Having spent more than thirteen years as a San Francisco firefighter, Caroline Paul is known for her love of adventure. After her beloved cat went missing, Caroline soon learned that her feline companion had an adventurous side as well. Her newest novel, Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology, recounts her quest to discover who her mysterious kitty, Tibia, really was. The novel is set to be released on April 9, 2013.
Here’s our interview with author Caroline Paul:
Have you always been a cat lover?
My very first pet was a Persian cat named Venus. I was five years old. Quickly our household took on dogs, horses, chickens, and more cats. We even had to cows for a while. I love all animals, but Venus was the first to open my heart.
Your cat Tibia was gone for weeks, that’s a long time for a worried pet owner! Did you always have hope he would come back home?
Tibia was gone for five and a half weeks, which is a very long time. Part of me lost hope – the rational part – but the crazy cat-loving part never did. During our search for him we heard so many stories of cats who returned after months or even years.
I advise people to call for their lost cat at night when things are quiet – cats do respond to their names and the sound of your voice. Lost Cats – unlike dogs, who tend to bolt – are often hiding nearby. Also, get your cats’ microchipped. It would not have helped in our situation, but there are many stories of successful reunions because the microchip held the owners address.
Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
My assessment of Tibia was that he was shy and anxious, comfortable only when he was near home, happy only when he was with me. How wrong I was. It turned out he was a swashbuckling adventurer with a secret life!
You think your cat just sleeps? I thought so too, but that’s not what the GPS told us. The message of the book is that we humans really don’t know our beloved pets, as much as we are certain we do. In fact, we can never know anyone, human or animal, as much as we hope. This book is about my attempts – often ridiculous – to understand my relationship with Tibia and my denial when it came to aspects I didn’t want to accept. I learn that relationships, even ones with our cats, can’t be controlled; they’re full of chaos and uncertainty. That’s probably good, or we’d never learn to grow in our lives.
What made you decide to include illustrations in the book?
This is Wendy’s memoir too, as she lived the adventure with me, and she’s an illustrator, so what better way to make the book from both of us. The illustrations perfectly mirror the tone of the book – lighthearted, but also poignant.
Reviews so far have described your book as “hilarious and moving”, as well as “funny, nutty and heartwarming.” How would those around you describe your sense of humor?
What sense of humor? We cat people take our love of cats very seriously.
You can purchase your own copy of the book here: http://www.lostcatbook.com/, available April 9th, 2013. Enjoy!