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The Cat Who Came for Christmas

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First published in paperback by Penguin in 1988, The Cat Who Came for Christmas captured the #1 position on the New York Times bestseller list that year for twelve weeks, and, since its hardcover publication, has leaped onto the list an extraordinary five times.Written by Cleveland Amory, self-confessed curmudgeon and dog owner, The Cat Who Came for Christmas is the enchan First published in paperback by Penguin in 1988, The Cat Who Came for Christmas captured the #1 position on the New York Times bestseller list that year for twelve weeks, and, since its hardcover publication, has leaped onto the list an extraordinary five times.Written by Cleveland Amory, self-confessed curmudgeon and dog owner, The Cat Who Came for Christmas is the enchanting story of Amory's encounter with a stray cat in a debris-filled alley one Christmas Eve -- and their subsequent life together. Walter Anderson in Parade described The Cat Who Came for Christmas as "A classic. This extraordinary true story will touch your heart and your funny bone -- all at once". Fans of this classic tale include Walter Cronkite, Paul Harvey, Doris Day -- and, of course, the more than one million Americans who have made The Cat Who Came for Christmas a perennial bestseller.


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First published in paperback by Penguin in 1988, The Cat Who Came for Christmas captured the #1 position on the New York Times bestseller list that year for twelve weeks, and, since its hardcover publication, has leaped onto the list an extraordinary five times.Written by Cleveland Amory, self-confessed curmudgeon and dog owner, The Cat Who Came for Christmas is the enchan First published in paperback by Penguin in 1988, The Cat Who Came for Christmas captured the #1 position on the New York Times bestseller list that year for twelve weeks, and, since its hardcover publication, has leaped onto the list an extraordinary five times.Written by Cleveland Amory, self-confessed curmudgeon and dog owner, The Cat Who Came for Christmas is the enchanting story of Amory's encounter with a stray cat in a debris-filled alley one Christmas Eve -- and their subsequent life together. Walter Anderson in Parade described The Cat Who Came for Christmas as "A classic. This extraordinary true story will touch your heart and your funny bone -- all at once". Fans of this classic tale include Walter Cronkite, Paul Harvey, Doris Day -- and, of course, the more than one million Americans who have made The Cat Who Came for Christmas a perennial bestseller.

30 review for The Cat Who Came for Christmas

  1. 4 out of 5

    GoldGato

    1.) This really isn't a Christmas book. The cat of the title was rescued on Christmas Eve. It has a Christmas name ("Polar Bear"). Methinks it was packaged for the money-spending holiday back when bookstores were bursting with buyers eager for new stories about...cats. 2.) This cat was rescued from a Manhattan street in 1977. 1977! NYC at its filthiest, dimmest, and scariest. Before the Yuppies arrived. Poor grimy cat. 3.) This was written B.C.O.N. (Before Cats On Internet). Cleveland Amory was a 1.) This really isn't a Christmas book. The cat of the title was rescued on Christmas Eve. It has a Christmas name ("Polar Bear"). Methinks it was packaged for the money-spending holiday back when bookstores were bursting with buyers eager for new stories about...cats. 2.) This cat was rescued from a Manhattan street in 1977. 1977! NYC at its filthiest, dimmest, and scariest. Before the Yuppies arrived. Poor grimy cat. 3.) This was written B.C.O.N. (Before Cats On Internet). Cleveland Amory was a pioneer in animal protection and he wrote several engaging books about Polar Bear. If he was writing today, there would be cute little GIFs about Polar Bear, with dancing reindeer. 4.) This is written under chapters titled as, His Foreign Policy, His Hollywood, His Fitness Program...you get the picture. Polar Bear OWNED Mr. Amory. 5.) Okay. I really like this book. Any human who sacrifices their lifestyle to rescue a 1977 New York feline is okay with me. Itty bitty witty kitty. Book Season = Winter (duh)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jessaka

