Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends Reviews

School Library Journal

CatChampions_C“Laidlaw takes children’s love of cats and combines it with their interest in making a difference by introducing young people who are working to save these animals. The book begins with a chapter about cats in general–their history, attributes, breeds, and cat shows. He then describes “Cat Champions” in the United States and Canada and their efforts to help abandoned, injured, or homeless felines: a girl who helps trap and neuter cats in a colony near her home, high school students who construct outdoor shelters for feral cats, and others….the kids’ actions should inspire readers to get involved with rescue efforts in their own communities. This title would be useful for its information on young people and their determination to protect cats everywhere.”
—Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ

Kirkus Reviews

“As he did in No Shelter Here (2012), Laidlaw offers a brief history and basic details about a particular kind of companion animal (in this case, cats) and recognizes individuals and organizations who advocate and care for them.

Feline fanciers and casual browsers alike will be attracted by the numerous photos—generally three to seven per double-page spread. Posed or candid, stock photos or personalized portraits, the pictures vary in size and placement but are crisp and colorful for the most part. They showcase oodles of cute cats and playful kittens, some accompanied by the humans who love them. The text, meanwhile, explores a variety of related topics, each covered in a few short paragraphs. From a young girl in China who speaks up against animal exploitation to Canadian and U.S. citizens, primarily children and teens, who volunteer in shelters, raise funds or tend to feral cats, the author profiles people making a difference. He also explains how cats behave, what they need and how readers can help. The friendly, conversational tone begins in the first few pages with a personal note that addresses readers directly and continues throughout. Backmatter includes a “Cat Lover’s Pledge” as well as a page of Web resources, a glossary and an index.

The straightforward message, good examples and plentiful resources may well combine to inspire new advocates. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

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“Here’s a book for cat lovers and those who want to know more about caring for furry friends. Laidlaw offers a slew of information…about cats: history, breeds, care, and habits of both domesticated and feral cats. But the book’s centerpiece is the “cat champions,” or young people (some eight or nine years old) who have gone above and beyond to make life better for felines. Among them are a girl who started Blankets Fur Beasties, which collects blankets, quilts, towels, and other supplies for shelters; a seven-year-old boy, who volunteers for animal protection in China, feeding feral cats; and a family, led by their teen daughter who specializes in fostering cats…The list of organizations where kids can learn about ways they can help is extensive and useful.”
—Ilene Cooper

Resource Links

Cat Champions is a compilation of stories of children who have made a difference in the world by caring for feral cats. The book is divided into sections to highlight different types of stories, from the lives that cats have when they do not live in a home, to shelters, to becoming a foster parent, and to adopting a cat and raising funds for cats who need help. Interspersed throughout the book are sidebars with information that provide readers with statistics and concrete information on the world of cats and how to look after them.

The book is simple but well put together. Every page has at least one photograph, if not more, of children and their cats. The information is easily accessible and the stories are engaging and heart-warming. It is a pleasure to read about children making a difference in the world. It includes a links page, glossary and index. The resource pages will be especially useful in a classroom research project, and the contents of the book would provide a great foundation for further research and discussion. This is a wonderful book for any animal lover.”
—Elizabeth Ford

CM Magazine

“Laidlaw, author of No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs, now provides a book that will empower you to help homeless cats…An index and resource guide (cat protection and information websites) can be found on the back pages. This book worked for me…Highly recommended.”
Tanya Boudreau

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Quill & Quire

“Cats may have conquered the Internet, but every year thousands still end up homeless in shelters, sanctuaries, and feral colonies. Cat Champions is about some of the people – most of them kids – who dedicate their personal time, imagination, and resources to care for them.

The book starts with a brief overview of Felis catus, or the domestic cat: its social, physical and behavioural characteristics, as well as various breeds. This section also profiles some unusual felines, such as the Hemingway cats, a colony of six-toed kitties that roam Ernest Hemmingway’s historic home in Key West, and the inhabitants of Japan’s famous cat islands, who vastly outnumber human residents.

In addition to those interesting tidbits, Laidlaw offers practical information about what to consider when adopting a cat, what makes a good shelter, the pros and cons of kittens versus adult cats, whether to allow your cat outdoors, and the truth about declawing. The author also suggests considering a cat’s colour – black cats tend to be adopted less often (a phenomenon known as Black Cat Syndrome) because of enduring myths that they are evil or bring bad luck.

The highlights of this book are the profiles of the cat champions themselves. Readers may be inspired to take action after learning about kids like Harley Helman of Ohio, who had the idea of collecting blankets for shelters and rescues when she was only eight, or 17-year-old Kieran Zierer-Clyke, who socializes feral kittens in his Toronto home to prepare them for adoption.

Written in a clear unpreachy style and brimming with lovely full-colour photos, this is an ideal volume for any young cat lover who wants to take his or her passion a little further than simply clicking “like” on YouTube videos.”
—Emily Donaldson, a freelance reviewer and editor in Toronto.

Dragon Lode International Books

“Cat lovers around the world will celebrate this well-written nonfiction selection. Animal advocate Rob Laidlaw, weaves interesting facts, photographs, and profiles of the real cat champions. All around the globe, there are children and teens who volunteer and care for abandoned cats. For example, some of the cat champions include the students of Clay High and Dryden High School who built cat shelters to help feral cats during the cold winter months. In six chapters, Laidlaw includes information about various cat breeds, cat adoption, foster parenting, and fundraising efforts. The back matter includes a cat lover’s pledge, additional resources, glossary, and index. This informative book celebrates our feline friends while also raising awareness about kids who make a difference.”
—Mary Napoli, Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, PA

The Dragon Lode is a juried journal published by the International Reading Association Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group. Click here to learn more.

Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“…the best part of the whole book comes when Mr. Laidlaw describes the ‘champions’ in detailed profiles, for the work they do to ensure that cats are safe, well fed and loved…There are ideas galore that can be shared to help improve the lives of the many kittens and cats that are in need of help throughout the world. Just one of them might appeal to you and your family. Check it out!”

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Cynthia Parkhill, Information Professional

“Far from being tragic,…the book offers a powerful message: that young people can make a difference…As a library worker, I want to put this book in the hands of every child who cares deeply about cats. Perhaps another “Cat Champion” will join the effort to make the world a better place for cats.”
—Cynthia Parkhill, Information Professional

“A perfect balance between the sometimes tough ‘real-life’ aspects of animals’ lives, and the enjoyable and positive aspects of their lives, whether they be owned, rescued or feral. ‘Cat Champions: Caring for Our Feline Friends’ promises to be as awesome as [Rob Laidlaw’s] previous books.”