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It's Like This, Cat

It's Like This, Cat

4.1 13
by Emily Cheney Neville

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Dave, a New York teenager, brings home a stray cat. Through his affection for the stray tomcat and his comradeship with a troubled 19-year-old, Dave learns to cope with his own feelings and to better understand others.


Dave, a New York teenager, brings home a stray cat. Through his affection for the stray tomcat and his comradeship with a troubled 19-year-old, Dave learns to cope with his own feelings and to better understand others.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
This is superb — the best junior novel I've ever read about big-city life. .
Saturday Review
Different, humorous, with a touch of the vernacular, and a great feeling for the city and its many peoples. .
Chicago Tribune
A fine, honest, flavorful tale. .

Product Details

Perfection Learning Prebound
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Cat and Kate

My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat.

My father talks a lot anyway. Maybe being a lawyer he gets in the habit. Also, he's a small guy with very little gray curly hair, so maybe he thinks he's got to roar a lot to make up for not being a big hairy tough guy. Mom is thin and quiet, and when anything upsets her, she gets asthma. In the apartment — we live right in the middle of New York City — we don't have any heavy drapes or rugs, and Mom never fries any food because the doctors figure dust and smoke make her asthma worse. I don't think it's dust; I think it's Pop's roaring.

The big hassle that led to me getting Cat came when I earned some extra money baby-sitting for a little boy around the comer on Gramercy Park. I spent the money on a Belafonte record. This record has one piece about a father telling his son about the birds and the bees. I think it's funny. Pop blows his stack.

"You're not going to play that stuff in this house!" he roars. "Why aren't you outdoors, anyway? Baby-sitting! Baby-talk records! When I was your age, I made money on a newspaper delivery route, and my dog Jeff and I used to go ten miles chasing rabbits on a good Saturday."

"Pop," I say patiently, "there are no rabbits out on Third Avenue. Honest, there aren't."

"Don't get fresh!" Pop jerks the plug out of the record player so hard the needle skips, which probably wrecks my record. So I get mad and start yelling too. Between rounds we both hear Mom in the kitchen starting to wheeze.

Pop hisses, "Now, see — you've goneand upset your mother!"

I slam the record player shut, grab a stick and ball, and run down the three flights of stairs to the street.

This isn't the first time Pop and I have played this scene, and there gets to be a pattern: When I slam out of our house mad, I go along over to my Aunt Kate's. She's not really my aunt. The kids around here call her Crazy Kate the Cat Woman because she walks along the street in funny old clothes and sneakers talking to herself, and she sometimes has half a dozen or more stray cats living with her. I guess she does sound a little looney, but it's just because she does things her own way, and she doesn't give a hoot what people think. She's sane, all right. In fact she makes a lot better sense than my pop.

It was three or four years ago, when I was a little kid, and I came tearing down our stairs crying mad after some fight with Pop, that I first met Kate. I plunged out of our door and into the street without looking. At the same moment I heard brakes scream and felt someone yank me back by the scruff of my neck. I got dropped in a heap on the sidewalk.

I looked up, and there was a shiny black car with M.D. plates and Kate waving her umbrella at the driver and shouting: "Listen, Dr. Big Shot, whose life are you saving? Can't you even watch out for a sniveling little kid crossing the street?"

The doctor looked pretty sheepish, and so did 1. A few people on the sidewalk stopped to watch and snicker at us. Our janitor Butch was there, shaking his finger at me. Kate nodded to him and told him she was taking me home to mop me up.

"Yes ma'am," said Butch. He says "Yes ma'am" to all ladies.

Kate dragged me along by the hand to her apartment. She didn't say anything when we got there, just dumped me in a chair with a couple of kittens. Then she got me a cup of tea and a bowl of cottage cheese.

That stopped me snuffling to ask, "What do I put the cottage cheese on?"

"Don't put it on anything. Just eat it. Eat a bowl of it every day. Here, have an orange, too. But no cookies or candy, none of that sweet, starchy stuff. And no string beans. They're not good for you."

My eyes must have popped, but I guess I knew right that first day that you don't argue with Kate. I ate the cottage cheese — it doesn't really have any taste anyway — and I sure have always agreed with her about the string beans.

Off and on since then I've seen quite a lot of Kate. I'd pass her on the street, chirruping to some mangy old stray cat hiding under a car, and he'd always come out to be stroked. Sometimes there'd be a bunch of little kids dancing around jeering at her and calling her a witch. It made me feel real good and important to run them off.