    Maisy, Gumbo, or Mabee read this book years ago and loved it, but this year, well, all I can say is this: It is not a Christmas story; instead it is a horror story. I am actually dramatizing this, but when I read a Christmas story, I don’t want to read about how lab cats are treated or how dolphins are slaughtered. I just want a cute story about an animal. Still, I admire Amory because he is an animal activist, but save me from this at Christmas. Now, it wasn’t too bad when he veered off the sub Maisy, Gumbo, or Mabee read this book years ago and loved it, but this year, well, all I can say is this: It is not a Christmas story; instead it is a horror story. I am actually dramatizing this, but when I read a Christmas story, I don’t want to read about how lab cats are treated or how dolphins are slaughtered. I just want a cute story about an animal. Still, I admire Amory because he is an animal activist, but save me from this at Christmas. Now, it wasn’t too bad when he veered off the subject of his own cat and gave some history or other lessons on cats, but I really didn’t want that either. Maybe cats don’t do enough to merit an entire story of anyone’s cat. Even I have my own cat story, but I could probably only fill a page with it. And that is what I am going to do here: Our Thanksgiving Kitten We lost one of our cats this summer. She was a wonderful loving lap cat that had found me one summer when I was working in my garden. But, this isn’t about her, it is about a kitten who showed up just over a month or so ago and really wanted a home. My husband had informed me that a kitten had shown up at our feral cat feeding station. My thought was, Now, we have another cat to trap and get spayed. I was in no hurry but knew that it had to be done before she became pregnant. Yes, I figured it must be a female cat because she had been dumped here. Male cats usually don’t get dumped. Well, she was friendly and met us at the door, following us to the feral cat feeding station. She even wanted in our house, but my husband shooed her away. Knowing that she wasn’t allowed inside, she just sat at the door looking in or got in our front window and looked pitifully at us. I finally called a veterinarian. “Will you take her off our hands if we pay for shots, etc?” His answer came back a yes. I waited, and then I decided to tame her first. It would help get her a home, I realized. I sat out in the cold on our back porch and fed her the leftover Thanksgiving turkey. She warmed up to me. Such a pretty charcoal colored, black faced, long haired cat, I thought. My favorite for I love Persian cats I finally got her to come inside by placing the turkey scraps just inside the house. She was happy to be indoors, realizing that my husband would no longer chase her out. Our own cat, Taffy, hissed and hissed, and her scream reminded me of a gorilla beating his chest. I began to wonder if Taffy would ever accept her and felt that she would have to go to the vet to get a new home, but the pounding on Taffy’s chest lessens over the week. So, I named our new kitten Maisy, a name my husband said didn’t have a good ring to it. Well, I like Gumbo for a name, but he didn’t think that it had a good ring to it either. So, I told him that he could name the kitten. Maisy is a lap cat, while Taffy only likes my husband’s lap. If I sit in his chair, she likes my lap, too. What is up with that? At least Maisy likes my lap, but last night she was on my husband’s lap along with Taffy. We waited for the war to begin. It didn’t. But this is where her name takes a beating: We took MaISY to the vet for shots and deworming, and to see when she WOuld be old enough to be spayed. (Note: This was not the vet who would take her off our hands but a new veterinarian that just took over our old vet’s business.) He looked at her and said, “You will have to change her name because she is a boy.” And then he said that he could be neutered in a month. A boy? Who dumps boys? Not even China dumps boys. I told my husband that he didn’t have to live with the name, Maisy, which he didn’t care for. He knew that I liked Gumbo for a name, but it didn’t have the right ring to it either, so he thought about it and said, “How about Maubee?” Maubee? “Yes,” he said, “Maubee, the guy in our favorite movie, “The Mighty Quinn.” Mauabee, it is. So, you see, this is really not a great cat story either, but at least I have stayed on topic, not for this review, but for the kitten story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Although the book is obviously "packaged" as a Christmas read, the only Christmassy aspect is the Christmas Eve rescue. However, the feel-goodness contributed to the Christmas cheer. For me, this was a strange book. I normally gag over books that promote the author's causes, but Amory does a wonderful job of focusing on his cat, not himself and only slipping in his causes where they actually pertain to the story. Unlike other pet memoirs I've read he doesn't grouse about his divorce, pat himself Although the book is obviously "packaged" as a Christmas read, the only Christmassy aspect is the Christmas Eve rescue. However, the feel-goodness contributed to the Christmas cheer. For me, this was a strange book. I normally gag over books that promote the author's causes, but Amory does a wonderful job of focusing on his cat, not himself and only slipping in his causes where they actually pertain to the story. Unlike other pet memoirs I've read he doesn't grouse about his divorce, pat himself on the back or wallow in other obnoxious behavior. Another strange aspect of this book is that Polar Bear isn't an exceptional cat by Amory's own admission. He doesn't retrieve like one of my cats, or come when called like all my cats, or do anything that could really be bragged about! :-) But he's not boring thanks to Amory's wit and ability to write about Polar Bear's hijinks in an entertaining way. He even knows how to drop names in a non-repulsive way, ie...Doris Day, Cary Grant. Add to that the fact that he keeps the book short, knowing his audience's attention span for a talentless (but sweet, wonderful) kitty. This isn't a book that I would re-read, hence no 5-star rating, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first reading and recommend it to other cat-lovers for an entertaining read as well as a blast from the past. 4.0 star-spangled kitties

