Most books about cats don’t have their main character facing knife-wielding street punks, wannabe witches, birds of prey, or near-certain death beneath a subway train. Or, for that matter, a dead body on the floor—by page thirteen.
But Nine Lives on the Street is hardly a typical cat book. In the first place, the author is allegedly a real feline who dictated the story to a human, advertising creative director and copywriter Jon Saunders. In the second, it seems to be a children’s book written for adults. Or, perhaps, for children who regularly read the New Yorker.
Nine Lives purports to be the recollections of a pampered pet named Boo whose luxurious lifestyle comes to an abrupt end when his elderly owner dies. He is suddenly forced to live by his wits on the streets of New York. His struggle to survive transforms him from a self-centered and lazy loafer into a hero that one of his fellow felines calls “a credit to his species.”
The 130-page book is, by turns, funny, scary, and serious. Its publisher, Polar Bear & Company calls it “an adventure story for all ages.”
According to Polar Bear’s Paul Cornell du Houx, “Nine Lives on the Street has sage lessons for humans, as well as being a delight to read. To see the world through another’s eyes, albeit those of a cat, can bring clarity to one’s own vision.”
Nine Lives on the Street is available at bookstores, Amazon, B&N.com and directly from the Maine publisher.
Visit the Boo the cat’s website at: http://ninelivesonthestreet.com/
- Paperback: 140 pages
- ISBN-10: 1882190394
- ISBN-13: 978-1882190393
Article in Maine Insights:
by Ramona du Houx
“If you’re looking for one of those cat books about a sweet, cuddly kitten, this probably isn’t your kind of book. In the first place, it’s my story and I’m not all that sweet and cuddly—handsome and lovable, yes, but sweet and cuddly—not so much.
“Most cat books don’t have the main character facing street punks, wannabe witches, birds of prey, or near-certain death beneath a subway train. Or, for that matter, a dead body on the floor by page thirteen. But if you like cats—real cats, that is—and you’re up for a sometimes funny, always exciting adventure on the streets of New York without actually having to go there, then you’ll like my book,Nine Lives on the Street,” stated Boo.
When Boo’s cozy Park Avenue routine comes to an abrupt end, he is suddenly forced to live by his wits on the streets he has only traversed as a passenger in his owner’s Rolls Royce. Through Boo’s realistic narrative, the reader enters a concrete jungle, where the challenge is to get real—really fast.
During his journey, a diverse collection of characters brings a mix of wisdom and danger to Boo, as he seeks to survive in a world much closer to the pavement than the one humans know.
Boo is secretly grateful for, who he refers to as, his amanuensis.
“That would be Jon Saunders, the human who took down my story and put commas in the right places. (I hope.) Saunders is actually an advertising copywriter and a creative director who lives in Connecticut. I’m told he did a good job on the book. But you’ll be the judge of that. And while I’m at it, I’d like to thank Brahmaputra “Rocky” Singh who developed the software that translated everything from Cat into English so Saunders could write it down. BTW, amanuensis is a fancy word for dictation-taker or so I’m told. I thought using it might class this up a bit.”
During an exclusive interview I asked our hero a few questions:
Why did you write the book?
“Well, I figured somebody should. And who better qualified than me? After all, it is my story. Besides, you can learn a lot from a cat.”
Did you think Jon Saunders portrayed you well?
“Yes, but you understand he was basically just typing. I had to meow into a mic, the computer translated it from Cat into Human English, and Saunders put it on paper. I wasn’t sure about him because he’s an advertising guy. But from what people tell me he did a nice job.”
What was the most challenging part of your ordeal of being homeless?
“You mean aside from being robbed at knifepoint, left to die under a subway train, attacked by a giant hawk, nearly being sacrificed by witches, and getting shot? No question, it was trying to find my next meal. It’s hard out there for a cat.”
What do you think papered cats reflect on?
What’s the best part of a cat’s day?
“For me, it’s eating. But then, getting brushed and eating some more are pretty good, too. It’s just hard to work it all in when you sleep 23 hours a day.”
Do you think your story would appeal to adults as well as teens and cats?
“I think it will appeal to adults especially. But everybody will like it — except maybe dogs. Dogs probably won’t like it at all.”
Jon Saunders added, “After working with my fellow humans all my life, collaborating with Boo was a genuine pleasure. It took a little longer than I’d anticipated, as we had to work around his sleep schedule.”
Ask for the book at your local bookstore. Or purchase it at Amazon, B&N.com, or direct from the publisher, Polar Bear & Company, http://www.polarbearandco.com.
“Nine Lives on the Street has sage lessons for humans, as well as being a delight to read. To see the world through another’s eyes, be it even a cats vision, brings clarity to one’s own,” said Paul Cornell du Houx, of Polar Bear and Company.
Paperback: 140 pages