Did you know there are 85 million cats living in homes in the U.S.? It is estimated that there are tens of millions of community cats as well.  In this edition of the Kindness Connection, we celebrate cats!  Whether or not you are a cat person, check out the fun books and resources to learn more about our feline friends.

“Negative Cat” was written and cleverly illustrated by award winning author Sophie Blackall. It is a heartwarming story of a boy who wants a cat so badly that he even promises his parents that he will practice reading every day, something he does not like to do. They adopt “Pookie” from a shelter and the boy promptly decides his true name is “Maximilian Augustus Xavier” aka Max. Due to the Max’s odd behavior, staring at a wall, and unwanted behavior, not using his litter box, the parents want to return him to the shelter, but the boy loves Max. When the shelter worker comes to their house, in desperation the boy starts reading aloud and Max loves it! The shelter worker loves it too and soon the boy’s entire classroom is reading to cats at the shelter. This is a great story to teach kindness to animals, especially when they are different, and encourages volunteering at an early age. It is also a perfect book for animal loving kids who find reading a challenge.

“Kamie Cat’s Terrible Night” begins with Kamie, lured by the smell of fish, jumping out a window where the screen has not been replaced.  Kamie quickly learns about the dangers of being outside and finds she is lost.  As she looks into different homes looking for her own, she sees how other cats live and appreciates all the things Mr. Wong does to provide her a good home.  However, there is one thing he has failed to do, she has no collar and tag and no microchip.  Fortunately, Kamie is rescued by a kind woman who takes her to the shelter where she is reunited with Mr. Wong.  This book is written and lovingly illustrated by Sheila Hamanaka for the Animal Welfare Institute and teaches kindness and how to provide a cat a safe and loving home.

“No Fuzzball!” was written and illustrated by Isabella Kung. It is the story of a cute little black cat who has the perfect life with a loving family, until they go on vacation, leaving the cat at home by herself. The story is told in a very funny way from Fuzzball’s point of view. It can be used as a good starting point for a conversation about “kitten proofing” our homes and what to do with our pets when we go on vacation.  As we learn from Fuzzball’s “renovations” to her “queendom,” it is not a good idea to leave cats alone for an extended time, they too need someone to spend time with them, make sure they have fresh food and water, and to keep their litter box clean.

Check out these useful cat resources as well:

Alley Cat Allies has a treasure trove of information regarding cats and community cats.  Looking for a fun project over the winter break?  Build a house for a community cat to provide shelter and warmth.

Not only do cats like to be read to, as we learned from “Negative Cat,” they also like music.  Check out  David Teie’s music composed for cats. The albums are also available on iTunes.

Pasadena Humane Society has a list of ten things you should never do to your cat.

Wondering how cats became domesticated?  “The Lion in the Living Room” by Abigail Tucker is an insightful book as to how cats came into our lives and hearts.

While some cats may seem aloof, some psychotic, and some the perfect companion, all cats should be treated with kindness and compassion.