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    January 1, 1988 Was there any question that I would have a copy of a book about a grumpy guy who gets a cat for Christmas? Or that I would like it? If I had my druthers all grumpy people would be given a new pet. As would all non-grumpy people. *** December 27, 2014 For the record, I should point out that Amory is a sweetheart, despite his self-description as a curmudgeon, who has devoted a tremendous amount of his time and energy to The Fund for Animals. I actually liked the bits about The Fund eve January 1, 1988 Was there any question that I would have a copy of a book about a grumpy guy who gets a cat for Christmas? Or that I would like it? If I had my druthers all grumpy people would be given a new pet. As would all non-grumpy people. *** December 27, 2014 For the record, I should point out that Amory is a sweetheart, despite his self-description as a curmudgeon, who has devoted a tremendous amount of his time and energy to The Fund for Animals. I actually liked the bits about The Fund even more than the history of cats or the personal anecdotes. (The anecdotes reveal him to be a bit Andy Rooneyish in his grumbles). Personal, signed copy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    C.

    This is a happy cat and man story, minus any clichés and we get far more out of it than we can guess. For example, as someone who has deemed euthanasia unacceptable my whole life, I manifestly avoid reading of it. Delightfully: Cleveland Amory repudiated books like that! He updates us reassuringly, ten years from this 1977 story: "Polar Bear is alive and well, thank you very much"! "The Cat Who Came For Christmas" does not recycle a non-animal person accepting a kitty. We are treated to a year o This is a happy cat and man story, minus any clichés and we get far more out of it than we can guess. For example, as someone who has deemed euthanasia unacceptable my whole life, I manifestly avoid reading of it. Delightfully: Cleveland Amory repudiated books like that! He updates us reassuringly, ten years from this 1977 story: "Polar Bear is alive and well, thank you very much"! "The Cat Who Came For Christmas" does not recycle a non-animal person accepting a kitty. We are treated to a year of Polar Bear's highly eventful arrival, starting and closing at Christmas like the title reads. I am baffled by anyone not appreciating the tremendous originality and quality, with five stars. An old professional hand is the first thing we notice! I cannot believe I was unfamiliar with Cleveland, who informs us: "He has made his living as an author since before we were born"! The two most important traits in books is not getting a worn-out ditty and writing that is gifted enough to stop us in our tracks. I unceasingly laughed aloud, the literal meaning of a tiresome expression, at cleverness commensurate with his writing prowess! Gosh, I see a fund of phraseology that has gone into disuse. Even when Cleveland takes up a few historical tangents, his finesse turns every sentence to gold; a pleasure to read! That he is hilarious into the bargain, is icing on an already-impressive cake. Seeing who Cleveland was in the animal activism milieu, bowls me over doubly for not knowing him. He chaired the Fund For Animals, got Paul Watson captaining the Sea Shepherd, and knew the guy who founded PETA. He was well-connected to animal advocate actors, like Jean Stapleton and Katherine Hepburn! Polar Bear was present through some astonishingly historically-pivotal meetings! Merry Christmas, everyone and God bless you.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I got about halfway through and had to stop, because i just don't like it. I thought it was going to be about this cat, but most of it is about the author's part in the Fund for Animals, the history of cats and famous cats, and how many famous people the author knows. The author calls himself a curmudgeon, and he certainly is one. He also comes across as arrogant. His writing style is very annoying. For example, here is a short excerpt from the first page: To anyone who has ever been owned by a I got about halfway through and had to stop, because i just don't like it. I thought it was going to be about this cat, but most of it is about the author's part in the Fund for Animals, the history of cats and famous cats, and how many famous people the author knows. The author calls himself a curmudgeon, and he certainly is one. He also comes across as arrogant. His writing style is very annoying. For example, here is a short excerpt from the first page: To anyone who has ever been owned by a cat, it will come as no surprise that there are all sorts of things about your cat you will never, as long as you live, forget. A lot of his sentences are very long, and with unnecessary additions that make it hard to follow. Also he does things like talk for two pages of the Beverly Hills Hotel and all the famous people who have been there. I usually finish a book, even if I don't like them, but I just couldn't take it any longer.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Suzy