Quite often I went with her to the A & P and helped her carry home the cat food and cottage cheese and fruit. She talks to herself all the time in the store, and if she thinks the peaches or melons don't look good that day, she shouts clear across the store to the manager. He comes across and picks her out an extra good one, just to keep the peace.

I introduced Kate to Mom, and they got along real well. Kate's leery of most people, afraid they'll make fun of her, I guess; my mom's not leery of people, but she's shy, and what with asthma and worrying about keeping me and Pop calmed down...

Meet the Author

Emily Neville was born in Manchester, Connecticut, and now lives in New York City. After receiving her A.B. degree from Bryn Mawr College, she worked as a copy-girl for the New York Daily New and the New York Mirror. Since then she has written many stories about children. It's Like This, Cat is her first published novel for young people.

Mrs. Neville is married to a newspaper-man and is the mother of five children, aged six to eighteen.

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It's like This, Cat 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book "It's Like This, Cat" by Emily Neville, is definitely a five-star book for readers of middle school age and beyond. This is a book of friendship. It is about a fourteen-year-old boy named Dave Mitchell who gets a stray cat from his Aunt Kate. The book talks about Dave and Cat's adventures; both good and bad. All because of Cat, a fiesty tomcat, Dave almost is killed, gets a 'girlfriend', and eases he and his father's relationship together. The setting of "It's Like This, Cat" is in New York around Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. This book shows what big-city life is really all about. It also defines how it can be hard growing up, and that everyone truly needs someone to talk to; even if it is a cat! Dave lost one of his friends because of Cat, but he also gained more: Tom, Ben, and Mary for instance. Dave and his new friends also had many adventures with Cat; like when Ben found his red eft (which is a red newt) named Redskin. Then, Cat ate Ben's other newt, Big Brownie who was supposedly pregnant! Many other fun and exciting adventures happen to Dave and Cat, but you will just simply have to read the book to find out more, and see for yourself!
Taros_Lover More than 1 year ago
The book It’s Like This Cat By Emily Neville is amazing. So Dave (the main character) gets Cat at his aunt Kate’s. She’s not really his aunt but she did save him from being run over. One night Cat gets locked in a cage that’s in a cellar. This is where Dave meets Tom who was dared to steal something in the cellar and gets Cat out. Tom becomes important in Dave’s life. Dave also meets a girl, at Coney Island, who runs out of money in Macey’s and calls him for help. I really loved this book because it’s different. I can also relate to Dave because he sat out on his steps reading a book and letting Cat roam free. I also Dave avoided fights and was an amazing friend. Even though Cat ate his best friend’s newt. Emily Neville makes you able to feel and know exactly what the characters are feeling. You get a vivid picture in your mind about what Dave is experiencing. Yet the language is very easy to understand and she gives you new meaning to the relationship of boy and cat. Also to a person who you consider you’re relative even though they’re not Cat reminds me of an orange cat I used to have. Both my cat and Cat from the book could’ve ran away and been free but they stayed by mine and Dave’s sides. Dave and Cat have that special person to animal relationship that really just can’t be described. Yet Emily Neville pulls it off through this amazing book that I recommend to all cat lovers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was odd and weird,but good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is excellent. It shows fast-paced adventure when a young boy travels through New York City with his feline side-kick next to him all the time. This book shows that a father and son who argue over everything can solve their problems even if a cat has to help them along the way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What is a better pet to have - a cat or dog? The book is about a cat that comes into a family's life. Dave Mitchell and his father disagree on mostly everything they talk about. They fight about Dave's music, hair, and even what is a better pet to have - a cat or dog. Dave's father hates cats, but Dave gets a cat. Cats are strong and loveable animals that have no backbones. Cats are very educated and smart. The cat helps the family to have a better relationship. This book won the 1964 Newbery Medal. This book was a notable children's book for the 1940s to 1970s (ALA). This book is mostly for kids 5 to 9 years old. This is a good book for kids if they love cats. This book is about a father and his son who lives in New York City.