________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 11 . . . . November 11, 2011


Cat Found.

Ingrid Lee.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2011.
176 pp., hardcover, $18.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-31770-2.

Subject Headings:
Feral cats-Fiction.
Animal rescue-Fiction.
Animal shelters-Fiction.
Fathers and sons-Fiction.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Tara Stieglitz.

**1/2 /4



Billy was starstruck.

Was it the same cat? The layers of soot were gone. Shiny splashes of ink decorate her bronze pelt. There were black rings around her legs and tail. And it could have been his grandmother’s best lace collar tucked under her chin.

She wasn’t a grimy gray stray anymore. She was some kind of African Queen.

The cat population is out of control in Billy’s small town, and the townspeople have had absolutely enough of the wandering strays and the midnight cat fights. The stray cats have become a target of the mayor and the citizens, both figuratively and literally, and Billy’s dad is one of the most vehement cat haters. When Billy finds an injured stray wandering the streets, he impulsively takes it home and hides it in his bedroom. Billy cares for the cat and grows to love it, all the while hiding its existence from his parents who would take the cat away and maybe even kill it if they found it.

      Cat Found follows Billy as he befriends others in the town who care for the stray cats and, in some cases, shelter them. Billy’s father, on the other hand, hates the cats and sees shooting them down, with the help of his son who has been reluctantly taught to shoot, as the best solution to the problem. Billy finds himself caught between his narrow-minded father and the colony of strays he’s decided to help protect.

     Cat Found is a sweet story, but the characterization is weak, and the plot sometimes feels overly contrived. The most ridiculous character turnaround comes when Billy’s father has a near death experience that transforms him from a man who verbally abuses his wife and son into a sensitive husband and father who allows Billy to keep his cat. Of all the characters, Billy’s cat Conga gets the most characterization, and, in a refreshing twist, many parts of the book are written from her perspective. The human characters are less well drawn, and, with the exception of Billy, most of them feel like stock caricatures.

     Cat Found, a gentle book about a boy and his cat, would appeal to cat lovers. Though the characterization is weak, the plot and character motivations would be easy for a young reader to understand.


Tara Stieglitz is a librarian at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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