    My Mom gave me this book when it was first published in 1987 and I am ashamed to say that I just read it for the first time this year as part of my Christmas book extravaganza. Sorry Mom - I loved it! Cleveland Amory, a self-professed dog-lover, becomes owned by Polar Bear the cat after rescuing said cat on Christmas Eve in 1977. He writes about his experiences with Polar Bear with great wit and humor, nailing so much others of us experience who are owned by cats. He also was an early animal righ My Mom gave me this book when it was first published in 1987 and I am ashamed to say that I just read it for the first time this year as part of my Christmas book extravaganza. Sorry Mom - I loved it! Cleveland Amory, a self-professed dog-lover, becomes owned by Polar Bear the cat after rescuing said cat on Christmas Eve in 1977. He writes about his experiences with Polar Bear with great wit and humor, nailing so much others of us experience who are owned by cats. He also was an early animal rights activist and tells of brave acts to rescue whales, baby seals and Grand Canyon burros. He uses his prominence and his pen to further his cause through his Fund for Animals and Black Beauty Ranch, an animal sanctuary in East Texas. That they both are going concerns today is a testimony to his dedication. http://www.blackbeautyranch.org/about/ It's touching to me that he developed his love for animals and was set on his path after reading Black Beauty as a boy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    BJ Rose

    I did not know until reading this book that Cleveland Amory is a lifelong animal activist, and this book was as much about that as it was about Polar Bear, the cat Amory helped rescue on Christmas Eve, the cat he (a dog lover) decided to keep instead of just shelter overnight, and the inevitable discovery that people do not own cats but are owned by them.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile

    I adored this endearing tale of a difficult cat to rescue, but then readily accepted a human's love. I will be seeking out more stories by this author, I can't wait to hear more about Polar Bear's adventures. Some reviews weren't happy about the author talking about his backstory and his charity, but I appreciated these tidbits. I adored this endearing tale of a difficult cat to rescue, but then readily accepted a human's love. I will be seeking out more stories by this author, I can't wait to hear more about Polar Bear's adventures. Some reviews weren't happy about the author talking about his backstory and his charity, but I appreciated these tidbits.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    The Author, Cleveland Amory tells how he found a stray cat at Christmas. He expressed the joys of having a pet and the talks he had with Polar Bear, the white cat. Great story filled with love and humor.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    On a snowy Christmas eve, Amory was contacted by a friend who had been trying to gain the trust of a stray cat who had been hanging about in a nearby alley. Ruth was sure that with the two of them working together they’d be able to capture the skittish feline. Against his better judgment, Amory went out in the snow and eventually they succeeded. But now where to take the cat? Thus this (eventually discovered to be white) cat came into Amory’s life, and they developed a close relationship (or as On a snowy Christmas eve, Amory was contacted by a friend who had been trying to gain the trust of a stray cat who had been hanging about in a nearby alley. Ruth was sure that with the two of them working together they’d be able to capture the skittish feline. Against his better judgment, Amory went out in the snow and eventually they succeeded. But now where to take the cat? Thus this (eventually discovered to be white) cat came into Amory’s life, and they developed a close relationship (or as close as anyone can get to a cat). Polar Bear filled a hole in Amory’s life, and the animal advocate certainly ensured that Polar Bear not only survived, but thrived. This book is a memoir of their first year together and the ways in which man and beast became a team. I’m not much of an animal lover, but I found this reasonably interesting and entertaining. There were some quite humorous episodes (the first “bath”). Amory was a dedicated animal advocate and he uses this story to expound on many of his efforts, including stopping the slaughter of baby seals. I thought many of these sidelines detracted from the central story of a Cat and His Man. Despite the title, there was nothing particularly “Christmassy” about the book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    In the late 1970s Amory was a bona fide animal lover (he’d founded the NYC-based Fund for Animals, after all) but didn’t have a pet of his own until he was involved in the rescue of an unprepossessing stray one Christmas: Polar Bear, the cat who would introduce his fussy habits to a bachelor’s household and complicate his life in all kinds of ways. Cat owners will recognize so many things – the 3 a.m. bowl-emptying snack, testy relations with various other species – but I found the book strangel In the late 1970s Amory was a bona fide animal lover (he’d founded the NYC-based Fund for Animals, after all) but didn’t have a pet of his own until he was involved in the rescue of an unprepossessing stray one Christmas: Polar Bear, the cat who would introduce his fussy habits to a bachelor’s household and complicate his life in all kinds of ways. Cat owners will recognize so many things – the 3 a.m. bowl-emptying snack, testy relations with various other species – but I found the book strangely belabored and irrelevant as it goes into the history of the domestic cat, the business of naming cats, and Amory’s travels on behalf of the Fund. Favorite lines: “For an animal person, an animal-less home is no home at all.” “The fact is that most cats, most of the time, have already met everybody they care to meet.” Reviewed with four other cat books on my blog, Bookish Beck.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    I usually like Cleveland Amory's writing; but I just couldn't get into this book. I was expecting a cute Christmas story about a cat; but this for me was just a too-detailed book about a wild cat who he unexpectedly helped catch and kept. I gave up after a couple of very slow reading chapters since I was looking forward to something it wasn't. I usually like Cleveland Amory's writing; but I just couldn't get into this book. I was expecting a cute Christmas story about a cat; but this for me was just a too-detailed book about a wild cat who he unexpectedly helped catch and kept. I gave up after a couple of very slow reading chapters since I was looking forward to something it wasn't.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Samaire

