Simon’s Cat has been an online phenomenon for years – ever since the first YouTube videos appeared 8 years ago. As a fan since the first video appeared, it was an honor to be asked to review this newest book in the Simon Cat line-up.
Simon Tofield’s simple drawings and wordless comics capture the essence of life with cat: the scratched furniture, the quest for attention, the claw and bite marks that are badges of honor for a pet lover. Anyone who has ever owned a cat (or, rather, has been owned by a cat) knows the frustrations, foibles and love involved when dealing with felines.
Simon’s Cat Off to the Vet and Other Cat-astrophes will be on book stands on October 6, 2015. The book is filled with vignettes, humorous ongoing story lines and the general depiction of Life With Cat that one has been accustomed to associating with Simon Tofield’s ‘hero,’ Simon’s Cat, the spoiled, maligned and hilarious anti-hero featured in all his animated short films and books. So many fans requested seeing how the cat would react to a trip to the vet that Tofield and his team finally tackled that touchy subject. The best part is, it doesn’t begin or end with that scenario: the addendum of “And other Catastrophes” delivers even more bang for the buck.
Cat’s struggles with his younger feline sibling, his battle with the neighboring gardener (an ongoing story line featured in this book), his frankly hysterical attempts to lure clever birds into his traps (and mouth), all add to the fun. Even the totally feline reaction to Simon’s attempt at making his bed, or the sight of cat peeking out from a drawer, is so very typical. The box sequence as played out by Simon’s Cat and his younger friend can be true of creatures or children. Whether you are 5 or 95, this is sure to draw a smile from you.
Changing the litter box in a gas mask is a touch of genius, especially when Simon ends up feet-first in said box. Spraying for fleas is nothing unknown to a pet owner. Who hasn’t watched a cat trying to hide from the rain, or attempted to garden with a feline companion (your own or the neighbors)? The gardener’s frustration at cat’s leavings weaves throughout the stories as he chases cat, hides among the shrubbery to catch him, falls flat in his little … gift and finally comes to the same conclusion we all do. Love them or leave them, cats are unique creatures.
The trip to the vet is obviously the highlight of this book. The struggles getting him to the vet’s office, of the poor vet’s attempts to examine and contain Simon’s cat and his great escape are epic in comical proportions. The cat’s observations of the other pets awaiting the doctor open our eyes to how a cat would view things. All I can say is look two or three times at the vignette of the rabbits and you will find yourself laughing out loud. The wonders of the animal kingdom are captured here as seen through Simon’s cat’s experience.
From beginning to end Simon’s Cat Off to the Vet and Other Cat-astrophes is a look at feline behavior that may be anthropomorphic but it’s done with love and with a clear understanding of the subject.