"Superb. The best junior novel I've ever read about big-city life." — The New York Times.
After another fight with Pop, 14-year-old Dave storms out of their apartment and nearly gets hit by a car. Kate, the local cat lady, comes to the rescue, and Dave returns home with an ally: Cat, the stray tom that becomes Dave's confidante and his key to new friendships and experiences. Cat inadvertently leads Dave to Tom, a troubled 19-year-old who needs help, and Mary, a shy girl who opens Dave's eyes and ears to music and theater. Even the Cat-related confrontations with Pop take on a new spirit, with less shouting and more understanding.
It's Like This, Cat offers a vivid tour of New York City in the 1960s. From the genteel environs of Gramercy Park to a bohemian corner of Coney Island, the atmospheric journey is punctuated by stickball games, pastrami sandwiches, and a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Recounted with humor, a remarkably realistic teenage voice, and Emil Weiss's pitch-perfect illustrations, this 1964 Newbery Award-winning tale recaptures the excitement and challenges of growing up in the big city.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)|
|Age Range:||7 - 11 Years|
About the Author
Emily Neville (1919–97) received her A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and wrote for New York City's Daily News and Daily Mirror newspapers. Her five novels, all published in the 1960s, were widely praised for their authentic depictions of teenagers' perspectives.
Czech artist Emil Weiss (1896–1965) worked in his native country as a commercial artist, newspaper cartoonist, and architect. Upon his 1948 emigration to the United States, he served as an artist-reporter for the Christian Science Monitor and illustrated more than 40 books.
Read an Excerpt
It's Like This, Cat
By Emily Neville, Emil Weiss
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 1963 Emily Neville
All rights reserved.
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 corner 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 gone and 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 I. 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.
"Yas'm," said Butch. He says "Yas'm" 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, she doesn't go out much or make dates with people. She and Kate would chat together in the stores or sitting on the stoop on a sunny day. Kate shook her head over Mom's asthma and said she'd get over it if she ate cottage cheese every day. Mom ate it for a while, but she put mayonnaise on it, which Kate says is just like poison.
The day of the fight with Pop about the Belafonte record it's cold and windy out and there are no kids in sight. I slam my ball back and forth against the wall where it says "No Ball Playing," just to limber up and let off a little spite, and then I go over to see Kate.
Kate has a permanent cat named Susan and however many kittens Susan happens to have just had. It varies. Usually there are a few other temporary stray kittens in the apartment, but I never saw any father cat there before. Today Susan and her kittens are under the stove, and Susan keeps hissing at a big tiger-striped tomcat crouching under the sofa. He turns his head away from her and looks like he never intended to get mixed up with family life. For a stray cat he's sleek and healthy-looking. Every time he moves a whisker, Susan hisses again, warningly. She believes in no visiting rights for fathers.
Kate pours me some tea and asks what's doing.
"My pop is full of hot air, as usual," I say.
"Takes one to know one," Kate says, catching me off base. I change the subject.
"How come the kittens' pop is around the house? I never saw a full- grown torn here before."
"He saw me buying some cans of cat food, so he followed me home. Susan isn't admitting she ever knew him or ever wants to. I'll give him another feed and send him on his way, I guess. He's a handsome young fellow." Kate strokes him between the ears, and he rotates his head. Susan hisses.
He starts to pull back farther under the sofa. Without stopping to think myself, or giving him time to, I pick him up. Susan arches up and spits. I can feel the muscles in his body tense up as he gets ready to spring out of my lap. Then he changes his mind and decides to take advantage of the lap. He narrows his eyes and gives Susan a bored look and turns his head to take me in. After he's sized me up, he pretends he only turned around to lick his back.
"Cat," I say to him, "how about coming home with me?"
"Hah!" Kate laughs. "Your pop will throw him out faster than you can say 'good old Jeff.'"
"Yeah-h?" I say it slowly and do some thinking. Taking Cat home had been just a passing thought, but right now I decide I'll really go to the mat with Pop about this. He can have his memories of good old Jeff and rabbit hunts, but I'm going to have me a tiger.
Aunt Kate gives me a can of cat food and a box of litter, so Cat can stay in my room, because I remember Mom probably gets asthma from animals, too. Cat and I go home.
Pop does a lot of shouting and sputtering when we get home, but I just put Cat down in my room, and I try not to argue with him, so I won't lose my temper. I promise I'll keep him in my room and sweep up the cat hairs so Mom won't have to.
