BOOKS: Good Companions

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1995:

Good Companions
by Era Zistel
J.N. Townsend Publishers (12 Greenleaf Drive, Exeter, NH 03833 ), 1995.
105 pages, paper, $12.00.

Do you have Era Zistel’s five earlier
cat books published by J.N. Townsend?


Whether this is your sixth or your first,
Good Companions will acquaint you with a
woman you will warm to, if you fancy animals
at all. It tells the story of an old cat
down on his luck, but never willing to
impose, true to himself always as cats are,
but capable of lasting loyalty. This cat
comes to Zistel in an area where winter is
hard on the best-provided-for and healthiest
of humans, but the cat can never conquer an
innate fear of walls and move into security.
Zistel also keeps the last goat from a small
herd, aging like herself. Zistel is not a person
who ever lives according to the easy or
the practical…she takes in and keeps the endless
mice bred by a pair a little girl whose
mother will not have them brings to her
sadly; she permits chipmunk invasion; considers
all manner of animal down-and-outers
good companions, and cares for them as she
would a closely-related human being. And
this at an age when her own strength is well
past peak. Rigging an ingenious device to
support the goat, who was lamed by
strokes, Zistel tends the animal through two
more seasons of summer enjoyment, with
the cat and a chipmunk completing an odd
quartet. Devotion and eccentricity seem an
equal blend in many who love animals, as
well as in those animals people find lovably
unforgettable. This is a story about such
qualities.
––Phyllis Clifton

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