The Adventures of Boris & Olga
Boris, a stray kitten rescued from the city streets, finds his forever home on the farm of his dreams!
There, with his sassy older sister, Olga, they explore the farmstead and all it has to offer. Through the antics and adventures of these two adorable cats, you’ll meet an array of animals, both wild and domestic. Among the interesting characters are Boris and Olga’s silly brother, Charlie the Dog, and their friends Gus the Squirrel, Charlotte the Horse, Zeke the Mallard Duck, and the Holstein Heifers, Betsy and Ellie Mae.
You will learn alongside Boris as he is taught about his new life. You will get the chance to discover farm activities, including how hay is made and the process of milking cows, and amazing facts, like why birds migrate. You will be able to hunt for frogs, climb a Christmas tree, and even go to the vet.
Come discover the things that fascinate a feline and experience it through the eyes of the cat himself!
This chapter book is designed to teach children about animals and the world around them, targeting ages 6 to 13. It was devised to help children to have empathy for all living things while finding a realistic acceptance of nature. Some things are happy and humorous, while others are not. Educational and entertaining, this collection of feline adventures is an enjoyable read for children and adults alike!
From J.M. Northup
The Forever Home
I was found on a dirty street, drenched with rain. I looked like a drowned rat, and being a cat, that was pretty bad. I was a bit shabby from my lack of care, and I felt really itchy. It was like I was being bitten all over my body, but I couldn’t make it stop.
Fleas, someone told me. They said I had “the fleas,” whatever that meant. Whatever it was, it didn’t seem like it was a good thing. I mean, just mentioning the word “fleas” made everyone scattered. They would yell at me to “stay away,” and then they’d dash off into the other direction.
This left me with no one to talk to. I had a lot of questions I wanted to ask, but no one to answer them. I was just a little kitten, alone in the big world.
I had a family once. I had a mama, two brothers, and a sister. Unfortunately, sometimes, bad things happen in life. At least I had some bad things happen in my life, and that was how I got stranded by myself.
We had been living near a pond in the park, but my mama wanted to move my litter. Where we were living didn’t offer enough food to all the animals in the area. Mama said she had found a “safer spot” that was next to a restaurant. She said that we’d have better access to food if we moved, preventing any more of us from dying due to starvation, as my brother had.
The day we tried to move, mama managed to get me across the busy roadway, carrying me in her mouth. Sadly, I was the only one who made it across the street. When mama tried to carry my other brother across, a big car hit them!
I wanted to run back into the street to help them. I wanted to do something, but all I could do was shake in the grass. Mother had told me to “stay put,” and I wanted to be a good little kitten by obeying my momma. Besides, the cars were going too fast for my little legs. It didn’t matter, though, because there was nothing I could do.
My mom and brother died that day. The accident left me alone on one side of the road and my sister on the other. We didn’t know what to do or how to reach one another. We just stared at each other for a very long time, meowing across the big expanse of the road.
I was scared to move at first. After all, my mother had told me to wait where I was. Still, my instincts told me that I had to go. My tummy grumbled, and I needed to find food, as well as shelter.
I was worried about my sister, but she had already left. She told me she loved me and that she was going back to our old home site. I never saw her after that, but I imagine her in a warm home with a special human who gives her lots of scratches. Oh, how I would love some scratches.
Scratches. Fleas – Ugh! I just couldn’t scratch the fleas away. I wish I had a human.
When the man picked me up, I wasn’t sure if I should bite him or not. He seemed like he was nice the way he was petting me, but I had heard bad things about his truck. When he started to scratch me, I stopped worrying about his vehicle. He seemed to know right where the fleas were hiding, and he made them stop biting me, at least for a moment.
The man kept me distracted with his affectionate rubs and soothing scratches. They felt so good, and I purred so loudly that I didn’t realize he was tricking me. It wasn’t until the last moment when I realized the man had carried me over to the dreaded truck. Oh, no! I guess, maybe, I should have bitten him after all.
I don’t know what I did wrong, but the man put me into a weird box located on the side of the ominous van. The box was made of metal, and it was built inside of the scary vehicle. I didn’t like it one bit! No, sir, not one bit!
It smelled bad, too. It smelled like fear and urine. I’ve been told that humans don’t smell the same way as us cats do, but we really do smell fear, just like dogs. That fear can make you so frightened that you urinate.
I guess I would’ve peed, too, if I hadn’t been so dehydrated. I mean, I was really afraid! What was that man planning to do with me?
I wondered how he would’ve felt if I had peed? Would he have been ashamed of himself for having scared me so badly? Ugh, I couldn’t believe he tricked me like that. Worse yet, the fleas were biting again. Could my day get any worse?