As a final blast Pop says, "I suppose you'll get your exercise mouse hunting now. What are you going to name the noble animal?"
"Look, Pop," I explain, "I know he's a cat, he knows he's a cat, and his name is Cat. And even if you call him Admiral John Paul Jones, he won't come when you call, and he won't lick your hand, see?"
"He'd better not! And it's, not my hand that's going to get licked around here in a minute," Pop snaps.
"All right, all right."
Actually, my pop sometimes jaws so long it'd be a relief if he did haul off and hit me, but he never does.
We call it a draw for that day, and I have Cat.CHAPTER 2
CAT AND THE UNDERWORLD
Cat makes himself at home in my room pretty easily. Mostly he likes to be up on top of something, so I put an old sweater on the bureau beside my bed, and he sleeps up there. When he wants me to wake up in the morning, he jumps and lands in the middle of my stomach. Believe me, cats don't always land lightly — only when they want to. Anything a cat does, he does only when he wants to. I like that.
When I'm combing my hair in the morning, sometimes he sits up there and looks down his nose at my reflection in the mirror. He appears to be taking inventory: "Hmm, buck-teeth; sandy hair, smooth in front, cowlick in back; brown eyes, can't see in the dark worth a nickel; hickeys on the chin. Too bad."
I look back at him in the mirror and say, "O.K., black face, yellow eyes, and one white whisker. Where'd you get that one white whisker?"
He catches sight of himself in the mirror, and his tail twitches momentarily. He seems to know it's not really another cat, but his claws come out and he taps the mirror softly, just to make sure.
When I'm lying on the bed reading, sometimes he will curl up between my knees and the book. But after a few days I can see he's getting more and more restless. It gets so I can't listen to a record, for the noise of him scratching on the rug. I can't let him loose in the apartment, at least until we make sure Mom doesn't get asthma, so I figure I better reintroduce him to the great outdoors in the city. One nice Sunday morning in April we go down and sit on the stoop.
Cat sits down, very tall and neat and pear-shaped, and closes his eyes about halfway. He glances at the street like it isn't good enough for him. After a while, condescending, he eases down the steps and lies on a sunny, dusty spot in the middle of the sidewalk. People walking have to step around him, and he squints at them.
Then he gets up, quick, looks over his shoulder at nothing, and shoots down the stairs to the cellar. I take a look to see where he's going, and he is pacing slowly toward the backyard, head down, a tiger on the prowl. I figure I'll sit in the sun and finish my science-fiction magazine before I go after him.
When I do, he's not in sight, and the janitor tells me he jumped up on the wall and probably down into one of the other yards. I look around a while and call, but he's not in sight, and I go up to lunch. Along toward evening Cat scratches at the door and comes in, as if he'd done it all his life.
This gets to be a routine. Sometimes he doesn't even come home at night, and he's sitting on the doormat when I get the milk in the morning, looking offended.
"Is it my fault you stayed out all night?" I ask him.
He sticks his tail straight up and marches down the hall to the kitchen, where he waits for me to open the milk and dish out the cat food. Then he goes to bed.
One morning he's not there when I open the door, and he still hasn't showed up when I get back from school. I get worried and go down to talk to Butch.
"Wa-a-1," says Butch, "sometimes that cat sit and talk to me a little, but most times he go on over to Twenty-first Street, where he sit and talk to his lady friend. Turned cold last night, lot of buildings put on heat and closed up their basements. Maybe he got locked in somewheres."
"Which building's his friend live in?" I ask.
"Forty-six, the big one. His friend's a little black-and-white cat, sort of belongs to the night man over there. He feeds her."
I go around to Twenty-first Street and case Forty-six, which is a pretty fair-looking building with a striped awning and a doorman who saunters out front and looks around every few minutes.
While I'm watching, a grocery boy comes along pushing his cart and goes down some stairs into the basement with his carton of groceries. This gives me an idea. I'll give the boy time to get started up in the elevator, and then I'll go down in the basement and hunt for Cat. If someone comes along and gets sore, I can always play dumb.
I go down, and the coast is clear. The elevator's gone up, and I walk softly past and through a big room where the tenants leave their baby carriages and bicycles. After this the cellar stretches off into several corridors, lit by twenty-watt bulbs dangling from the ceiling. You can hardly see anything. The corridors go between wire storage cages, where the tenants keep stuff like trunks and old cribs and parakeet cages. They're all locked.
