Louisa May Alcott loved cats and so do I – Helping out cats, kittens and people with a special book

cover croppedSince Louisa May Alcott loved cats (and I love Louisa), I wanted to share with you a book I recently self-published known as The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One on sale now for $19.95 to raise funds for an extraordinary no-kill cat shelter known as Purrfect Pals. Before encountering Purrfect Pals I would have thought that supporting a cat shelter was a frivolous thing; shouldn’t my efforts go towards helping humans instead?

It turns out Purrfect Pals does help humans, and here’s how.

Two years ago I “met” John Bartlett online. He is a volunteer for Purrfect Pals having fostered 43 litters of kittens. Nearly 200 kittens and mother cats have found permanent homes as a result of his efforts.

A friend alerted me to the live kitten cam John had on Livestream and after my first visit, I was hooked. Over the span of several weeks I could watch newborn babies grow to healthy and beautiful kittens ready to take on the world.

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It was fun watching them grow from squirmy little sausages with pencil point tales to the fur balls of fun. Imagine watching little kittens working their tiny paws back and forth in rapid succession as they nursed from their mother … envision little spitfires “zooming” around the room, leaping, tumbling and snuggling … I couldn’t stop watching.

Offering joy and comfort

I enjoy watching the kitten cam for a good laugh or just to get away for a spell from all the bad news in the world. At first the draw was the kittens but soon it became the community—thousands of people from around the world tuning in to watch kittens, chat together, share their life stories and offer comfort to other members who needed it. Along with the comical remarks about the kittens (kitten lovers have a great sense of humor) were stories of chronic illness, unemployment and other matters that isolate people from their world. Some community members are homebound and the live kitten cam community became a lifeline for them, filling their days with smiles and love.

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Why The Critter Room Memory Book?

Tears are shed on adoption day as the kittens go off to their new homes. We’re all thrilled and yet we miss them. That’s when I came up with the idea of The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One, a scrapbook full of pictures of kittens along with fan fiction, art and commentary on how the Critter Room community is a microcosm for how the world could work when we could but adopt a common cause.

Prison outreach

prison-programFoster Dad John helps kittens find homes and his cam gives joy to people in need. But there’s more. Purrfect Pals has a prison outreach program called Prison-Foster where inmates are given semi-feral kittens to socialize and to love so that they can then be adopted. That’s when I knew I wanted to support this wonderful organization.

I would hope Louisa would be pleased.

In support of Purrfect Pals

If you would like to support Purrfect Pals in their work, you can purchase The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One, and all royalties go to Purrfect Pals. For every $19.95 you spend, Purrfect Pals makes $10.35. Makes a great gift!

How to double your donation

critter room memory book box art2Another great way to help is to “double” your donation by purchasing books for Purrfect Pals to sell during their adoption events. Their address is 230 McRae Rd NE, Arlington, WA 98223 in care of Executive Director Connie Gabelein.

You can find out more about Foster Dad John and The Critter Room by visiting the Facebook page.

Thanks for your support!

Louisa’s poem in tribute to her cat

A Lament For S. B. Pat Paw

We mourn the loss of our little pet,
And sigh o’er her hapless fate,
For never more by the fire she’ll sit,
Nor play by the old green gate.

The little grave where her infant sleeps
Is ‘neath the chestnut tree.
But o’er her grave we may not weep,
We know not where it may be.

Her empty bed, her idle ball,
Will never see her more;
No gentle tap, no loving purr
Is heard at the parlor door.

Another cat comes after her mice,
A cat with a dirty face,
But she does not hunt as our darling did,
Nor play with her airy grace.

Her stealthy paws tread the very hall
Where Snowball used to play,
But she only spits at the dogs our pet
So gallantly drove away.

She is useful and mild, and does her best,
But she is not fair to see,
And we cannot give her your place dear,
Nor worship her as we worship thee.

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11 Replies to “Louisa May Alcott loved cats and so do I – Helping out cats, kittens and people with a special book”

    1. Thank you! One of the many lessons I learned from following this kitten cam. One really important lesson I learned is that communities like The Critter Room contain good people who do their good works quietly. And that there are pockets of such good people all over the world, I believe greatly outnumbering the people who wish to do us harm. Paying attention too much to the media which mainly features the bad skews our thinking leading to fatalism and I wrote a piece about that: . Remembering that there are many pockets of good people keeps my hope alive for this world.

  1. A little addendum: I showed my dear friend Jackie The Critter Room Memory Book. I have often shared with her about the kitten cam and she loved all the pictures, slowly turning each page.

    Jackie is elderly and suffers from severe vertigo which makes reading (among other things) difficult. I had wanted to buy a cat picture book for her for a long time and then I realized I made one!

    Jackie loved the book so much that she gave me a donation for Purrfect Pals! I am going to use it to buy a couple of books to send to PP for them to make available for sale on adoption day for the Fabulous Fosters.

    Someone else who bought the book thought it would make wonderful bedtime reading for children. I couldn’t agree more.

    Show your book to your cat loving friends and tell them all about The Critter Room. It’s a great story that transcends that little community. And then send them a book as a gift.

  2. Congratulations! This looks like a great project. I never really thought about the cats in Little Women, but of course — so much is there, and we all tune in to different things, which is part of its magic. And I do think LMA would approve, particularly of that prison project. That is very moving.

    1. Thank you! It was a joy to put together as I worked with about a dozen members of the community who contributed all the photos, fan art and fan fiction. The prison project really got me too.

  3. While not passionate about LMA, I am interested in finding out the source of her cat fancy as I could not find it in the recent biography I read about her. I’d appreciate any original sources that actually verify she loved cats as I can only find what’s repeated on the Internet.

    1. In her early journals, Louisa mentioned “an inordinate love of cats” as one of her sins. 🙂 She wrote a poem which appears in Little Women called “A Lament For S. B. Pat Paw” which you can find here: http://www.poetrycat.com/louisa-may-alcott/a-lament-for-s-b-pat-paw. And of course we see references throughout Little Women of Beth’s love of kittens and how she had several. I know there are other poems out there that Louisa wrote about cats but can’t find any after a quick search. I would also recommend reading one of Louisa’s short stories called Nelly’s Hospital which you can find here http://www.online-literature.com/alcott/2723/ about a girl who starts an animal hospital.

      1. Thanks! I’ll look these up and keep researching her cat connection. Having owned a black cat of distinction (who died in my arms) I enjoyed reading her essay about black cats.

      2. I got caught up in a talking guinea pig channel one time–oh my, too funny. I’d be lost if found myself watching kittens. Especially when they play with paper bags

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