    This memoir is both charming and frustrating. I did enjoy the stories about Polar Bear, but sometimes the tangential anecdotes got to be a bit much. Mr. Amory’s style of writing was sometimes hard for me to follow as well, lots of commas and grammar that makes the original subject, verb, and predicate a little hard to follow (the former English teacher in me can’t resist). I did find the book an interesting history of the animal anti-cruelty movement. I did not realize that Mr. Amory was such a This memoir is both charming and frustrating. I did enjoy the stories about Polar Bear, but sometimes the tangential anecdotes got to be a bit much. Mr. Amory’s style of writing was sometimes hard for me to follow as well, lots of commas and grammar that makes the original subject, verb, and predicate a little hard to follow (the former English teacher in me can’t resist). I did find the book an interesting history of the animal anti-cruelty movement. I did not realize that Mr. Amory was such a central figure in it. (Or perhaps I did not comprehend that such atrocities of dropping cats out windows and tormenting dogs was perceived as no big deal back in the 1970s.) Of the book’s many anecdotes, my favorite was how Mr. Armory and Paul Watson planned to save baby seals from being clubbed to death in Canada for it explained the genesis of Sea Shepard. (Even though I don’t agree with all their tactics, I find them intriguing and I get a kick out of seeing them thwart the Japanese whaling fleet.) I think I will give Polar Bear’s next installment of adventures a try, for even with existing literary frustrations, there is enough there to entice and interest me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    It was warming, witty, full of side facts and history, and had the added dimension of being written by someone who grew up in a different age. It was so much more than an animal rescue story yet still a light and quick read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I learned so much from this book; and so did the main character! The cat reminds me so much of my own cat.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dark-Draco

    This is one of those books that you kind of know what to expect, but you don't mind reading anyway. It's a 'nice' story of a professed 'dog' man who, although heavily involved in animal advocacy, has no pets of his own. When he if pressed to help rescue a stray kitten on Christmas Eve, he ends up with a friend for life ... or at least another living creature that rules his life! The author does go off topic on occasion, but they're hugely interesting and varied interruptions - the history of the This is one of those books that you kind of know what to expect, but you don't mind reading anyway. It's a 'nice' story of a professed 'dog' man who, although heavily involved in animal advocacy, has no pets of his own. When he if pressed to help rescue a stray kitten on Christmas Eve, he ends up with a friend for life ... or at least another living creature that rules his life! The author does go off topic on occasion, but they're hugely interesting and varied interruptions - the history of the Beverley Hills Hotel, saving seals from being killed for fur, famous people and their cats .... all while he works out how to live with a very opinionated cat. I think that while reading this, you have to remember that it was published a while ago now and some of the attitudes he goes on about have very much changed (or at least they have in the UK if not elsewhere), so his rants seem slightly meaningless. But on the whole I found this an entertaining, funny in places, read ... and at least he avoided the usual unhappy ending that such animal books usually have!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Redfox5