"Me-ow, meow, me-ow!" Unmistakably Cat, and angry.
The sound comes from the end of one corridor, and I fumble along, peering into each cage to try to see a tiger cat in a shadowy hole. Fortunately his eyes glow and he opens his mouth for another meow, and I see him locked inside one of the cages before I come to the end of the corridor. I don't know how he got in or how I'm going to get him out.
While I'm thinking, Cat's eyes flick away from me to the right, then back to me. Cat's not making any noise, and neither am I, but something is. It's just a tiny rustle, or a breath, but I have a creepy feeling someone is standing near us. Way down at the end of the cellar a shadow moves a little, and I can see it has a white splotch — a face. It's a man, and he comes toward me.
I don't know why any of the building men would be way back there, but that's who I figure it is, so I start explaining.
"I was just hunting for my cat ... I mean, he's got locked in one of these cages. I just want to get him out."
The guy lets his breath out, slow, as if he's been holding it quite a while. I realize he doesn't belong in that cellar either, and he's been scared of me.
He moves forward, saying "Sh-h-h" very quietly. He's taller than I am, and I can't see what he really looks like, but I'm sure he's sort of a kid, maybe eighteen or so.
He looks at the padlock on the cage and says, "Huh, cheap!" He takes a paper clip out of his pocket and opens it out, and I think maybe he has a penknife, too, and next thing I know the padlock is open.
"Gee, how'd you do that?"
"Sh-h-h. A guy showed me how. You better get your cat and scram."
Golly, I wonder, maybe the guy is a burglar, and that gives me another creepy feeling. But would a burglar be taking time out to get a kid's cat free?
"Well, thanks for the cat. See you around," I say.
"Sh-h-h. I don't live around here. Hurry up, before we both get caught."
Maybe he's a real burglar with a gun, even, I think, and by the time I dodge past the elevators and get out in the cold April wind, the sweat down my back is freezing. I give Cat a long lecture on staying out of basements. After all, I can't count on having a burglar handy to get him out every time.
Back home we put some nice jailhouse blues on the record player, and we both stretch out on the bed to think. The guy didn't really look like a burglar. And he didn't talk "dese and dose." Maybe real burglars don't all talk that way — only the ones on TV. Still, he sure picked that lock fast, and he was sure down in that cellar for some reason of his own.
Maybe I ought to let someone know. I figure I'll test Pop out, just casual like. "Some queer-looking types hanging around this neighborhood," I say at dinner. "I saw a tough-looking guy hanging around Number Forty-six this afternoon. Might have been a burglar, even."
I figure Pop'll at least ask me what he was doing, and maybe I'll tell him the whole thing — about Cat and the cage. But Pop says, "In case you didn't know it, burglars do not all look like Humphrey Bogart, and they don't wear signs."
"Thanks for the news," I say and go on eating my dinner. Even if Pop does make me sore, I'm not going to pass up steak and onions, which we don't have very often.
However, the next day I'm walking along Twenty-first Street and I see the super of Forty-six standing by the back entrance, so I figure I'll try again. I say to him, "Us kids were playing ball here yesterday, and we saw a strange-looking guy sneak into your cellar. It wasn't a delivery boy."
"Yeah? You sure it wasn't you or one of your juvenile pals trying to swipe a bike? How come you have to play ball right here?"
"I don't swipe bikes. I got one of my own. New. A Raleigh. Better than any junk you got in there."
"What d'you know about what I got in there, wise guy?"
"Aw, forget it." I realize he's just getting suspicious of me. That's what comes of trying to be a big public-spirited citizen. I decide my burglar, whoever he is, is a lot nicer than the super, and I hope he got a fat haul.
Excerpted from It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville, Emil Weiss. Copyright © 1963 Emily Neville. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents1. Cat and Kate,
2. Cat and the Underworld,
3. Cat and Coney,
5. Around Manhattan,
6. And Brooklyn,
8. West Side Story,
10. Cat and the Parkway,
11. Rosh Hashanah at the Fulton Fish Market,
12. The Red Eft,
13. The Left Bank of Coney Island,
14. Expedition by Ferry,
15. Dollars and Cats,
17. Telephone Numbers,
18. "Here's to Cat!",
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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!
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.
It was odd and weird,but good
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
This book is great. It's all about a boy who finally gets a pet cat. Later on they have great adventures
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.
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!