Written in collaboration with his students in a Toronto-based school, this story is about a boy named Taylor who has moved from a small town in Ontario to the big city of Toronto. On his way home from school with a new friend, he discovers a cat colony in a junkyard and takes an interest in the cats living there. Taylor soon discovers that the junkyard is being redeveloped into condominiums. Taylor, with help from friends, his teacher and a security guard, comes up with a plan to save the cats.
The book explores the concept of unowned or feral cats and the difference people can make through compassion and working together.
Why use this book?
- demonstrates the care and compassion a young boy has for cats in the community
- celebrates the diversity of students in the school and community
- brings awareness to the issue of unowned cats
- introduces the concept of anthropomorphism (attributing human qualities to animals)
- encourages young people to make a difference
Notes for teachers:
- Some areas of the book promote misconceptions. I.e.: Feeding cats bread (which is not nutritious), and bones (which can be dangerous for cats to ingest).
- There are some interactions with wildlife in the book – students should keep their distance and leave wildlife alone.
- (Other notes highlighted in resource below)
More info for teachers:
- The BC SPCA has novel study guide which includes a backgrounder on pet overpopulation and feral or community cats. Some sections of the book perpetuate myths about cats, and not all aspects in the novel were realistic, however exploring these can help bolster critical thinking skills while learning more about animal issues. https://teachbcdb.bctf.ca/download/390?filename=bc-scpa-catboy-novel-study.pdf
- Eric Walter’s follow up to Catboy is the same story but from the perspective of one of the cats, Hunter