This is an irresistible book! The title itself grabbed me right from the second I heard it. The Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten: Even More Tales from the Accidental Veterinarian by Philipp Schott, DVM, published by ECW Press, is a small book with big adventures awaiting its reading public. Dr. Schott has 30 years in veterinary practice under his belt, but, make no mistake, this man can write a story. The Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten is the third book in his bestselling series and the first one I have read. It is a book housing “… over 60 heartwarming, funny, and adorable stories about angry pelicans, bug-eyed goldfish, and plenty of cats and dogs.” (back cover)
In the first chapter, Affenpinscher to Zwergpinscher, Schott gives the reader a bit of background as to why he refers to himself as “the Accidental Veterinarian”. When his family emigrated to Canada from Germany with young Philipp, he was not exposed to many animals. His parents where not interested in having dogs, cats, or ANY pets in the house, although his father was somewhat of a bird whisperer. “My father was passionate about birds and impressed me when they landed on his outstretched hand. He claimed that, according to German legend, because he was born on a Sunday, he had the gift of being able to talk to birds.” (p 3) Schott wonders if his love of animals is genetic? Then the author offers that his life was changed by his early ability to read voraciously. The Saskatoon Library was the only place to feed this hunger. And feed it he did! He had exhaustedly devoured shelves of books in his age-range and moved on to the teen and young adult sections. Feeding on books alphabetically, it is on the D shelf that he scores. Finding an illustrated dog breed guide book, young Philipp Schott was hooked and his destiny lay before him.
In the first story from The Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten, we get a picture of Schott as a child, then we are fast-forwarded to adulthood. As a youngster, he covers the library shelves in alphabetical order and as an adult, he has arranged this book of short stories, well, alphabetically. Each short tale is about 5 pages long, some of them having very cute illustrations by Brian Gable, and all are told independently. This means the reader can jump around to any story at random and have a wonderful addition to your day. One can also read big chunks of the book, as I did, adding a very pleasant feeling to your being. Schott’s writing style is conversational, so while reading, it feels like sitting with him as he tells tale after tale. The Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten is brimming with information, delivered in a Three Bears way – just right. I found out where Guinea Pigs come from originally and why they are called “pigs” (The Song of the Guinea Pig), what happens when the zoo calls to order up an ultrasound for their pelican (Pelican Surprise), and sat spellbound in the story from which the book gets its title, The Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten:
“Mr. Charles gingerly opened the carrier’s door while making quiet cooing noises. Surpercat shrieked at him and tried to swat his hand. ‘Ooh, he’s really mad today!’ He pulled his hand back. ‘Here, let me try.’ I don’t know why I said that. … As I leaned forwards, Supercat put his ears back flat and stared at me with an intensity that signalled a level of hatred two steps beyond loathing. He was quiet in that moment, but I could sense his battle cry gathering strength within. … Supercat let out an ear-piercing caterwaul and leapt forwards, smacking my hand with a velocity that made his paws blur. … I pulled my hand back as if I had touched a hot stove. He had his claws out. There were four parallel red lines on the back of my hand, each beginning to sport tiny red beads of blood. ‘Wow, he’s fast! I said’”.(p 12)
Believe me, there’s more to this story!
Whatever your interest in the animal world, this book will have you engaged completely. From the first story to the last, Dr. Philipp Schott keeps my interest, answers my questions and delights me page after page. My heart was warmed many times over. Pick up a copy of The Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten by Philipp Schott, DVM and enter his world, from his end of the stethoscope. He is a bright light to us humans, and is clearly devoted to his animal universe. “… [I spend time thinking about] multi-dimensional individuals with deeply interesting lives and stories. As real animals and as real people. I love this about my job. This is life. This is veterinary medicine.” (p 262)
Philipp Schott grew up in Saskatoon, where he studied veterinary medicine. He is now chief of staff at a large pet hospital in Winnipeg, MB. He lives with three humans and four animals in a creaky old house on the river. The Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten is his fifth book.
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