My name is Nikita. I’m a 6-year old tabby who lives in New York City with my owner, Betsy. We don’t have a lot of space in our apartment, but what we do have a lot of is books. And that is just fine with me because I love to read. I just rocked your world a little bit, didn’t I? You didn’t know that cats could read, did you? Sure, we do lots of things that you usually associate with cats – jumping onto tables that we’re not supposed to be on, taking long naps, giving death stares to the birds outside our windows, punching plastic bags, chasing pieces of string, taking naps, spazzing out over cat nip, being totally adorable, taking more naps….But we can also read. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t let this get out, though. If anyone else finds out, it will only be a matter of time before I’m on Letterman doing “Stupid Pet Tricks” or a video of me reading War and Peace on Youtube gets forwarded to you like those weird videos of the sleeping puppies. I prefer to fly under the radar on this one and preserve my privacy, if you don’t mind.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. Reading. Elizabeth Hardwick once said, “The greatest gift is a passion for reading.” Another very smart person, Dr. Seuss, said “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Both were right about the importance of reading, and I learned that at a very young age. I started reading when I was just a little kitten. I would read the labels on cans of wet food, the directions on the back of the box of kitty litter, and those menus that mysteriously shoot through the bottom crack of your front door in New York. After that I was hooked, and I read anything I could get my paws on. I might be an indoor cat, but when I read I can go anywhere in the world or anywhere throughout time. I’ve been to fabulous parties with flappers in The Great Gatsby, to imperial Russia to visit the last Tsar in Nicholas and Alexandra, and I watched Scarlett make a snappy dress out of curtains in Gone With the Wind. I learned why World War I started in The Guns of August, how to help stop poverty in The Bottom Billion, and what happens when you take a lot of drugs in Helter Skelter. The classics are great – Frankenstein, The Lord of the Flies, Little Women – and so are fantasies like Wicked and biographies of glamorous ladies like Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe (I really enjoyed Bette Davis: A Biography and Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words: Marilyn Monroe’s Revealing Last Words and Photographs has beautiful pictures). Without books I would probably get to take even more naps, but to be honest, I would be pretty bored and life would seem a little dull. That reminds me of another great quote: “A day without cracking open a good book is like a day without chicken and salmon flavored wet food.” If you like to read, you know just what I mean (even if you don’t like wet food, I’m sure you get the general idea).
Well, I could go on forever about reading, but there’s a piece of string peeking out from the under the couch that I need to pounce on and then – you guessed it – I have a nap scheduled. So I better get going – happy reading and happy holidays!