spell. Maybe that’s why we consume so much material related to those kitties, including those fiendishly compelling cat videos! Whatever the reason, most of us are hooked on those furry little devils and anything relating to them…

Current estimates indicate there are more than 95 million pet cats in the US today, a number that’s growing steadily as ever more Americans embrace feline companionship. Still, not all of us are aware of just how deep the American connection with cats goes. US presidents and movie stars have all had a soft spot for their kitties. Native Americans and European settlers alike embraced the domestic cat as both useful helper and charming entertainment. You may have gleaned some information about America’s cat history on the Internet. However, you probably don’t have a full sense of this fascinating saga. However, luckily for you, there’s now an intriguing little volume that presents the full history of America’s felines in all their glory.The Cats of America: How Cool Cats and Bad-Ass Kitties Won The Nation’s Heart by Seamus Mullarkey explains the key role cats have played in all aspects of American life, whether in the Wild West or in today’s scientific advances. Curious how cats shaped America’s destiny? From Lincoln feeding his kitty with a gold spoon to the cat just off The Mayflower who gave birth on Plymouth Rock, there’s a wealth of quirky historical detail. There are also plenty of juicy tidbits for the eager cat lover to devour, whether it’s fun facts, stories about brave cats, or quirky behind-the-scenes insights into how cats have placed their paws on every element of American existence.

Music fans will learn how jazz and hip-hop have paid tribute to cats on more than one occasion. Those fascinated by folklore will learn of ghostly felines and terrifying cat monsters. Meanwhile, those of us intrigued by million-dollar lifestyles will lap up the story of Cherry Pop, the ultimate cat socialite who mingled with Hollywood stars and whose deluxe residence even had its own squirrel-gazing platform.

Of course, no book about American cats would be complete without lots of quirky stories about felines in the media. Just like their human counterparts, many ordinary kitties have clawed their way to the top in pursuit of fame and fortune Along the way they’ve won awards, faced down studio guard dogs and engaged in spats with other celebrities. They say life in the public eye can be tough, but we know cats can be even tougher…

America’s cats not only made their way into showbusiness but had a profound influence on American literature as well. From a cat’s kindness to Edgar Allan Poe’s dying wife to Ernest Hemingway’s legendary house full of many-toed “mitten cats,” writers have long enjoyed a solid personal bond with members of the feline tribe. As you’d expect, kitties also featured in their novels and stories, from frightening figures in gothic horrors to the protagonist in Dr. Seuss’s classic The Cat In The Hat.

It shouldn’t surprise cat fans to learn that as well as playing an important role on the pages of classic literature, America’s furry favorites have rescued little girls from kidnappers, boosted wartime spirits, and dominated fashion trends. We know how kitties rule American households and intrigue us with their antics, so it’s no wonder that they are one of America’s most enduring cultural icons, whether in advertising, sports, or on a wagon trail headed West.

So, if you’d like to give a fellow cat lover a thoughtful, unique gift, you might order them a copy of The Cats of America: How Cool Cats and Bad-Ass Kitties Won The Nation’s Heart. Seamus Mullarkey’s latest work is chock full of quirky stories, nifty facts, and honorable cat heroes. Currently for sale on Amazon.com, it would be a welcome addition to any cat lover’s bookshelf.

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