Close Encounters of the Furred Kind starts not long after where The Good, The Bad and The Furry (reviewed here) left off, with Tom Cox and his partner contemplating moving their lives and their four cats from Norfolk to rural Devon.
Much like his blog and other books about cats, Close Encounters of the Furred Kind is laugh-out-loud funny in places as Tom describes the upheaval and stress of moving across the country with his four beloved felines, his attempts to domesticate and adopt a local feral cat, taking up dog-walking as a hobby, conversations with his parents and interactions between his feline friends. Yet I find Tom is at his most eloquent when contemplating the ageing and mortality of the cats with whom he shares his home and around which his life revolves, it is perhaps the knowledge that most of us will outlive our pets that makes us love them all the more fiercely.
Sadly since this book was published, two of Tom’s cats, The Bear (a soulful philosopher) and Shipley (a cantankerous chatterbox) have passed away, but they will live on through these books in his vividly captured descriptions of their personalities and mannerisms.
It was about six months ago that we found a mast cell tumour on our own cat’s tail, and although it was removed before it spread, she is still at a higher risk of developing another tumour than other cats and is currently in a period of monitoring. As grateful as I am to all the vets who have treated Mara, I always feel anxious whenever she goes for check-ups and tests (which are not without risks), and about what the results might reveal, but I’ve drawn comfort from reading books like this from other animal lovers who understand just how much our lives are enriched by the affections and companionship of our pets.
After a busy week I’ve enjoyed spending a lazy weekend at home curled up on the couch with my husband, Mara snoozing across our laps and Close Encounters of the Furred Kind to amuse me. Have a lovely week.