It’s Raining Cats and Cats! by Jeanne Prevost and illustrated by Amelia Hansen is a humorous but all-too-real lesson about why it’s so important to spay and neuter cats (and, of course, dogs).
This book is wonderful on many levels. It’s the story of Jim and his mom and Molly, their cat. In the beginning, Molly has just been spayed and Jim sees the stitches on her belly. The operation is explained on a simple level that children will be able to understand.
When Jim questions his mom about the need for the operation and says, “But it would be fun to have kittens!” his mother takes him on an imaginary journey to a time when Molly didn’t have the operation. Molly has kittens. Then, Molly’s kittens have kittens. Soon those kittens are having kittens and the house is overrun with cats and kittens of every size and color.
Of course, it’s funny seeing the illustrations of cats pouring out of kitchen cabinets and covering the rooftop, but when (in this story-in-a-story) Jim and his mom try to find homes for the cats, the real problem of cat overpopulation is clearly illustrated. There are simply not enough homes for all the cats who need homes. Allergies, dogs, cat hair, money — the reasons not to get a cat can be endless.
Through this storytelling within the story, Jim understands that it was a great decision to have Molly spayed — and why. One hopes that the readers will understand also why spaying and neutering is so important.
The harsh reality is that shelters are overflowing with unwanted cats and dogs. Even kittens grow up in shelters, some doomed to never find a home of their own. If this book educates people (both children and the adults reading this to them) about that grim reality, then it’s done its job.
This book is a great classroom tool for teaching about responsibility, compassion, and helping others. An extension would be to figure out how many kittens could result from one pregnant cat (using the fact that cats can have two litters a year) year after year. The numbers will be astounding to both the students and the teacher.
The last page of the book is a reference page with factual information about spaying and neutering and the overpopulation problem in this country. This is a great gift for any classroom teacher, cat lover or family thinking about getting a cat.
This review was based on a hardcover review copy of the book provided by the publisher.