Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Review: "Good Cat! Practical Answers to Behavior Questions by Certified Animal Behavior Consultant and Tribune Media Services National Pet Columnist, Steve Dale

After having been owned by cats for well over 20 years, and having read at least double that number of cat advice/handbooks, when presented with yet another I find myself  reading them with the pre-conceived mindset of "what can they tell me that I haven't already heard?"

I admit when I was first given the opportunity of reviewing Good Cat by Steve Dale that was my overwhelming feeling.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

When I think of Steve Dale the first thing that comes to mind is knowledge of dogs. I had the pleasure of reviewing his sister book Good Dog a few weeks back.  I did not know, until I read Good Cat that Steve has a deep passion for cats, in fact he shared his life for years with a piano playing  cat, to think I thought that Nora was first, named Ricky. Sadly, Ricky passed in 2002 after having been diagnosed a few years earlier with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) which sadly also took the life of my beloved Bobo.

Steve and "Ricky"
Photo Courtesy of Steve Dale

Shortly after Ricky's death Steve started the Ricky Fund with the Winn Feline Foundation. (See description listed under Additional Resources further into this  post)

What initially grabbed my attention in Good Cat was Steve's acknowledgment of that in many people's minds cats are "second-class citizens."

He jokingly states that: "Cats are the Rodney Dangerfield of pets; they get no respect."

 Steve also mentions how there are more pet cats than dogs, but cats are taken to the vet less than half as often as dogs. (Often dog owners also don't visit the vet often enough and imagine that cat owners take their cats to the vet even less! This must change!)

He also mentions how "cats are more often given up to animal shelters than dogs. They are sometimes so disposable that people just open their door and give them the boot. Cats are also less often adopted from shelters than dogs, which means more are euthanized."

In Good Cat the information that Steve covers is invaluable to everyone from a veteran cat owner like myself, to the individual acquiring their first cat hopefully through adoption.

You will find topics such as:

Training Your Kitten: Patience Makes Perfect

Adoption Is A Wonderful Option

The Litter Box

Cats and Dogs: Are They Mortal Enemies?

Good Cat also offers:
Answers to more than
130 questions covering:
  • Cat training
  • Feline fears
  • Cat-to-cat aggression
  • Cat-to-people aggression
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Play
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • and more!

Within each chapter are common cat questions that are posed and Steve gives informative and often humorous answers. For those questions that he feels should be responded to in more depth  he refers the individual to the appropriate professional.

One of my favorite parts of Good Cat is the treasure trove of resources that are listed in the back under Additional Resources. There you will find everything from a list of books Steve  mentions in some of his responses to the questions asked in  Good Cat, as well as one of the most comprehensive lists of websites,  not just cat lovers, but for pet lovers as a whole.

Examples of these include:

Alley Cat Allies-A superb resource for Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) information.

CATalyst Council- which seeks to increase veterinary visits and pet adoptions of cats

Pet World Radio-The site for Steve Dale's national radio show.

Ricky Fund (Winn Feline Foundation): Steve Dale established this fund following the death of his Devon Rex Ricky to feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common cause of death in cats and the awful disease that took my beloved Bobo from me. The fund supports studies for the treatment and prevention of the disease.

Steve Dale's Pet World: The website includes archives of newspaper columns, blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc.

Steve Dale's Pet World Blog (Chicago Now)

Steve Dale's YouTube Page

 Your Cat's Heart which offers the latest information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in cats.

In Good Cat Steve Dale's hope "is that people read and learn and sometimes are entertained by these questions and answers. If one cat is saved from a shelter as a result of the advice offered in these pages. I've done my job."

Educating cat owners, saving cats from shelters, helping cats to achieve the status that they rightfully deserve...isn't that what it is all about?

In Good Cat, Steve Dale gives us the information, advice and resources that we need, it is not just another "cat handbook".  Good Cat should be required reading for anyone who shares their heart and their home with their feline friends.


From Facebook:
“Steve Dale is a syndicated columnist; TV, radio and podcast host; pet advocate and certified animal behavior consultant. Pet owners across the United States seek out his expert advice and commentary on everything from controversial pet legislation to calming an anxious calico.
Dale writes two weekly syndicated columns forTribune Media Services (TMS). He’s also a contributing editor at USA Weekend, a columnist for Cat Fancy and, and a ChicagoNow blogger. Recently, Dale published his first series of eBooks, including “Good Dog! Practical Answers to Behavior Questions” and “Good Cat! Practical Answers to Behavior Questions,” for the ePublishing division of TMS.
Dale also hosts two nationally syndicated radio shows,“Steve Dale’s Pet World” and “The Pet Minute,”together these shows air on more than 100 radio stations, and a weekly WGN radio podcast. He’s appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show;” “National Geographic Explorer;” “Pets: Part of the Family,” and several Animal Planet television programs.”

