I will admit to being hesitant to read books about pets because often they end sadly. When Britt approached me about reviewing her new book Strays, I asked if the book had a happy ending before I consented.
Without giving away too much story content, she assured me the book ended happily. After reading that, I agreed to the review and am very glad I did!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review, but that did not impact my review in any way. Thoughts contained in this post are all my own.
The Strays Story
Strays is the true story of one lost cat and how she profoundly impacts the lives of two men that deeply love her. The book begins with the stray cat being found by Michael King, a homeless man living on the streets of Portland, Oregon.
After a difficult childhood and the loss of a loved one as an adult, Michael struggles with depression and decides to take to the road.
When Michael finds the lost cat on a cold and rainy night, he takes her in. Being a drifter, he is hesitant at first to keep her, but the cat charms him and they become a team. They form a deep bond, and Michael’s primary focus becomes taking care of his new friend.
Micheal soon discovers the cat that he’s named Tabor (after the cafe where she was found) is a kindred spirit, she’s a drifter at heart. The story tells of their travels from Oregon to Montana, then on to California.
On their journey, Tabor charms everyone she meets. They encounter severe weather conditions and natural predators along the way, but continue the journey.
After Michael has a premonition that he is going to lose Tabor, he takes her to vet to be examined. Her health is fine and they discover she has a microchip. Michael makes the difficult decision to return Tabor to her home.
Her Life Before
As it turns out, Tabor had a good life before getting lost. Tabor (originally named Mata Hairi) had a home in Portland. She and her brother, Creto, lived happily with Ron Buss, a guitar store owner.
Buss spoiled them, cooking for them, throwing parties on their birthdays. When he discovers Mata is missing, he immediately begins searching for her. As time goes by with no word, Ron becomes very depressed. He continues his search for Mata, and eventually they are reunited.
It is obvious Britt Collins is an animal lover. In the way she describes the bond between Tabor and Michael, it’s easy to see she is aware of the magic of cats and what they add to our lives.
I was very happy to see her author’s note at the end of the book encouraging us to adopt, don’t shop. Collins includes some disturbing statistics about homeless pets, no sugar coating, but rather telling it like it unfortunately is.
If you are a cat lover, or an animal lover in general, you will love this book. The “star” of the book, Tabor/Mata, is an enchantress that you will adore, guaranteed.
Here is a video about Strays, featuring the real life characters from the book, Michael, Ron and the magical Mata/Tabor.