Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Story of Fester Cat

The Story of Fester Cat coverPets make a huge difference in our lives. For that reason, it’s a pleasure to welcome author Paul Magrs to Thoughts today to highlight his heartwarming book, THE STORY OF FESTER CAT.

This is a book that will have you laughing and crying. It’s about Fester, the extraordinary little cat whose gentle charm and trusting soul turned two young men into a family. In the vein of the huge New York Times bestseller A Streetcat Named Bob and Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, THE STORY OF FESTER CAT is a charming read in time for the holiday season.

From when he first ambled into Paul’s yard—skin and bones, covered in flea bites, and missing most of his teeth—Fester knew that he found his family. And so over the course of seven years, the feisty feline turned the Manchester house into a loving home. Through sheer force of will and spirit, Fester taught Paul and Jeremy how to listen, appreciate the joys of simply sitting and most importantly, how to find joy and contentment in life, especially when dealing with hardship. 

THE STORY OF FESTER CAT is an inspirational memoir that reminds us that true family is created by those we choose, or in Paul and Jeremy’s case, those who choose us. Fester stole the hearts of many through Paul’s chronicle of adventures on his blog and Facebook, and his death on March 30, 2013 touched many fans. Now readers can read a firsthand account (from Fester himself!) of his mission to help Paul and Jeremy. 

Paul is sharing an excerpt from the chapter titled ‘Tree’ in THE STORY OF FESTER CAT.

     I peered cautiously at the next branch down. It seemed a very long way away. I loosened the grip of one paw and extended it, airily, downwards. Swipe. Swipe. Nope, it wouldn’t reach. I was going to have to jump to the next branch and just make sure I didn’t miss.
      But I think I’ll stay here a few moments and gather my concentration and all my energy.
      Oh. It’s spitting on to rain. And the wind is picking up. Great.
      At least that daft Korky and Aunty Bessy aren’t here to see my ignoble failure. Oh, why did I go climbing?
      When I was younger this kind of height and these sorts of jumps wouldn’t have bothered me. They’d be nothing. But it’s like something has slipped and changed. It isn’t that I’ve lost my nerve exactly. I’ve just got to be more careful with myself. I’m skinnier, less fit. This outdoor life has taken its toll.
      There’s a noise then and I jerk my head round, making the branch sway violently. It’s the crack of a wooden back door, springing open.
      It’s Paul. In a dressing gown, with wet hair and that foam on his face still. He’s hurrying down the steps, across the patio, and down the scrubby grass of their lawn.
      What does he think he’s going to do? Climb up after me?
      I can’t have this. I can’t have anyone watching me while I’m paralysed with fear. I have to stop being scared. I have to take proper action.
      I paw the air again, sweeping my claws about, looking for something I can jump onto.
      “It’s okay,” the human shouts from the ground. “Don’t panic! I’ll . . . er . . . Um.”

       He’s got his mobile phone out, and I wonder if he’s going to phone the fire brigade. That happens, doesn’t it? I’ve seen that happening before. Old ladies call out the firemen when their cats get stuck up trees. In the past, me and my pals have gathered round at a safe distance, laughing our backs off at these kinds of dramas. Well, maybe this is karma.      He isn’t phoning anyone. He’s taking a picture of me! Trapped up the bloomin’ tree! What does he want a picture for?
      I grip on, furious. And it’s the mocking laughter of the squirrels that makes me take decisive action. I can’t hang about like this all day.
I lift up my front paws and leap out onto the air.
      It’s a wonderfully free feeling for a moment. I’m flying like those squirrels seem to think they can, when they go leaping from branch to branch. Yeah, well, Fester Cat can do it too, squirrels. Even at the age of twelve.
      It’s a miracle. I make it to the next branch down. I grip hard on to it and give an involuntary cry: “Ungow!” It sounds more like panic than triumph.
      Paul takes a step closer. “Fester!”
      And at that moment I don’t even wonder how he has guessed my name.
      The next branch down is closer. It’s more substantial too. And it’s only a couple of feet higher than the back fence. I can do it. I’ve almost done it. The wind is crashing about more boisterously now, and I realise that I don’t have time to dither up here.
      Paul is standing on top of their compost heap. “Jump, Fester!”
      So I jump.
      One more branch. An awkward twist. A little shriek from me. And a magnificent wriggle in midair. I lash out with my claws and seize hold of the fence at the bottom of the garden. Got it!
      And I’m over. I launch myself along the fence, and away. I’m diving into the anonymity of the garden of the burned house beyond. I’m fleeing into that wilderness. I dash away, full of excitement and shame at the same time. My heart is thudding crazily like it hasn’t in a long time and what I really need to do is go and lie under a patch of leggy rhubarb I’ve been hiding out in recently. I’ll shelter from the hardening rain under its cool leaves and I’ll get my composure back.
      But I did it! I survived!
      And I proved that I’ve still got it!
      It was nice of that fella to come out to see I was okay. Even if he was no use really.

**Reprinted from The Story of Fester Cat by Paul Magrs by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, Copyright © 2014 by Paul Magrs.

Now a bit about Paul.

Paul Magrs (with a silent 'g' and pronounced 'Mars'), a British writer, writes fiction for adults, YAs and children in a variety of genres. He writes the Brenda and Effie Mystery series, a comic Gothic mystery adventures set in the town of Whitby on the North Eastern coast of England. In addition, he writes the Iris Wildthyme series and the tie-in Doctor Who audio adventures.

For more on Paul and his writing, visit his blog and connect with him on Twitter.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope this excerpt has enticed you to check out this touching story of Fester.

SIDENOTE: A special thanks to the men and women of the armed forces who have served and are serving to keep us safe. HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY! Thank you for all you do!
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  1. Paul, thanks for sharing this excerpt with us. Fester was adorable. Wishing you much success.

  2. Thank you so much Mason and Paul.
    I suspect my eyes would (will) leak big time when I read. Dewey made me cry an ocean, as did The Cat Who Came for Christmas.
    Animals wind their paws deep into our heart strings don't they?

  3. Hi Paul and Mason - what a great story ... and don't they just get stuck up trees - we took ours on holiday and guess where the little one went up a tree - my mother said .. don't worry he'll get himself down ... he did!! Fester sounds a great cat, with a lovely name ... cheers Hilary

    Remembrance Day is important - we now remember on the nearest Sunday - when the official Service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall is held.

  4. I'm sure that cat was really popular on Facebook. Pat Hatt says Cassie (his cat) has ten times the followers on Twitter that he does.

  5. Mason - Thanks for sharing this story. The bond between animals and their humans can be such a powerful one! It sounds as though this story captures that.

  6. I want to read "Fester", but know I'll cry my eyes out. That said, some things are worth it.

  7. I love stories about animals. Sounds positively delightful :)

  8. it sounds delightful, I almost wish I didn't read this because I have a giant stack to get through yet!

  9. Cats are really adorable, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post.



I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.