Of Cats and Men by Sam Kalda

Of Cats and Men: Profiles of History's Great Cat-loving Artists, Writers, Thinkers, and StatesmenOf Cats and Men: Profiles of History’s Great Cat-loving Artists, Writers, Thinkers, and Statesmen by Sam Kalda

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book I picked up free to review through NetGalley, and I’m very glad I did! As a cat lover, the cover and title appealed to me right away. As I read through the descriptions of famous men and their bond with cats, I had the impression this was the author’s first book, not because of any lack in his skill, but it emotes ‘this-is-new-and-exciting-for-me’. That feeling positively influenced my own emotional state and enhanced my experience while reading.

It is also heavily illustrated and the illustrations are very communicative. You know exactly what emotions, thoughts, and ideas are being expressed immediately. The author is obviously a very experienced artist and is completely comfortable expressing himself through his art. His illustrations are just wonderful, and I would love to have prints of several of them to place amongst my book shelves! One in particular (my favorite) depicts Nikola Tesla standing by his desk, gazing out through his window and petting his cat, who is also looking out, on a moonlit night as lightening strikes near a metal tower. This image captures the essence of those silent moments of contemplation with companionship, which are so common between cat and guardian. So much is communicated through the author’s illustrations, that this book would not be nearly as interesting and charming without them, which I’m sure is the point!

The author conveys a simple and lovely picture of the bond between a human and a cat which left me in a state of reverie that involved a few tears and sniffles. The ‘thing’ that draws me to my cats is not their adorable and funny actions and reactions, or the way they get themselves into all manner of silly predicaments that make me laugh and want to cuddle them up (if they allow it!), but the quiet way they have inspired and influenced me. The subtle and modest way they communicate, which is often missed by the casual feline admirer, has taught me more about communicating in meaningful ways with the people I love, than I might have ever learned on my own. This book is an excellent read, especially for anyone who has ever loved a cat!