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It's Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney Neville, was written in 1964 and thereafter won the Newberry Medal for children's literature. It is a tale of New York told from the eyes of a fourteen-year-old boy named Dave who adopts a cat, befriends a young man, and finds Mary ... or rather, Cat finds Mary. Dave's father is a lawyer, which is one of the reasons Dave introduces himself by letter to Tom: After unintentionally getting Tom caught by the police for petty burglary (which Tom only did on a dare), Dave guiltily offers Tom his dad's services. Dave has a mother who suffers from asthma and whose conditioned is worsened during loud yelling arguments between father and son. It is one of these arguments that drives Dave out the door of their Manhattan apartment and into the grip of "Aunt Kate" who saves him from an unseen on-rushing car by grabbing his collar and depositing him unceremoniously on the side walk.
At the same moment I heard brakes scream and felt someone yank me back by the scruff of my neck. I got dropped in a heap on the sidewalk.
It is this same Aunt Kate, as Dave dubs her thereafter, who saves and collects stray cats by coaxing them out from hiding and carrying them home with her. It is from Aunt Kate that Dave gets Cat, the tom cat which sired Susan's litter of kittens and which followed Kate home from marketing but which Susan is now at war with while she fiercely guards her litter. Dave takes Cat on a whim of an impulse but, after consideration, is glad to have a cat that will be his story to fill the role of his father's story about his childhood dog called Jeff.
Some interesting, and perhaps famous, quotes from this story include the following:
"Oh—Cat and I, we get around."
My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat.
My family is starting to collect people the way Kate collects homeless cats.
Dear Tom Ransom:
I am the kid you met in the cellar at Number Forty-six Gramercy, and I certainly thank you for unlocking that cage and getting my cat out. Cat is fine. I am sorry you got in trouble with the police. It sounds to me like you were only trying to return the stuff and do right. My father is a lawyer, if you would like one. I guess he’s pretty good. Or if you would like to write me anyway, here is my address: 150 East 22 St. I read in the paper that your family don’t live in New York, which is why I thought you might like someone to write to.
“It must be pretty nice to have your mother at home,” [Tom] says.
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