    A book about a grumpy white cat who was rescued by a dog person. This is a heart warming tale that will make you smile, especially if you are a cat owner. As someone who has to pill a cat 4 times a day, I could really relate to the fitness chapter! I did also like the bits of history about cats that was sprinkled here and there. I sometimes found it didn’t flow very well, mainly when the author was talking about his own life, rather than the cats. This did slow the book down somewhat and I tended A book about a grumpy white cat who was rescued by a dog person. This is a heart warming tale that will make you smile, especially if you are a cat owner. As someone who has to pill a cat 4 times a day, I could really relate to the fitness chapter! I did also like the bits of history about cats that was sprinkled here and there. I sometimes found it didn’t flow very well, mainly when the author was talking about his own life, rather than the cats. This did slow the book down somewhat and I tended to put it down for a while when I got to those bits. I found it hard to read at times as my cat has been very ill this week and being reminded of some of the most charming cat behaviours was just making me sad. Overall this is one for the Cat fans.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Julie Yashur

    What a cute and funny true story about a bachelor who adopts a white stray cat at Christmas. The novel describes the first year that the author has been "owned" by Polar Bear and the hilarious episodes that have happened during that time period. For example, recognizing one's name, taking a trip, walking on a leash,... What a cute and funny true story about a bachelor who adopts a white stray cat at Christmas. The novel describes the first year that the author has been "owned" by Polar Bear and the hilarious episodes that have happened during that time period. For example, recognizing one's name, taking a trip, walking on a leash,...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robin Mccormack

    Amusing, entertaining, as well as educational as Amory covers the history of cats, cat names, cat communication, as well as animal activism, along with the cat’s adventures with his human.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

    I think I read this one years ago, but it was well worth a reread. The true story of how Cleveland Amory, writer and founder of the Fund for Animals, rescued a young white cat on Christmas Eve. It wasn't meant to be a permanent relationship, but they took to each other and learned to live with each other's quirks. A funny and touching memoir. I think I read this one years ago, but it was well worth a reread. The true story of how Cleveland Amory, writer and founder of the Fund for Animals, rescued a young white cat on Christmas Eve. It wasn't meant to be a permanent relationship, but they took to each other and learned to live with each other's quirks. A funny and touching memoir.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bev

    It's about 1977 and the night before Christmas when self-identified dog person and curmudgeon Cleveland Amory finds himself on a mission to help rescue a thin, bedraggled feline from a New York alley. The cat has obviously been on his own for a good while and someone has injured him. The rescue is just for the night...Amory offers to house the poor kitty overnight until someone can come claim him. But the unexpected happens. The cat decides that Amory is who he wants to live with and from the mo It's about 1977 and the night before Christmas when self-identified dog person and curmudgeon Cleveland Amory finds himself on a mission to help rescue a thin, bedraggled feline from a New York alley. The cat has obviously been on his own for a good while and someone has injured him. The rescue is just for the night...Amory offers to house the poor kitty overnight until someone can come claim him. But the unexpected happens. The cat decides that Amory is who he wants to live with and from the moment Amory finds him staring at him the next morning the die has been cast. Amory discovers what it's like to be owned by a cat....and how much he likes it. The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory isn't really a Christmas story. It's a story about the bond between a cat and his human that just happens to start at Christmas. The story follows Amory and Polar Bear (as the naming of the cat goes) through a year of settling in to a life together. The stories about Polar Bear are charmingly told and remind me of the cats found in the Lockridge mystery series. The cat is obviously his own person and that is relayed without making the story too cutesy. The only part that really didn't work for me was Amory's long-winded section on the history of cat's and cat names. Not that the history of cats might not be interesting in the right context. I just don't think this book was it. Overall, a very pleasant read and a good one to finish off my Christmas Spirit Challenge reading for 2013. Three solid stars. This was first posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    I found this book in my grandmother's attic in November and immediately decided that it needed to come home with me. For one, I happen to have a pure white cat. Secondly, it was nearly Christmas and I couldn't help but pick it up. Some of this book is slightly tedious. I'll be the first to admit that when I first started reading it, I was puzzled as to why it was necessary for the author to name drop nearly every celebrity of his time. And also, why spend dozens of pages describing a conversatio I found this book in my grandmother's attic in November and immediately decided that it needed to come home with me. For one, I happen to have a pure white cat. Secondly, it was nearly Christmas and I couldn't help but pick it up. Some of this book is slightly tedious. I'll be the first to admit that when I first started reading it, I was puzzled as to why it was necessary for the author to name drop nearly every celebrity of his time. And also, why spend dozens of pages describing a conversation between him and his yet unnamed cat over the ethics of certain things or whether or not the cat would come when called? It was a little ridiculous, but I was able to overlook that second bit because I am indeed a cat lover and we happen to do silly things. The part about this book that really interested me wasn't even really about Polar Bear at all... it was about the personal life of such a prominent animal rights activist. I was a little shocked that Amory was so open about playing a part in the painting of seals and the ramming of Sierra (a whaling boat). Also, that he was friends with the founder of PETA, and would admit being so in a publication. (PETA being such a controversial group and this book is not a best seller that could get away with mentioning something like that without losing readers)I also thought the Fund for Animals office cats description was cute, and also that it was admirable that Mr. Amory fosters strays.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pages and Tea

