Photography, literature, pop culture and creature comforts
by Kathy Blumenstock

On The Purrfect Career Path

When we think of our cats’ lives, we don’t often imagine them busily working; we delight in their languid days spent napping in a sunbeam or playing with a catnip mouse. Yet a lot of cats are putting in real workdays, giving a paw to humans or other animals. Their careers, from library companions to stablemates to acrobatic performers, are chronicled in a wonderful new book “Cats on the Job: 50 Fabulous Felines Who Purr, Mouse and Even Sing for Their Supper,” by Lisa Rogak. Rogak is a New York Times best-selling author known for her books on dogs and other animals, as well as comic Jon Stewart. But this time, she’s turned her keen eye on the feline workforce.
The book, published by St. Martin’s Press and hitting store shelves Oct. 6, is a delight to dip into and savor, one tale at a time. But you’ll be tempted to devour it all at once, because each cat spotlighted leads to another, and another and another. Some are cats you’ve probably heard of—such as Grumpy Cat, the famed celeb feline, and Stubbs, the longtime mayor of a town in Alaska—and some will be new friends, like Mago the news anchor cat, and Nyalan and Deshi, who serve as tour guides. Popeye, an elderly one-eyed tabby, was a beloved surgical assistant, offering comfort to animals recovering from operations, and Mr. Wu polices a pub in New Orleans.
Each cat’s story is accompanied by lovely photographs showing the cats in their element, whether that’s a hospice or train station or a busy stage at the theater. Their expressive faces and air of importance tell it all: they’ve got a real purpose and are happy to be doing what they enjoy, from assisting in a music studio to testing cat furniture.  “Why can’t my cat get a gig like that?” you’ll wonder.  For cats, of course, there is no HR department scanning their resumes and setting up interviews. Feline careers tend to be a matter of circumstance, as Fate puts a purring presence where it’s welcome, and needed.
“Cats on the Job” will bring you, and your cat, many smiles (your cat will smile with smugness because he or she will think, “I don’t have to go out and guard a shipment of new toys, and I STILL get all the treats!”).  It’s a must for your holiday gift-giving list, assuming you’re giving to cat-minded friends and family.Want to score a free copy for yourself? Leave a comment on this blog by Sept. 29 and a random number generator will choose a winner, who will be entertained and inspired by the hardworking felines among us.
Book cover: St. Martin's Press


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