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My Cat Spit McGee


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Morris named his cat Spit McGee after a mischievous, resourceful boy in one of the children's books he wrote. All white with one blue eye and one golden eye, Spit disproves the erroneous belief that a cat with two different-colored eyes is born deaf: his keen ears "could pick up dinner conversations in Memphis two hundred miles away." A quirky iconoclast, Spit will win the hearts of both cat lovers and those who are cat-neutral, in this enjoyable sequel to My Dog Skip, an account of the fox terrier of the author's boyhood that was made into a movie. Even cat haters may come around after meeting this playful, cranky and clever individualist who often sleeps on his back with all four legs sticking straight up. Morris, a novelist and former creative director of Harper's magazine, whose books include Faulkner's Mississippi and The Ghosts of Medgar Evers, once despised cats and almost broke off an engagement after his fianc‚e announced that she intended to get a kitten. With self-deprecating humor and Southern charm, he charts his metamorphosis from ailurophobe to "valet, butler, and menial" of Spit, now eight years old, and a menagerie that at one time expanded to nine cats, but now totals three. As Spit and the author take automobile jaunts around Mississippi and converse together, Morris doesn't ask the reader to dote on his cat as much as he and his wife do; instead, he uses his intense relationship to probe the universals of cat psychology and behavior. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"Funny and endearing." --The Washington Post Book World

"[Willie Morris is] one of the most beloved writers of the modern South." --The New York Times "Remarkably engaging. . . . Morris poignantly captures the deep, elusive kinship between man and kitty." --Entertainment Weekly "In this lovely sequel to My Dog Skip, Morris shows that old dogs can learn new tricks." --Southern Living

The New York Times obituary for Morris, who died August 2, stated that he was survived by his wife and son but failed to mention Spit McGee, the author's beloved white cat. After reading this slim, sentimental memoir (made poignant by Morris's death), one wonders what is going to happen to Spit now that his master is gone. As he recounted in his best-selling My Dog Skip, Morris had always been a dog man; in his hometown of Yazoo, MS, he and his boyhood friends considered cats to be "dumb, vain and coldhearted, not to mention remote, calculating, and sinister." What changed his mind was the Cat Woman, Morris's second wife and a true ailurophile, and a little white kitten with one blue and one gold eye. Saving Spit's life at his birth, Morris became a fascinated cat watcher but not always a responsible owner; he often neglected to have his pets neutered. Believing that Spit was the reincarnation of Skip, Morris tried to teach him a few tricks but soon learned that "cats ain't dogs" and that Spit McGee was Spit McGee. Despite the flowery, overwrought prose, cat lovers and even dog owners who think they hate cats will enjoy this. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/99.]ÄWilda Williams, "Library Journal" Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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