    The true story of how the rescue of a stray cat led to the rescuer being adopted (and ‘owned’) by said cat. The book covers the first year of the cat’s (Polar Bear, he is white) new life. This book was recommended by a work friend and fellow cat owner. As a cat owner I really enjoyed it. Certain episodes reminded me so much of my own cat that I couldn’t help but laugh aloud (trying to give the cat a pill, putting him on a lead to walk him (yes, I did this once, but only because my cat had had an The true story of how the rescue of a stray cat led to the rescuer being adopted (and ‘owned’) by said cat. The book covers the first year of the cat’s (Polar Bear, he is white) new life. This book was recommended by a work friend and fellow cat owner. As a cat owner I really enjoyed it. Certain episodes reminded me so much of my own cat that I couldn’t help but laugh aloud (trying to give the cat a pill, putting him on a lead to walk him (yes, I did this once, but only because my cat had had an operation and couldn’t be let out to roam free. I felt sorry for him being stuck indoors all day!)). I love the character of Polar Bear, and how he deals with intrusions into his new found home, his responses to other people and other animals, and the way he seems to have his own voice. An enjoyable read, with a happy ending, as, at the time of writing at least, Polar Bear was still going strong. I always find it really sad with these kind of books, when you reach the end and the animal has died.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl Tribble

    Always enjoyed Amory's TV Guide column, and, if I remember rightly, I also liked his book Man Kind? when I was a kid. This one, however, is a big of slog. Much too cutesy for me, and of the "dog person helpless in the face of a determined cat" variety -- which can be hilarious but this time isn't. Nearly every chapter is either "I want this, cat didn't, I did it my way and it was a disaster" or "I want this, cat didn't, we compromised by doing things cat's way." He says he's learning to understan Always enjoyed Amory's TV Guide column, and, if I remember rightly, I also liked his book Man Kind? when I was a kid. This one, however, is a big of slog. Much too cutesy for me, and of the "dog person helpless in the face of a determined cat" variety -- which can be hilarious but this time isn't. Nearly every chapter is either "I want this, cat didn't, I did it my way and it was a disaster" or "I want this, cat didn't, we compromised by doing things cat's way." He says he's learning to understand the cat, but what I see is him not learning anything about cats except how to avoid trouble spots, if you will. As a cat person, I want to whomp him upside the head regularly for doing stupid stuff that's causing his own problems. Which is probably the whole point of the thing but I suppose I wanted to see growth and an appreciation for how cats actually work. Instead he just develops work-arounds. Entertaining enough, but not a book I would go out of my way to track down, and not one I'm keeping to re-read (although if I had more space...). Two and a half stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kingfan30