The answer was yes, yes it could get worse. I should never have asked. I jinxed myself. I was always doing that. I wanted to say it was because the fleas distracted me with their constant nipping, but that’d be a lie. It was because I was too curious a kitten.
I loved adventures, and I just had to see what was going to happen next. I couldn’t help it; there were just too many new things to investigate in the world. I sighed, frustrated with myself.
Thanks to my curious nature, I was stuck in a box – a box that’s moving! I tried to grip my claws into the floor beneath me for support, but it was too hard for my nails to poke into. I sort of slid around and somehow ended up turning upside down and lopsided.
How did that happen? What was causing all this commotion? Why did the stupid box have to move? I hoped I didn’t get pee on me!
When we finally stopped moving, and the man opened the door to my cage, I looked at him with wide eyes. I didn’t want to make the same mistake of trusting him again. I was so upset by the whole incident that I cowered as far back in the little box as I could, hissing in complaint.
The man just ignored my growls and reached in to grab me by the back of my neck, scruffing me. It was unpleasant, but it didn’t hurt. I was used to being scruffed because that was how my mother carried me. Still, I yelled at him and tried to knock his hand away from me, but he held on.
What the man did next was completely unfair. He totally cheated – he did! He started to scratch the fleas again, and all I could do was purr. I didn’t see that one coming; nope, not one bit. I was putty in his hands. I cursed those fleas for making me so weak!
Curse you fleas!
The man carried me into this red brick building we had parked next to. When we walked inside, my senses were assaulted; noise bombarded my ears and strange smells flooded my nose. I wasn’t sure where we were, but it was a frightening place.
I hadn’t thought the truck was bad until I’d been placed inside that little box. Then, I was terrified by the motion and the uncertain future I’d find with the strong man. Being in the red brick building, I was so scared that I tried to cling to what I knew for comfort.
I tried to cuddle up closer to the man as he carried me. I could hear other animals barking and meowing. They sounded so distressed that even the man’s scratches didn’t seem to help relax me. I was too tense and anxious about my fear.
Over the next few hours, I found out why no one liked the man to put them in his truck. It was because they knew he’d bring them here, to this prison. They knew that only bad things happened here – things you couldn’t control or stop; things that, sometimes, hurt.
A few people had fussed over me once the man released me from his grip. These people pushed me around and flipped me over. They poked and prodded me, even in spots I’d rather not mention! They made such a ruckus that I didn’t even see the man leave.
The new people cut my nails and hair then lathered me up in some smelly stuff. Once they got me all covered, they dunked me in water – can you imagine? Water; me, a cat! Who puts a cat into a bath of water?
Crazy people, that’s who! Crazy people who don’t believe you when you tell them you already licked yourself clean. I mean, I’m a cat, so I prune myself. I didn’t want nor need their help.
Okay, yeah, I admit it felt good when they brushed me out and cleaned my ears. They did reward me for good behavior with treats, too. It’s sort of hard to complain when you have a full tummy, don’t you think? Still, it’s not impossible because every time they did something I liked, they did something I hated.
They stuck me several times with something they called a “shot.” I don’t know if you’ve ever had a shot before, but it isn’t something I’d recommend. They said it wouldn’t hurt and that I’d be okay, but they were wrong. Well, partly wrong anyway. It did hurt, but I’ll give them the “I’m okay” part of their promise.
Well, maybe I should give them even more credit than that. I mean, whatever they did seemed to help stop the fleas. No, really; it did! I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. I even saw some of the fleas fall off me! Yeah, right off; just like that.
One flea landed next to my paw, and I watched it for a moment. I wanted to see what it would do, and I prepared myself to bat it away if it jumped at me again. Surprisingly enough, it didn’t jump.
It didn’t do anything, actually. It was dead! I didn’t know that was possible? I thought, once you got the fleas, that was it, but no. These humans killed them. Yeah, I know – it still blows my mind!
Oh, I’m not sad about it, and you shouldn’t be, either. The fleas are horrible things. I guess I’m okay with the things those humans did to me since they rid me of the pesky bugs, ending my torture. I seriously thought I was going to go crazy from all that biting and endless scratching.
After the eventful time with the people who killed the fleas, I was put into another metal box. I scolded them and told them that they needed to stop locking me inside cages, but no one listened to me. Thankfully, this box never moved. It was also bigger than the first one. It had an open wall with a built-in door made of lines of metal. There were openings between the lines so that I could see outside of the box. That was nice, too.
I wondered if I could squeeze out through the spaces, but the holes were too tiny, even for a little kitten, like me. I know, I tried; couldn’t do it. I could stick my paw out though, so at least I had that.
