The first thing one notices when picking the book Fairminded Fran and the Three Small Black Community Cats, is Kathy Abney’s illustration of three little cats. These little cats, however, have a very distinctive feature: their left ear is tipped. To people involved in trap-neuter-return (TNR), this might be a common sight, but not so for the general public. This small detail is in fact reflective of the accuracy of this children book.
The book takes us into the journey that is TNR and teaches to respect the nature of the cat, in this case feral cats. Fairminded Fran could be any of you, who one day discover a few feral kittens in your garden. As many members of the public, Fairminded Fran wants to help them, but does not know how. With her teacher, she finally finds support from the local TNR group and the kittens are neutered and returned to their environment where they are cared for by Dan, the maintenance man.
Although this little book is aimed at children, it is as much educative for adults as it is for kids. A lot of people are not aware that something can be done for feral cats and, thus, do nothing. Fairminded Fran shows that there are groups out there who can help and highlights how much a community can do for the cats by getting together.
From an animal welfare perspective, the book explains accurately what is TNR and how to care for feral cats. Fairminded Fran does not succumb to her initial emotions and understands well that taking the kittens out of their environment is not the solution. Instead of falling into drama, Linda Elder is rational and her story educates about the nature of feral cats and the care they should receive.
Fairminded Fran and the Three Small Black Community Cats should be owned by every library as a way to highlight the plight of feral cats to the general public and educate about what can be done. It is equally instructive for people involved in animal welfare, who often forget to take into consideration the nature of a feral cat.
Win Fairminded Fran and the Three Small Black Community Cats by taking part in our January Photo Competition; you will also be helping some feral cats by doing so!
You can also order this book online by visiting the Foundation for Critical Thinking website.