    As a cat lover and having three cats I always feel inclined to pick up a book about one. I was a bit surprised when in the first few pages, the author gets the cat to his home and says he puts food, milk and water down for it, when actually you shouldn't give cats milk and I thought as a founder of an animal charity he would have known this. However later in the book when he talks of his campaign against the killing of seals, I realised that this book was actually written a while ago, and maybe As a cat lover and having three cats I always feel inclined to pick up a book about one. I was a bit surprised when in the first few pages, the author gets the cat to his home and says he puts food, milk and water down for it, when actually you shouldn't give cats milk and I thought as a founder of an animal charity he would have known this. However later in the book when he talks of his campaign against the killing of seals, I realised that this book was actually written a while ago, and maybe explained this. As a read this was a fairly quick one, the author does go off on a tangent quite a bit though and some of these tangents are more interesting than others. What I did like was that he didn't think his cat was particularly special (so many I've read claim they have a remarkable cat, but when I've read the book, just can't see it myself), it was just a story about them getting to know one another, and there were certainly some moments I could relate to with my gang.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    'Twas the night before Christmas when a bedraggled white feline enters the heart--and home--of Cleveland Amory. To say it is a friendly takeover is an understatement. For the cat who came for Christmas is clearly of the Independent Type, and Cleveland Amory, curmudgeon or not, is, where animals are concerned, a pushover.Toe to toe they stand--Amory at six feet three, the cat at six inches--and eyeball to eyeball with each other on every issue: whether or not to come when called; to recognize one 'Twas the night before Christmas when a bedraggled white feline enters the heart--and home--of Cleveland Amory. To say it is a friendly takeover is an understatement. For the cat who came for Christmas is clearly of the Independent Type, and Cleveland Amory, curmudgeon or not, is, where animals are concerned, a pushover.Toe to toe they stand--Amory at six feet three, the cat at six inches--and eyeball to eyeball with each other on every issue: whether or not to come when called; to recognize one's name; to take a trip, a pill, a bath, or a walk on a leash; to be civil to New People; or even in an age when Thin Is In, why anyone in his right mind would want to be the Last Fat Cat. We will not spoil The Cat Who Came For Christmas by telling you who blinks first. Suffice it to say that in this hilarious battle, nine times out of ten, it is not the cat.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Slow-moving and filled with tons of unnecessary wordage, this story just plodded along for me. I love stories about the holidays and about cats; however, I wasn't as enthralled with this book as I would have liked. Let me just say that this writer is very intellectual (as is obvious from his writing). But...it was this same intellectualness that drove me out of my mind reading this book. What should have taken but a few sentences to say, went on and on and on for countless pages. I felt like I w Slow-moving and filled with tons of unnecessary wordage, this story just plodded along for me. I love stories about the holidays and about cats; however, I wasn't as enthralled with this book as I would have liked. Let me just say that this writer is very intellectual (as is obvious from his writing). But...it was this same intellectualness that drove me out of my mind reading this book. What should have taken but a few sentences to say, went on and on and on for countless pages. I felt like I was reading a modern day Henry James as I was reading this book. Many times I wanted to say, "Oh, good Lord! Just SAY it in A SIMPLE SENTENCE, not a paragraph!" And could there BE any more commas, colons, and semi-colons in a sentence?! The writing style really spoiled, what for me, could have been a sweet and lighthearted holiday story. Gah! /1

  29. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    I picked this book up in a charity shop thinking it was a delightful children’s story and would make for a fun light read. It is, in fact, intended as a “family” book. Interspersed with the occasional detour into various Fund for Animals (an animal liberation organisation which the author founded) campaigns, which I personally found the most interesting sections. The book is ostensibly about a cat, named Polar Bear, who is rescued by the author. I say ostensibly as the passages actually pertaini I picked this book up in a charity shop thinking it was a delightful children’s story and would make for a fun light read. It is, in fact, intended as a “family” book. Interspersed with the occasional detour into various Fund for Animals (an animal liberation organisation which the author founded) campaigns, which I personally found the most interesting sections. The book is ostensibly about a cat, named Polar Bear, who is rescued by the author. I say ostensibly as the passages actually pertaining to Polar Bear seemed few and far between. What seemed to make up the bulk of the book was prolonged sections of trailing sentences about cats; bringing back memories of being stuck with an elderly person as they ramble inconsequential nonsense at you. Ultimately, it’s a pleasant read though it did rather feel like a test of endurance at times.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Teena in Toronto

    My sister had recommended this book. And since I like books about animals, I checked it out. It took me a while to get used to his writing style ... it seemed rather pompous to me at first. Amory had rescued and taken in a stray white cat who he names Polar Bear. The book covers his and Polar Bear's first year together. It was funny to read Amory's descriptions of the conversations he and Polar Bear would have ... they tended to discuss and negotiate a lot! I'd never head of Amory (1917 - 1998) befo My sister had recommended this book. And since I like books about animals, I checked it out. It took me a while to get used to his writing style ... it seemed rather pompous to me at first. Amory had rescued and taken in a stray white cat who he names Polar Bear. The book covers his and Polar Bear's first year together. It was funny to read Amory's descriptions of the conversations he and Polar Bear would have ... they tended to discuss and negotiate a lot! I'd never head of Amory (1917 - 1998) before this book. He was an animal rights activist and it was interesting to read about his campaigns against seal hunting here in Canada and the killing of burros in the States. If you love kitties, then you'll probably enjoy this book.

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