There were other cats in similar boxes all around me. I tried to make myself feel better by reminding myself that I wasn’t alone anymore, and no one was running away from me. I didn’t have fleas to chase anyone away, so I just decided to ask the cat next to me about this place and what I could expect to happen.
I asked, “Where are we? What are these weird boxes and why can’t we get out?”
The other kitty was grumpy. I couldn’t blame him because I wasn’t happy, either. He was nice, though. I mean, despite his crabbiness, he still answers all my questions.
He said, “This is the humane society. This is where humans imprison you until you can find someone to give you a forever home.”
“A forever home?” I asked. “What’s that?”
“It’s when a person or family sees you and decides to love you. They take you home with them, and you get to stay forever.”
“Wow,” my mind was blown. A forever home sounded great! I wanted one. I wanted one right now! “When does that happen?”
“First, you have to stay in this room until the people know you aren’t sick or mean. Then, when they’re certain you’re not sick and that you’re a well-behaved kitty, they move you out there; through that door.”
I hadn’t noticed the door before. It was big and had a small window towards the top of it. I wanted to look through the window so bad. I wanted to know what was on the other side. I told you I was a curious kitty!
“What’s through that door?” I wondered.
“The adoption room,” the unhappy cat snarled.
“Have you been there before?” I asked the crabby feline.
“Yes,” he hissed at me. “I’ve been there before.”
“And what happened? Why didn’t you get a forever home?” I asked curiously.
I realized that I probably shouldn’t have asked him why he didn’t have a forever home, but I was fascinated. I wanted to know what I could look forward to. Plus, I figured that his grumpiness might have something to do with this “forever home” he was talking about.
“A kid was pulling my tail really hard, so I bit him. The people said I needed more time and that I wasn’t ready for adoption yet,” he told me sadly. “They moved me back here, and I’ve been here ever since.”
“I’m sorry,” I told him. “How long have you been here?”
I started to have a bad feeling. I mean, what if I got sent back here, being told I wasn’t ready for adoption? How long would I have to stay here?
“I’ve been here three whole days,” the cantankerous feline meowed sorrowfully.
Feeling anxious, I asked, “You’ll get to go back out there soon, though, right?”
The cranky kitty just sighed and said, “I don’t know.”
“You seem ready to me. I’d have bitten a kid if they pulled my tail, too. Surely, the people can understand that.”
“I don’t know if they do. I don’t know if I will ever get to go back out there,” he told me in a quiet voice.
For the first time, I felt really worried. “What happens if you don’t get to go back out there? What happens if you never get a forever home?”
The unhappy cat looked at me sadly and said, “If that happened, you go into the room over there.”
“What’s in that room?” I asked fearfully.
“I don’t know, but no one ever comes back out.”
I thought about what that kitty told me. I thought about it so much that I couldn’t sleep. I was too afraid. The constant sounds of all the other animals in the humane society didn’t help, either, but I knew they were afraid, too.
I was sure we all wanted to get out into the “adoption room” and get selected to be a part of a “forever home.” Still, that was a scary endeavor, too. I mean, what if no one likes me or wants to take me home with them?
I wondered how I would feel if I saw someone taking a different cat home, leaving me here. I would be happy for those other animals getting homes, but I would wonder what I had done that no one wanted me. After all, I’m a good kitty, too!
Thinking about it, I knew that I’d feel bad inside if that happened. Everyone wants to be loved and included. It was worse when you were picked up, just about to be chosen and then put back down; passed over. That would hurt anyone’s feelings. I could see why the cat was so grumpy now.
This poor feline had made it out to the adoption room but then was pulled back to this depressing, smelly room. That must have really hurt his feelings. Poor tomcat!
I didn’t want to know what was inside that “other” room or why no one ever came back out. I hoped there was a back door that they took you through on the other side, but I didn’t think there was. Sometimes, bad things happened to good kitties, and I was sure that bad things happened behind that other door!
I laid there, hoping with all my heart that someone would rescue me. I hoped that I could get a forever home. I guess I didn’t even mind if the people were nice or not. I was used to taking care of myself. I could handle it. I was certain that any home was better than whatever was behind that other door.
The next day, I felt so tired. I felt like I had run laps around the tree in the park. I know how that feels because I did it once. Okay, maybe twice. Yeah, you caught me – I liked to do it a lot.
Anyway, the next day, I was relieved when both the crabby kitty and I were taken through the big door and put up for adoption. Not only was this my big chance to find a forever home, but the grumpy cat had another chance, too. That was good because I think everyone deserves a second chance, don’t you?
“I knew you’d get back out here,” I meowed happily to my once cranky friend.
“You sure did,” he chirped.
It was amazing to see how different he seemed. He wasn’t in a bad mood at all. He was all frisky and playful with his tail twitching this way and that. It was nice to see him so excited and happy.
