The True Story of How Two Quirky Stray Cats Changed Their Adopted Human Forever. After years of loving the vibrant city life in San Francisco, Lonnie Hull DuPont reluctantly trades her three-room apartment on foggy, lively Telegraph Hill for a farmhouse on a quiet plain in Michigan. She immediately misses the rhythm and the pace of the city, and the isolation country living brings has her longing for something more. Enter Kit Kat and Lucy--stray cats who arrive at the farmhouse a year apart and each ask to move in. The antics and oddities of these two strong personalities wrapped in fur bring a new light to the farmhouse and DuPont's life. Kit Kat, an obsessive-compulsive tortoiseshell, can purr her new human into a happier state of mind. Lucy, the playful, leaping Russian Blue who can nail a bat right out of the air, makes her laugh. From the hysterical process of getting two strange cats to like each other, to the exciting years of watching those cats thrive--and inspire DuPont in the process--this book is an energetic tale of cat and human foibles. Animals enrich our lives, and the heartwarming story of how Kit Kat and Lucy changed one woman's world will leave readers enchanted.
Author Lonnie Hull Dupont's memoir opens with a rewind back to her days as a poet living in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, California. She tells of her solidly established and still growing reputation as a neighborhood favorite among the San Fran poetry scene. She loved her apartment, her city... life in general was just good, you know? To top it off, she has herself one of those when-you-least-expect-it movie magic moments of bumping into the man who would become her husband, just blocks from her front door! After years of domestic and career bliss, DuPont is surprised to find herself taken in by a comment made by a coworker one day (DuPont also worked as an editor at a publishing house) about how people have lost touch with the land. In the days following this comment being uttered, as well as being further encouraged by the reality that the cost of maintaining a Telegraph Hill address was steadily increasing, DuPont finds herself compelled to leave city life behind and take up residence in a more rural setting. Soon purchased: one 1835 farmhouse in Michigan.
It isn't long before Lonnie and her husband, Joe, move into their new digs that a little furry something comes knocking at their door. Enter Kit Kat (the name coming from the kitschy cat shaped wall clocks that became all the rage in the 1940s-50s), a tortoiseshell stray kitten the couple are compelled to take in, even though Lonnie's husband is highly allergic. The couple initially care for the cat, though they remain unsure if a pet is really what they need right now. They decide one day to take the cat over to Lonnie's sister nearby, who owns a cattle ranch and would have plenty of space for the cat to happily roam around to her heart's content. While they think they've made the best choice, it doesn't take long for the tortoiseshell to arrive at their door once again. They figure if the cat is that intent to live with them, they have to keep her! Lonnie's husband goes on allergy meds but surprisingly quickly finds that his allergy seems to go away on its own.
Just when things are getting settled with Kit Kat, another feline makes its presence known... a little Russian Blue full of life and wiliness, so they decide to name the girl Lucy, after comedic actress Lucille Ball. Lucy shows up one freezing Thanksgiving night. Though Lonnie and Joe are hesitant to have this new kitten around territorial Kit Kat, they know they can't leave the poor thing out in the freezing cold. Luckily an unused upstairs space of their home proves perfect for giving the little one a place for shelter while Lonnie and Joe figure out how to acclimate the two cats to each other.
Through some trial by fire, a solution is eventually found and over time the cats grow to be pretty much inseparable. Through caring for these two felines, DuPont learns to process unresolved emotions of her own she sometimes doesn't even realize she's sitting on --- feelings surrounding topics such as her being given up for adoption and always wondering about her birth mother; adult Lonnie having to watch her adoptive mother battle cancer; the emotional rollercoaster that came with Kit Kat's FIP diagnosis...and then possible misdiagnosis. DuPont also shares her moments of self doubt as a writer, her struggles with anxiety and periods of derealization, and how animals (not just the cats but throughout her entire life) have helped her combat the darkest periods.
Scattered throughout her tales of the adventures of Kit Kat & Lucy, DuPont also shares stories of childhood pets as well as being the brief guardian of a banty hen named Alberta. Taken as a whole, this collection of memories was cute but altogether I didn't find it a flat-out laugh riot or non-stop insanely, wildly interesting. Reading it, I had a definite "guess you had to be there" feeling in my mind. I still enjoyed the stories and the reading experience as a whole but likened said experience to that little life truth of mothers generally finding their kids way more interesting than anyone else will. Dang, that sounds harsh when I say it like that but still, that's the feeling I got from a lot of this. But let me close that little criticism with a high note and say that I got a kick out of some of DuPont's pun-tastic work... such as naming Chapter 13 "My Catalyst". Thumbs up from me there!
What I did particularly appreciate from DuPont's stories of her feline friends was that their combined tale does reiterate the idea that though animals can sometimes seem neurotic, requiring pet parents to get creative with our problem solving, the attention and love our critters give us make every moment of stress so worth it in the end. :-)
While there are some sad scenes near the end of this memoir -- we are covering the span of many, many years here -- DuPont kindly closes on a warm scene, so while you may need a few tissues for a few pages, you can safely save the rest of the box.
FTC DISCLAIMER: Revell Publishing kindly provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.