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I gave the book It's Like This Cat three stars. I gave this book this rating because the content was good, I just didn't like how it was written. There weren't to many characters to remember, but there was enough. This book is about a boy, his cat, and all the trouble and adventures they get into. The main character is Dave Mitchell. He is a calm, kind of quiet, 15-year-old boy. His dad is a lawyer and Dave and him fight a lot. His mom is a very quiet and very calm lady who has an athsma attack whenever they fight. Crazy Kate, a local, is where Dave got Cat from. She is pretty strange and lets stray cats in all the time and takes care of them. His best friend is Nick, who is the same age and lives near by. They both ride bikes a lot and get in to trouble together. The book is written pretty strange. It is like 'I wheel my bike across the parkway,...' and 'I don't say anything to exact to mom, even though...,'. Besides that, the book is good. It has great content about adventures and the trouble Dave and his cat get into. The whole book is just about the relationship of Dave and Cat. Somethings they do are meet burglars, get into fights,meet girls, and more. This is a pretty good book if you can put up with the way it is written. I would recommend to any kind of person who likes to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It¿s Like This, Cat Book Report Emily Neville was born in Manchester, Connecticut in 1919. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1940. She majored in economics. She then married Glen Neville, a newspaperman in 1948 and had five children. Mrs. Neville chose research as her career but became a copy girl on New York News and on the New York Mirror. It¿s Like This, Cat was the recipient of the 1964 Newbery Medal. She also wrote other books besides It¿s Like This Cat, they are: Berries Goodman, The Seventeenth Street Gang, Traveler From A Small Kingdom, Garden Of Broken Glass, and The Bridge. Emily Neville always wrote about places she knew well. It all started out how Dave¿s dad was saying, how a dog can be very educational to have. Dave then found his cat and named it Cat. He found Cat in a cellar and met a young guy named Tom. He helped Dave by unlocking Cat¿s cage. Dave and his friend Nick went to the beach and met three girls. Dave and Nick had a fist fight over one of the girls because Dave wasn¿t happy about being there in the first place. This fight broke up their friendship. Dave would go to Cat Lady Kate¿s house often, she later inherited a lot of money and gave it all away after a kitten was stepped on by a news reporter and died! Tom got a job at a gas station in Denver and later got a better job at a flower shop. Dave ran into Mary, one of the girls from the beach, and they became good friends. Tom finds true love and decides to go back to school. Dave finds a new friend at school named Ben. Dave and his dad finally agree on one thing, having Cat around isn¿t so bad after all and is very educational too! I really enjoyed reading this book a lot! It was extremely funny! It relates to things that happen in real life experiences. I liked everything about this book, and I didn¿t dislike anything. I wouldn¿t change a thing about it! The characters are very believable. The book definitely kept my interest! I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel was outstanding. It was very humorous and flavorful. It was the best junior book I have ever read about big city life. I like it because it spoke the truth about big cities and gave the city and its many people a great feeling. I also liked it because it spoke about all of the difficulties there can be for a young adult like me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is well-written. I read it for a book report in 6th grade. Each page of this fascinating book is filled with mystery and suspense!This book is definitely categorized in my Favorite Book List as #1!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Newberry Medal winner is written by Emily Neville and illustrated by Emil Weiss. Emily received the Newberry Medal in 1964 for this book. She received her degree in economics. Weiss became a free-lance artist and illustrated many books for children. This cute, realistic book is about friendship. However, I do not think it deserved the Newberry Medal. Dave Mitchell is a fourteen year old boy growing up in New York. His father and he argue a lot. When they do this, his mother has asthma attacks. ¿Between rounds we both hear Mom in the kitchen starting to wheeze.¿ Dave storms out of the house and goes to Aunt Kate¿s, who gives him a cat. He develops a strong friendship with a stray tomcat. This book tells of all the adventures he and Cat go through together. Dave also becomes friends with a troubled nineteen year-old boy, and he develops a friendship with a girl. Neville, Emily. It¿s Like This, Cat. New York: HarperCollins, 1963. Reading level: Ages 10-14
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great. It's all about a boy who finally gets a pet cat. Later on they have great adventures
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dave Mitchell, an average 11 year old boy living in New York, wants a pet badly. His parents don't want him to get one because his mother is allergic to cats. Dave finally persuaded his parents to get him one. Dave and his dad disagree on lots of stuff like the type of music Dave listens to and the hairstyle Dave has. It turns out the cat is a very good pet and the dad ends up liking it. This book was okay, it's not really the type of book I enjoy reading, but it was very entertaining.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I was in elementary school I found a copy of this book hidden on the shelves of the school library. I read it and loved it and now I think of it often as an example of one of those books you never entirely forget. I'm sorry, but I no longer remember the details!