ISBN 978-1-930645-01-1
Buy the eBook now for $2.99
Available on:

I was not compensated for this review. I was sent a copy of Good Cat! Practial Answers to Behavior Questions by Steve Dale to read and review. 


  1. This is an awesome ebook - I reviewed it on my blog too and it had a wealth of information. I would love to see it in paper format too.

  2. Sounds like a great practical sensible book about how to look after kitties! Hoorah! Take care

  3. @Sparkle it is a great book, however it is ONLY available as an ebook! :)

    @Old Kitty, it is!

  4. It's interesting that while those of us who have lived with cats all or most of our lives THINK we know it all - we really don't - there's always something we can learn from another person's experience. Sounds like this is full of good info! Thanks for another thorough and interesting review!!

    Pam (and Sam)

  5. I have this downloaded. Yet to read. Thanks for the impetus for reading it, Caren x

  6. Great review! I think I must have this one!

  7. Great review Caren, I am going to get it for my Kindle. I have never heard of the heart condition, thankfully! But I have lost 2 cats to thyroid conditions, also common in cats. It is so important that people take their kitties to the vet, just like they tak their kids to the Dr.! Thanks for the great info., hope you have a great week!

  8. @Pam and Sam you couldn't be more correct! Thank you!

    @coupon queen thank you so much! Yes, sadly my Bobo had that same condition. I am so sorry about your two babies and their thyroid condition. So sad :(
    You have a graet week too!

    @Brian thank you!! I guarantee you will find it to be quite informative and helpful!

    @Carolyn you are most welcome and thank YOU for your kind words!

  9. That does sound like a good book.We will have to look into it.Have a great week.

  10. Dear Caren and Cody,
    What a great review! I am going to have to download it! I am always up for good cat books.
    Nellie's Mommy
    PS, Nellie is despondent that Cody does not want to go out with her. She and Spitty have an "understanding" and they see other cats. Nellie says she will never have another man cat in her life like Licorice.
    Oh yes, Allred (her other guy pal) is upset with her too.
    She is refusing to get out of bed.

  11. Caren, great review. When I interviewed Steve about the book he joked cat people think he's a dog person and dog people think he's a cat person!

  12. @Layla WELCOME HOME!! Thank you!! Too funny because that is exactly what I thought!

    @Nellie's Mommy...ok if she has an agreement then that is fine!! I agreed to go out with Nellie back on Valentine's Day! I will most certainly go out with her...after all, she is a Housecat Star and I am a Crew Member (with Spitty lol)....I will most certainly go out with Nellie!

    Love, Cody

    @Marg thank you! You have a great week too!

  13. Great review, Caren! I will download (or is it upload?) to my iPad.
    I guess I'm one of the crazy pet Mom's, I take my babes to the Vet at the first sign of anything! Thus my broken bank account!!

  14. Shawn I am EXACTLY the same!

    Thank you for your kind words!

  15. Hey what fun! Sounds like Katz Tales :-)

  16. Cody, You must not let Nellie down! I cannot bear to see her despondent. Of course, *I* am a King and all, so it is hard for other ManCats to compete, but Nellie is a free agent here and obviously wishes to play the field. So you have the King's purrmission, MOL! Make sure you have her home before midnight, though.

  17. Looks like a great book...thanks for sharing

  18. We love our cats in this house and we want to do the very best for them and all others animals!!! Today I am cooking for the coons!!!
    lol We will get that book for sure and thank you for telling us about it!!!
    I LOVE all Animals!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. @Spitty-Aye, Aye Captain!
    I told Nellie I would go out with her!
    Love ya pal!

    @animal lover, so glad you are going to get this book! You will love it!

    @Hilary thank you it is!

    @Au and Target...I need to read yours!

  20. Mine mommy already readed this book. Is furry gud.
    Me loves the way you does your book reports!
    Love, TK

  21. I would love to read it but I don't have an ereader...I always read books of this type.

  22. This looks like such a great book, Caren. We will have to check it out for sure! :) Hugs to you, Cody and Dakota!

  23. This book belongs in every cat guardian's library. I hope the publisher decides to make this available as a real book eventually.

  24. @Ingrid I couldn't agree more!

    @meowmeowmans so glad to hear that! ((((hugs)))) back at ya!

    @Katie hopefully as Ingrid said they will make this available as a "real" book!

    @TK and Squashies I am so glad that you have checked this out already! THANK YOU for your kind words! That means A LOT and it is much appreciated!

  25. looks like an EXCELLENT read!