Pavlov's Cats (Review)

Labels: A Lighter Touch


Pavlov's Cats
Randy Minnich, 2005
84 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
December 2006

Know why cats don't get presents on their birthday? Answer—they already own everything.

Any cat owner gets the joke because it's really about us—our powerlessness in the face of a nine-pound creature. Randy Minnich explores that helplessness. His book is a delightful read for any human addicted to Felis silvestris catus.

In the foreword, Minnich, previoiusly a dog lover, talks about his and his wife Claudia's first encounter with a neigboring domestic cat:

Dusty was a septuagenarian—in cat years—when we moved into her neighborhood. She was the matriarch. Even in her waning years, she was a mighty hunter and dispenser of justice. Cats and dogs feared her; humans adored her. She already owned several houses on the block and was negotiating for ours.

In the 45 short poems that follow, Minnich ponders the inexplicable ties we have with our cats, how they continually intrigue, entertain, and confound us—and how (not why) we allow them to entwine their tails around our lives. Any owner of a cat reading this book will laugh and nod knowingly at our mutual silliness, cats and owners alike.

Minnich never loses sight of the inherent wildness of cats—"genes hammered out on dark jungle nights." For him it's part and parcel of their mystery and beauty .

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