Thursday, January 3, 2013

Purrs of Wisdom

Reviewed by Jeanne

Since this is the start of a new year, I thought it appropriate to post my review of Purrs of Wisdom:  Conscious Living, Feline Style by Ingrid King.  Ingrid writes the Conscious Cat blog  ( which I read each morning as I drink my coffee and prepare to face the day.  She posts stories about her cats, Allegra and Ruby (who sometimes post their own opinions and stories), along with product and book reviews, and meditations about living for both humans and cats.

Purrs of Wisdom is a collection of the latter columns.  They're short, thoughtful pieces in which she writes about ways to simplify and enrich one's life. She believes that the animal-human bond is a vital element in contented living; certainly animal therapy has become an accepted practice in the US, with animals being used in nursing homes, schools, and in places where physical and psychic trauma has occurred.  For example, both dogs and cats are being employed in Sandy Hook to bring comfort. Many have a holistic slant, with an emphasis on healthy living.  Most of her observations come from watching her cats, who live in the "now," without worrying about what might be or if calamity awaits around the corner.  In the essay "Navigating Turbulent Times," she offers five practical and easily doable suggestions to keep from letting negativity from getting you down.  She is a big believer in organic food, natural healing, de-stressing, and communing with nature, be it our pets or that maple tree in the yard.  In her author statement at, she writes, "I have always believed that animals come into our lives to teach us. First and foremost, they teach us about unconditional love. But they also teach us to stretch and grow, to reach beyond our self-imposed limits, and to expand our consciousness. I've been fortunate to have a number of these animals in my life - and in my case, they've always been cats."  This is a good summation of the book's philosophy and purpose

While people who don't care for cats may find it easy to dismiss some of her suggestions or find them too simplistic, I like the book because it is casual and to the point. She doesn't try to pad the book with excess verbiage. Her mantra of "moderation" makes goals seem achievable.  There are some areas in which I don't quite agree, or else I know that suggestion isn't one I'll follow, but that's part of why I like this book:  she doesn't require that you agree with everything she says, unlike other self-help books which make the reader feel that not following the prescribed path equals stupidity and failure.  Personally, I've never found that attitude to be particularly helpful. Ingrid never scolds or lectures, but writes encouragingly, with gentleness and compassion. It's a nice quiet chat with a friend.

I've enjoyed reading this book one essay a day, much as I read the daily blog posts. One problem with doing this review is that I've read many of the entries already online; but then that's a recommendation in itself because I obviously enjoy the writing and content enough to make these essays a part of my day.  I'm a chronic worrier, and I appreciate the ideas to try to tame some of the psychic monsters.

Ingrid is also the author of Buckley's Story which tells of a very special cat in her life and the lessons she learned from Buckley.  I haven't read that one as yet because I know it's going to make me cry.  I will, though, because I like the way Ingrid tells the stories of the current cats in her life and I know I'll find Buckley's Story to be enlightening and entertaining.
Ingrid King & Amber
For more information about Ingrid King, plus a list of her recommended books (yes, there are dog books too!), visit her site  Her books are available through both as physical books and ebooks.

Full disclosure:  I was given a copy of the book to review, but that didn't affect my opinion.

Purrs of Wisdom by Ingrid King
ISBN 978-0988343702
Publisher:  The Conscious Cat

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