Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Guest post by Patricia Halloff, author of "Sisypuss: Memoirs of a Vagabond Cat", book spotlight, and chance to pick up a free book!

I first became aware of this book, Sisypuss: Memoirs of a Vagabond Cat when my friend, and fellow freelance editor, Tabitha recommended it to me. I wrote her back that she was trying to kill me, because it is about the dangers through which stray cats have to go, and anyone who knows me, knows I absolutely love cats, and the thoughts of a cat in danger reduce me to a blubbering wreck.  What followed was a discussion with the author.  She told me she was offering the e-book for free on Amazon today (July 10) and tomorrow (July 11), so since I am too big a baby to read it, I offered to let her make a guest post and do a book spotlight.  So, that's what I'm doing. Above, where you see the book's title, I have linked to the Amazon page where you can go and pick up this e-book for yourself, free, July 10 and 11, 2013, or for only 99 cents any other time.  I will note that Tabitha, a very discerning and demanding reader (and I mean that in a very good way), gave this book five stars and raved about it, so it is obviously a very good quality book.

About the Book:

If You Care About Animals, Don't Pass This Five-Star Cat Memoir By.

"Ms. Halloff does for stray cats what Richard Adams did for rabbits. This book is more worth downloading than anything else I have seen on Amazon this year." T. Ormiston-Smith, "T.C.", Amazon Reviewer

"Patricia Halloff is an excellent writer. There is absolutely no doubt she knows and understands the nature of cats." D. Blankenship, Amazon reviewer

"It is beautifully written and tells a painful truth about how humans treat animals." Fierce Goose, Amazon Reviewer

Sisypuss, a feline optimist and true believer in luck (though most of his is rotten), reminisces about the homeless journey through truths and lies, danger and safety, love and enmity, made with his brother Bob and an odd assortment of characters, animal and human met along the way.

Three paws in the grave, Sisypuss interweaves memories and his current life as Booley's cat companion with Booley's seriocomic troubles with drugs (he enrolls in clinical trials as a work alternative), unfaithful women, and poetry editors.

Sisypuss tells how, among other things, he and his brother survive an animal shelter, a research lab which wrecks their health, the death of a loved guardian, a godforsaken wood where his try at love with a feral heartbreaker leaves him singing the castrato blues, and finally the overwhelming event leading him to Booley and safety.

Sisypuss:Memoirs of a Vagabond Cat has received 18 5-stars out of 21 reviews.

Now, let me introduce Patricial Halloff, the author of this book, and and an advocate for cats everywhere.

About the Author:

In the years I haven't spent scribbling or keyboarding (if that's a word) in a dark corner, I've worked as a journalist, a copy editor at the American Institute of Physics, news editor at PBS, a graphic artist, and acting parole officer.

In my years of scribbling I've written the novels Roadblocks to Nirvana, Sisypuss: Memoirs of a Vagabond Cat, Memorial Candle, and Waiting for Charon. Roadblocks and Sisypuss are self-published. The others probably will be in the future since literary novels are unwanted by publishers. 

I've written many short stories which have been published in literary journals such as The New England Review, Cream City Review, Chicago Review, Witness, Short Fiction, New Letters, etc. and various anthologies.

I live in Tinton Falls New Jersey with my husband.

Follow the author on Twitter at @Inorgana.

Now, here is that promised guest post. 


Some Experiences in His Vagabond Life

Animal Internment Camps.
When newborn Sisypuss, his three siblings and ailing mother are sent to an animal shelter, his family joins the five to seven million unwanted animals interned in shelters annually. And within hours of their arrival his worn-out mother, a cat who'd lived a life on the run and had more than her share of litters and hard luck, becomes one of the three to four million of animals who will be euthanized annually because they are unadoptable. Generally, life in shelters and pounds is not of the highest quality, and the prospect of adoption is slim at best for cats (seventy percent are put to death there), so when the "farmer" appears and offers to adopt Sisypuss and his brother Bob it seems like a good thing.

Animal Purgatories. But not for long. For it turns out the "farmer" is actually a "buncher" a guy who earns his livelihood by collecting animals from pounds , shelters, streets, backyards--wherever he finds or spots them, and selling his collelctions to animal dealers. In turn, the dealers (who pay the bunchers off in the dark) cage the animals in unsanitary, cramped holding cells until they are sold to schools, universities, researchers for considerable profits. There's a lot of money to be made in the biological supply industry. Violations of humane care standards are rampant, even standard. Animals are abused and recycled in these pens before they are shipped off under horrendous conditions to their fate as testees in a Hell sometimes thousands of miles away .

Animal Dachaus. In research testing labs, nineteen and one-half million animals are "sacrificed" annually. Twenty-two thousand, nine hundered cats and sixty-six thousand, six-hundred and ten dogs are among them. The others are primates, sheep, rats, rabbits, birds, anything that walks or crawls. In their particular Dachau Sisypuss and Bob undergo sleep deprivation "studies" conducted by a sadist who, if he had performed this experiment on humans, would be imprisoned as criminally insane.

And although the Animal Welfare Act nominally permits only procedures which are scientifically justified, in reality testing is done on animals with drugs which have been on the market sometimes for decades. For example, cats have been tested on a drug which had been discredited in humans ten years earlier after a thirty-year clinical study involving one thousand patients. What Sisypuss and Bob undergo serves no scientific purpose and ruins their health.

"Terrorists" or Saviors? Fortunately--most are not so fortunate--Sisypuss and Bob are rescued by "terrorists". Although such people are on the U.S. terrorist list, they willingly risk their freedom by stealing into laboratories and other locations where animals are suffering in order rescue who they can. It's thanks to these liberators that Sisypuss and Bob, though mutilated and the worse for wear, leave the laboratory with their lives and sanity intact.

Animals' Colosseums. But when the woman with whom they are placed by the liberators dies, her daughter dumps Sisypuss and Bob in the woods. Back to the hardscrabble life of vagabond cats there, they suffer hunger, exposure, fear on a night and day. In this wilderness hidden from civilized surveillance, they witness a brutal dog fight held in an old chicken coop. The Humane Society estimates there are forty-thousand of such "professional" dog fights nationwide. Altough illegal in this country except for two States, this "blood sport" is a popular form of entertainment and profit linked to gang violence and organized crime. In cities fights are held in deserted slum dwellings and out-of-the-way alleys. In rural areas they take place in woods in abandoned shacks and structures hidden from view. Sometimes these vicious stagings take place in upscale locations. Take Michael Vick, the professional football player who ran the dog fighting ring at his mansion. Dogs fight to the death cheered on by their sponsors and supporters. Gambling is all part of the fun. Purses at toplevel fights may be as high as $100, 000.00! 

Cat Hoovervilles. Before Sisypuss is lucky enough to be rescued and taken from the colony to a good home, he finds his way to a managed cat colony. In the 1930s multitudes of homeless people gathered in colonies and sheltered in a collection of huts and shacks. The colonies were named after Herbert Hoover whose election coincided with the Great Depression. Today "managed" colonies of homeless (largely feral) cats living in cartons, foam coolers, whatever provides them shelter, survive nationwide. Responsible caretakers, many of whom have undergone training courses, supply food, old towels, blankets, etc. In a managed colony the animals are humanely trapped, spay/neutered in order to prevent future births, and returned to the colony since they are unadoptable.

Patricia Halloff is the author of Sisypuss: Memoirs of a Vagabond Cat. She has been a legislative consultant for Friends of Animals and the Society for Animal Rights and has insider knowledge of the plight of "surplus" animals. Her stories have been published in literary journals and anthologies. Link to her ebook is


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