There is no doubt about it, cats are strange creatures, very independent souls, each one has their own very unique personality. Jeffra Nicholson makes reference to this trait explaining that in her opinion they are not quite the domesticated pet that we think they are, there is a streak of their wild past still much in their psyche. I remember a cat from my childhood, we inherited it when my parents took over a large country inn, in rural England. The cat had no name that we knew of, it treated people with deference, rarely letting anyone but my father anywhere close to it without leaving the offered hand a bleeding mess. Cat’s favorite target was the Butcher’s delivery boy, cat would stalk the poor guy! Cat’s second favorite victim was our Black Lab, you would hear the howls, and just know that once again the claws had found some delicate soft tissue to explore.

Jefrra Nicholson’s felines are not quite in the same league as Cat, but they certainly have personalities.

The Tao Of Mia And Leo is an interesting book, in fact it is really two books under a single cover. The first half is really the authors biography in relation to a cat that she owned for 21 years. Ms. Samantha was a seal point Siamese, these incidentally are very beautiful and regal animals. You are in the presence of royalty when one enters the room. Jeffra’s story explores her strange relationship not just with Ms. Samantha, but how much she failed to appreciate the bounty of life until far too late. Jeffra became wrapped up in the corporate world, trading fun and enjoyment for an ever increasing work load and responsibility.

Greater riches though do not equate to greater happiness. The author does not spell this out, but there is a rueful tone to the first half of the book.

The re-awaking of Jeffra came a year after she lost her companion Ms. Samantha. Two playful kittens Mia and Leo entered her life. It is through these two small creatures that the author starts to see life in a different light. Having walked away from the corporate world she starts to view life in a very different way. This is apparent in the writing style alone. The latter half of the book is a collection of vignettes, rather than traditional chapter structure. Each vignette offers some very unique insight and philosophy. Some of which is hugely amusing. I enjoyed the following snippet so much that I had to share it with my wife. The author is discussing how and why change is good. Change can have a positive outcome. When you make a mistake, learn from it and change. To illustrate this she prints ‘the shortest book in the world’:

Chapter 1: “I walked down a path not seeing a dog. The dog bit me.
Chapter 2: “I walked down a path pretending not to see a dog. It bit me.”
Chapter 3: “I walked down a path and saw a dog, but I let him bite me out of habit.”
Chapter 4: “I walked down a path, saw a dog coming toward me, and ran away from the dog. But the dog caught me and bit me anyway.”
Chapter 5: “I walked down a different path.”

Use your mistakes to change your behavior; it can change your life.

What a great passage!

You do not have to be a cat lover to gain from this book. At just over 100 pages this is not a long book, it is an easy read. However there is a great deal of reflective depth in it.

In some ways the writing mirrored my own thoughts, I too became wrapped up in the corporate world for many years, only to leave it disillusioned, and somewhat bitter. I like my simpler lifestyle better.

To order your copy of  The Tao Of Mia And Leo by Jeffra Nicholson by clicking on the Amazon link.

Simon Barrett

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