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The Cats of Roxville Station: 09/08/11

cover art

Every book has a story. With favorite books, I often remember how I found the book (or how it found me) and where I was when I read it. In the case of The Cats of Roxville Station by Jean Craighead George, the memory is on the finding of the book.

We were in San Ramon checking out a new and used book store, one of those places that shelves the old and the new together. It was late afternoon and the sunlight was streaming into the children's wing of the store. I was looking for a copy of The Hunger Games. My daughter distracted me as I reached for it and I pulled the book directly under it out: The Cats of Roxville Station.

The cover immediately caught my eye: a gorgeous, realistic water color of cats at a train station. I like cats and I like trains. I flipped through the book was further smitten by Tom Pohrt's line drawings.

The story, though told from an omniscient point of view, in the style of Richard Adams, is about Rachet, an abandoned cat who is dumped in a river at the edge of a thriving feral cat colony. She survives the attempted drowning and slowly begins to find her place at Roxville Station.

Through her attempts we are introduced the other cats and the humans who share the same space. The cats are for the most part just part of the surroundings. They aren't seen as potential pets or helpful for their ratting abilities. In fact one woman wants to have them exterminated but she doesn't realize a hole in her basement window is allowing some of them in at night.

The one truly sympathetic human is a young boy named Mike but his foster family won't allow him to have Rachet as a pet. He begins to make plans to give her a home he feels she deserves without risking his own current home situation.

The book is frank in its portrayal of people living around feral cats. While it does gloss over some details here and there it's by no means a rose-tinted story of cats living on their own. It's a dangerous life style for the cats. But it's beautifully told and it can be used to show children why its important to spay and neuter pets and why pets should be adopted from shelters if possible.

Five stars

Comments (6)

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Comment #1: Friday, September, 9, 2011 at 00:49:22

Linda Benson

Thanks for this one, Sarah. I'm a big cat person, and I'll look for it. Love the illustrations!

Comment #2: Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 16:52:04


You're welcome. I hope you find a copy. Happy reading!

Comment #3: Tuesday, September, 13, 2011 at 03:10:29

Gina, a book dragon

I haven't read this book but the cover is so familiar that I may own it!

off to check.....

Comment #4: Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 19:47:31


Did you find out if you have a copy?

Comment #5: Sunday, September, 18, 2011 at 15:37:17

Gina, a book dragon

I looked it up at LibraryThing....I do have a copy! I even know what box it's in ;)

Comment #6: Monday, September 19, 2011 at 20:33:53


Haha! Now you just need to find the box and read the book.

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