Today, I’m delighted to be reviewing Deborah Barnes’ book Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond, which introduces us to Mr Jazz, a Ragdoll cat that came into Deborah’s life as a sickly kitten and with whom she shared a special bond. In a house filled with love, Mr Jazz thrives and the book chronicles his daily life and his interactions with the other pets in the household including the older, wiser Kit and the Golden Retriever dog, Bailey. Mr Jazz also talks about the changes in his human’s lives – moving from New York to Florida, a divorce, a new cat ‘daddy’, house renovations, job losses and how cats, just like humans learn to adapt.
After he turns 15 years old, Mr Jazz stops grooming himself so frequently, he starts to lose weight and he has a few ‘accidents’ outside the litter box. Mr Jazz realises that his time to go to the Rainbow Bridge is getting closer, so he asks Harley, another cat in the house to help him prepare the humans so he can make that journey as peacefully as possible.
Knowing when to say goodbye is always a difficult decision, but Deborah discusses this with great compassion. Anyone who has ever loved and lost a pet will be all too familiar with the pain and grief associated with letting go and saying goodbye to a beloved animal companion. Whilst the bereavement journey is unique to every individual and every cat, it is comforting to know that others have been through it too, and they understand both the emotions you are processing and the profound sense of loss you are experiencing.
At the end of the book there’s a practical Guide to Coping with Pet Loss, where Deborah talks about the uniqueness of each and every situation, the cycles of grief and what to expect, and the importance of remembering that you are not alone, many people around the world can relate to what you are going through.
Purr Prints of the Heart is a heartwarming story of love and loss. Beautifully narrated, it’ll have you smiling with understanding and in places it’ll make you cry. So have that box of tissues handy! I have a young feline family right now, but there will come a time (hopefully many years into the future) when I will seek it out to read again. I’d happily recommend this book to friends going through the loss of a beloved pet.
Questions with Deborah
There are many ways to celebrate the life of pets who have gone to the Rainbow Bridge, some people plant memorial gardens, others hang their favourite photos. How do you keep the memories of Mr Jazz and Harley alive?
I keep their memories alive in a number of ways, although I must admit with Harley it is much more difficult, as I am still trying to process her loss. Writing is one of the biggest ways I keep the memories alive – they both remain a large part of my blog, Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicles, and even though they are gone in the physical sense, they are still in my heart and part of my daily life. I frequently incorporate memories of them through pictures when I blog and they also remain part of the design aspect of anything I do socially, only with a halo over their heads to signify angel status. I also have a spot in the living room where I keep their ashes. Each of them has a beautiful box that I have decorated with a favorite picture and I also keep a special framed picture of each of them in my office so that I can “chat” with them whenever I feel the need.
What’s your response when people ask you how long after the passing of a beloved cat should they wait until they add another feline to their family?
That is a very personal question that does not have a “one-size-fits-all” answer. It truly depends on the circumstances of the heart and household. For example, if someone lost an only pet, their heart might feel so empty that they feel the need for a companion right away to help ease the loneliness. For others, it could be a process that takes months, or even years. People tend to be intuitive and usually can “feel” when the time is right. The key thing to keep in mind is that you are not replacing the cat that has passed, but rather opening your heart to a completely individual and different companion. And sometimes it is the cats themselves that know when you are ready – I can’t tell you how many times in my life after one of my cats has passed, that another has appeared out of nowhere – seemingly knowing it was time!
What’s next for you as an author?
I do have several book ideas in mind. Two of them will be about cats and one of them will be more of an introspective and humorous take on life in general, similar to the genre of the late Erma Bombeck. It’s just the matter of finding the time to put pen to paper! I also will be a contributing author in the second volume of the Resuced series by Janiss Garza of FitCat Publishing. I will be sharing the story of how my rescue cat, Jazmine, came to be as told through the eyes of my late cat, Mr. Jazz.
WIN a Copy of ‘Purr Prints of the Heart’
Deborah has generously offered ONE lucky Pawesome Cats reader the chance to win a copy of Purr Prints of the Heart. Enter via the Rafflecopter entry form below.
- The book giveaway is open to International readers.
- The winner will be announced on this page and contacted by the email provided.
- If not claimed within 7 days, the prize will be redrawn.
About the Author
- Deborah Barnes resides in the tropical paradise of South Florida with her fiancé and feline family of seven.
- She is the author of the 5-star rated books, The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary and Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond as well as the award winning blog, Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicles that continues to cover the everyday journey she shares with her cats along with topics from the humorous behaviors of cats to very serious subjects on pet responsibility.
- Deborah was awarded 2013 “Writer of the Year” by Friskies Purina on behalf of the Cat Writers’ Association.
- She is also the Secretary of the nonprofit, Pawsitively Humane, Inc. of Miami, Florida, whose mission is to create public awareness and reduce the numbers of animals on the streets and in shelters through an extensive educational campaign.
Purr Prints of the Heart retails for $15.95 in soft copy and $4.99 in electronic versions. Please click here to read book reviews along with information on purchasing options. If you would like an autographed copy for yourself or as a gift for someone (all books ordered directly include a custom bookmark and tissue wrap), please email Deborah at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
DISCLOSURE: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for our honest review.