Uncle John#039;s Bathroom Reader Cat Lover#039;s Companion

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A book purr-fect for cat lovers

Review by Angie Long

The Bathroom Readers' Institute has done it once again. For years, this group of dedicated trivia lovers has been bringing out fat paperback volumes packed with all manner of statistics, lists, jokes, riddles, &#8220how it all started” stories and more to entertain readers (and not just those who read in the &#8220john”).

Along with its &#8220Curious Compelling Bathroom Reader,” released this fall, this slimmer (226-page) hardbound volume is fresh off the presses in time for holiday gift giving 2006.

And as one would expect from the title, the latest BRI production is for those of us fascinated by all things feline:

n Tick-tock, tick-tock. Remember those grinning cat clocks with the wagging tails and roving eyes?

The Kit-Cat Clock was born in the Great Depression and is still around more than 70 years later. From mechanical works to electric motors to feline power provided by batteries, the clock's average life span is 25 years, and unbelievably, it's still made in the good ol' USA. Get all the details in the article &#8220The Clock's Meow.”

n Do you love &#8220Cats”? As in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Broadway version, that is. Get the scoop by the numbers: 11 Tony nominations in 1983;200-plus actors who performed as the cats throughout the years; 18 years on Broadway; one million pounds of dry ice used for smoke; 3,000 pounds of yak hair and 25,000 makeup brushes used over the years for wigs and makeup during its Broadway run. And there's more, when you read the book.

n In &#8220KoKo Kares for Kitten,” we read the amazing true-life story of a gorilla trained in sign language, Koko, who forms a deep attachment to a tiny, tailless abandoned kitten. The little cat is treated like her own as she carefully, lovingly held and cuddled him in her massive arms. This story will cause you to re-think ideas of what it is to be human and to be animal.

n Ever wondered how certain phrases entered our language? &#8220Get Those Cats Out of the Bag” details how some of those cat-related expressions came to us.

Turns out &#8220there's more than one way to skin a cat” has no connection to cats at all; the complete phrase is, &#8220There's more than one way to skin a catfish,” from fisherman trying to remove a catfish's tough skin from its delicate meat. It took trial and error to find the best way to skin a catfish while keeping the fillets intact. Discover several other origins in &#8220Cat Lover's Companion.”

n Stories of &#8220Famous Cat Lovers” range from Edgar Allan Poe and his black-and-orange Catarina (who could unlock doors) to Winston Churchill's favorites, Nelson and Jock, to Teddy Roosevelt's beloved gray cat Slippers.

Roosevelt once found Slippers napping in a White House hallway, blocking a procession of diplomats returning from a state dinner. The president simply made everyone tip-toe around the sleeping cat.

There's much more packed into these charmingly illustrated pages, including the 30 most popular male and female cat names; 10 things you probably didn't know about your cat's whiskers; Hollywood cats; Cats in song; cat stats by the numbers, and &#8220You Know You are a Cat Lover WhenŠ” (example: You try to match your clothing to your cat's fur).

The book retails at $12.95 but can be purchased at a discount from amazon.com.

Check with major bookstores, too. &#8220Cat Lover's Companion” would make a &#8220purr-fect” stocking stuffer or present under the tree for your feline-loving parent, spouse, child, grandchild or best buddy. It would make a delightful addition to a cat-themed gift basket!

Visit www.bathroomreader.com for more information.