Kathy Chisholm’s literary debut will be a great read for animal lovers everywhere. Her novel, Urban Tigers: Tales of a Cat Vet, recounts the adventures of Dr. Emily McBride through her first year at the Ocean View Cat Hospital. These episodes, most funny, some sad and a few gross (but really funny) are told in the first person with gentle good humor.
Besides the maladies and treatments of the cats, Dr. McBride also encounters the perpetual conflict: between the compassion she and her employer feel for cats and their sometimes impoverished owners; and the need to run a successful business and make a living. Her observations on the human foibles of her patient-parents are witty without becoming cynical or spiteful. Often, during the course of their cats’ treatment, the owners’ unexpected and better natures are revealed.
Those of you who follow the Internet Cat phenomenon may know Ms. Chisholm as the parent of the famous, Tuxedo Stan and one of the founders of the Tuxedo Party. Tuxedo Stan ran for Mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia on a platform to improve the welfare of homeless, abandoned and suffering cats in Halifax Regional Municipality.
Although he did not become mayor, Tuxedo Stan was the “cat”-alyst for the Halifax Regional Municipality Council vote to grant the Nova Scotia SPCA $40,000 for a new, low-cost spay and neuter clinic, seven months after many of the councilors signed Tuxedo Stan’s Pledge to support this endeavor. Profits from the sale of Urban Tigers go to Tuxedo Stan’s favorite charity – Spay Day HRM.
Although Urban Tigers is fiction, Ms. Chisholm knows whereof she writes. She and her husband, veterinarian Hugh Chisholm, established the Atlantic Cat Hospital, one of the first feline-only practices in Canada. She has created a delightful set of videos on her blog, entitled “The Truth Behind the Tales” where she describes how some real life veterinary experiences were melded in her imagination into episodes in Urban Tigers.
If, like me, you enjoyed Nick Trout’s Tell Me Where It Hurts, and only wished he had more to say about cats, this the book for you! I’m eagerly awaiting Urban Tigers Two, due out in July.
In a sad post-script, as I write, Tuxedo Stan is gravely ill with renal lymphoma. I join his many followers in hoping for a miraculous recovery.