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The Cat Who Covered the World: The…

The Cat Who Covered the World: The Adventures Of Henrietta And Her Foreign…

by Christopher S. Wren

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A kitty, travel, do I need more?

Think not.
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
A kitty, travel, do I need more?

Think not.
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
A fun light read, perhaps a bit too light but sorely needed after much heavy reading. It wasn't quite as charming as The Cat Who Came in from the Cold but way better than Dewey. I finished it up in one night and now back to The Nation (man, it piles up!
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
This book is just darling. Christopher S. Wren was no slouch. His career as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times spanned years, including his being based at different times in Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, Ottawa, and Johannesburg.

So what is a journalist of such merit doing writing a book about a cat?! Here's the answer in Wren's own words:

"Henrietta's life overseas triggered more mail to me from (New York) Times readers than the most momentous political events I have covered in eighteen years as a foreign correspondent, including Anwar Sadat's visit to Israel and Nelson Mandela's release from prison in South Africa."

Henrietta was the family cat who traveled the world literally with each of Wren's base changes. It was hard to believe the adventures of this feline who had a most unusual, and sometimes challenging, life. She was not confined to her home at most of her residences so she got to meet with the local color. Her most terrifying moments had to do with airline travel and becoming lost in the streets of Cairo. Fortunately, she survived her misadventures. She was a very proud cat, quite cynical of the world of politics, and devoted to her family. For a special treat, read her delightful story. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Jan 16, 2014 |
Wren was an editor at Newsweek when a co-worker trying to find homes for kittens offers a bottle of Scotch with each kitten. Looking for an appropriate Christmas gift for his young children, the kitten sounded good, especially accompanied by a bottle of Scotch. And so Henrietta, a tiny ball of grey Siamese fluff went to live with the Wren family. But instead of staying in the relatively stationary job of editor, Wren jumped at the chance to get back in the writing trenches and become a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. This led to posts in far-flung places around the world and to questions about what to do with the family pet on these postings.

Wren, who claims to not be much of a cat person, was against taking Henrietta on their travels but his wife and children overruled him and so Henrietta became a globe trotting cat, living in Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, Ottawa, and Johannesburg and visiting numerous other places. This book is the tale of some of Henrietta's exploits in these foreign places. She smoothed the Wren family's arrival in many places, inspiring customs agents to expedite processes that could have stranded folks unaccompanied by a pet for hours or days. She charmed important political players and enjoyed more freedoms in certain closed societies than her human family did.

The book was simple and generally sweet but very superficial. Wren mentions some of the major political upheavals that he must have covered only in passing, ostensibly because this is Henrietta's story, but a general accounting of a cat's usual day contains a bit less excitement than I was perhaps expecting given the world traveling nature of the author. I understand that Henrietta was a special cat and I dearly love my own dog beyond reasonableness but I'm not certain that there's really a book to be written there, and not just because she's never lived overseas. Wren does intersperse his tales of Henrietta's strolls about Moscow, her being lost for months in Cairo, catching rats in many of their posting, and other such adventures with short bits about other reporters who have cats. Maybe it's that I'm really not a cat person or that I never met Henrietta (since apparently everyone who met her was captivated by her) but I found the book to be a bit lacking in feeling. It was definitely a smooth read but nothing memorable really stuck with me. Good (or great) for cat lovers, it might be lacking depth for anyone else not captivated by cats. ( )
1 vote whitreidtan | Jun 28, 2009 |
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The cat arrived with a bottle of Scotch.
Henrietta's life overseas triggered more mail to me from (New York) Times readers than the most momentous political events I have covered in eighteen years as a foreign correspondent, including Anwar Sadat's visit to Israel and Nelson Mandela's release from prison in South Africa.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684871009, Hardcover)

There are plenty of entertaining stories written about the public mishaps and accomplishments of dogs; they are social animals and can play highly public roles in everything from television sitcoms to real-life emergency situations. The cat, as feline admirers will not hesitate to agree, is more select in its level of tolerance for lowly humans, and thus few true stories are told that revolve around cats in public life. And then there's Henrietta.

Christopher Wren belonged to Henrietta the cat, and Christopher Wren travels far and wide in his work as a foreign news correspondent. Of course Henrietta insisted on being brought along to Moscow, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, and all the other cities the Wrens visited. And of course Henrietta got into all sorts of scrapes--cats can cause enough trouble right in their own living rooms! The Cat Who Covered the World is a tremendously entertaining memoir and travelogue, covering 17 years in the life of a busy cat and her accommodating family. Wherever she went, she charmed, and tales of flight attendants bestowing free portions of salmon mousse and Italian taxi drivers blowing kisses into her cage while ignoring the traffic are intertwined with more typical cat stories of sudden escapes into fields, food stealing, and incessant yowling at inappropriate times. For this book, Wren sets aside his investigations and simply enjoys, culling quotes about cats from Mark Twain, Christopher Smart, Deng Xiaoping, and Herodotus for a bit of added depth. His conclusion about the cat/journalist relationship will have all feline fanciers smiling in agreement: "I have met enough celebrity journalists whose smug self-importance might have been ameliorated or corrected altogether by the ownership of a couple of cats." --Jill Lightner

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:38 -0400)

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