“I hope you get your forever home, today,” I said as I stretched out as long as my body could go.
It felt so good to be in a larger enclosure. I enjoyed the open space so much that I even lifted my front paw to get a deeper extension. My back cracked with the stretch and I purred softly, feeling content.
“Yeah, you too,” my kitty friend told me. “Oh, and remember, don’t bite!”
I slowly blinked twice at him in appreciation. That was very thoughtful, and I would remember to heed his advice. “Don’t bite” was a good motto for anyone; cat or dog. It was a good motto for really any animal unless you were hungry. If you’re hungry, then all bets are off because you must bite to eat. Oh, eating sounded so good!
I scanned the area for grub and found it next to the water. This place was fantastic! I felt like the king of the jungle with the luxury of food and water both. If only I could get a forever home; then my life would be complete!
A young girl came over to where I had curled up. Being as tired as I was, I just felt like napping a bit. I’m sure you understand, but I no sooner made myself comfortable, and this human child started talking to me. She called her parents over to see me, and they all stared at me. Of course, I had to stare back. It would’ve been rude of me not to!
When the little human clicked her tongue at me and beckoned me towards her, I decided to go. I told you I’m curious; I had no choice. Besides, she was so cute, and I liked how she kept calling me Boris. Yeah, I liked that a lot!
I’d never had a name before. I didn’t realize how good it felt to have someone love you enough to call you something, either. Plus, I thought she nailed it when she chose the name, Boris Gregori; “Bori” for short. It was a great name.
When I got to where the girl was, she reached out to touch me. I let her pet me and found I was glad I did because she gave me the best scratches I’d ever had in my life. That was when a female kitty called out in warning from somewhere behind me.
She said, “Be careful, young one. Humans are fickle things, and they’ll easily break your heart. Don’t get too excited.”
“But, she seems so sweet,” I meowed back without looking. The human girl mesmerized me.
“That’s how they get you,” the feline growled.
“No, no,” I protested. “I don’t think that’s true.”
I couldn’t listen to that female feline. This was my girl, and these people were my family. I just knew it. I could feel it, which made me so happy.
“I know they’re my forever home,” I insisted while the girl cat turned and walked away from me.
“Oh, Mom! Dad!” the pretty human girl called to the big humans with her. “Look how handsome he is!”
“I love how his grey is accented with his white markings,” her mom said. “His tail is striped with a dark grey on lighter grey, kind of like a raccoon.”
“It’s so pretty, don’t you think?” I liked the sound of the girl’s voice.
“Uh-huh,” her mom agreed with a warm smile.
“He’s a good-looking cat, but he’s going to get big,” her dad noted. “I mean, look at those large paws of his!”
“That’s what I love about him!” the girl said, and I couldn’t help smiling.
It felt good to hear her compliment me, and I was glad to know she liked me! Her mom seemed to like me, too. It seemed like only her dad had reservations about me, which made me wonder if that girl kitty had been right. I began to purr.
“Listen to that,” the human, called ‘dad,’ said with excitement. “I can hear him all the way over here.”
“Oh! I love him,” the girl said kindly.
When the girl took me in her arms and held me close, I knew I was right. This was my person, and I was going to have a name and place to belong and someone to love me. I was going to my very own forever home!
Lisa’s Book Reviews
This book should appeal to 5th grade and above, though younger children will love it too, only that they’d need help reading it. It would make for a great storybook to read a chapter every night at bedtime.
And one of the more amazing elements about this book is the mere fact that you don’t have to be a cat lover to love this book.”
Belongs in Every Young Person’s Library
“Feline Fascinations: The Adventures of Boris and Olga by J.M. Northup is more than a young person’s story book. First of all, the writing and dialogue is wonderful. The amount of research that went into these stories overall is far-reaching. The author thanks the man who provided much of the farm life information. This shows a collaboration that must have been long and tedious but it helps to breathe life into the actions of the characters. It made the setting and background come alive for me. It shows the care taken by the author to write exactly what the book needed to include.
Additionally, the author shows an understanding of situations in human life and how they play out and resolve. This shows up in how life’s lessons and interaction happen between the animal characters. The main characters are, of course, cats. This is a book for young children. While each story is separate unto itself, each story carries the book forward. I can see this book being read to children in an on-going basis, perhaps as each season approaches and passes as they do in the stories. Children have a way of identifying with animals. It is my belief that in doing so with these stories, children will learn valuable lessons in how to act and react and how to treat others in real life.
This is a wonderful book for young children. It’s entertaining while possibly instilling emotional and moral values in the young. I highly recommend this book to those who read to their children. I also highly recommend it to young children who read on their own. And I wholeheartedly give it 5 stars.“