When I learned of the book, My Street Cats, by Raphaella Bilski, I couldn’t resist reading it. This dear lady has been caring for stray and feral cats in her home and garden for years and knows them each as individuals. Read my review about this informative, heartwarming book and take a look inside for yourself using the previewer below.

Raphaella was also kind enough to share about her book and her life with street cats in a written interview you can read here – one of my favorites.

My Street Cats by Raphaella Bilski

Raphaella Bilksi My Street Cats

In the book, My Street Cats: Their Personalities and Social Behavior, author Raphaella Bilski describes the life of her local street cat community and her involvement with these cats. She shares stories about cats that visited or took up residence in her garden, telling of their personalities, social structure and their interactions with each other. She also tells of her relationships with the cats, and her worries, joys, and care of them.

I learned a lot from reading this book, and enjoyed reading the stories of her most memorable and beloved feline visitors. I was happily surprised by how she and the cats formed relationships with each other. Her devoted and unselfish care of them always revolved around what was in their best interests, even if that increased her worry and sorrow, which it often did.

I found myself wondering more than once if I could have put my emotional needs second to their needs like Raphaella did.

Indeed, there were many tears shed in the 14 years of sharing her home, garden, and front yard with hundreds of cats. The lives of street cats are much shorter than house cats, even when they have plenty of food and a safe place to sleep in cat-friendly gardens. They are subject to weather, injury and disease. It was surprising that so many kittens succumbed to death within their first few months of life. Adult cats don’t usually live beyond 8 or so years. Another very sad, but common cause of death in Jerusalem is cars.

“I’ve often seen drivers slow down and even stop the car if they see a dog in the middle of the road. However, when there’s a cat in the road, many drivers ignore it. They continue driving without stopping or slowing down and run over the cat.

Why is that? Who decided that a dog’s life is worth more than a cat’s life? Clearly these are perverted social norms that have no place in any moral code. Morality demands one thing, and people’s behavior is something else entirely.”

What I found most interesting as I read the stories was how these cats interacted with each other and with the author. I didn’t realize they had a definite social structure within their community and that until spay/neuter became the norm, there was always a male cat leader.

I loved reading about how mother cats brought their kittens to Raphaella’s front door when they were sick or they needed help feeding their kittens. There were even mother cats who helped each other nurse and care for their kittens. People aren’t the only ones who enjoy a babysitter break!

my street cats raphaella bilski
Cats in Raphaella’s garden

My Street Cats shatters a big myth about street cats – that they do not bond with people. Many of the feral cats who called Raphaella’s garden home engaged with her in a variety of ways. Once she earned their trust they would rub up against her, snuggle nearby, have kittens in her basement, or in some cases, let her pet them. They ate with her nearby, slept in sleeping places she provided, and accepted care from her when needed. I was so touched reading about how they come to her when they needed medical attention or refuge.  A few cats even venture into the garden pergolas and her home and make themselves comfortable on the furniture.

My Street Cats is a definite must read for cat lovers and anyone interested in learning about the personalities and social behavior of stray cats. Raphaella Bilski’s love for these cats and her unwavering dedication to their welfare is evident from the first word to the last. It is heartwarming, inspirational, and offers a perspective on the lives of cats that few humans get to glimpse. This is a book you can read right through or take your time and enjoy it story by story.

Proceeds from My Street Cats benefit Israels’ street cats and Feline Infectious Peritonitis research. Get your kindle or paperback copy on Amazon. Thank you for helping cats in need.

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What do you think ? Share your opinions and insights in the comments below. Thanks!

My Street Cats by Raphaella Bilski – Book Review

18 thoughts on “My Street Cats by Raphaella Bilski – Book Review

  • May 12, 2015 at 11:27 pm
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    Bless her for taking care of feral kitties! I’m a huge fan of TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return). So much better than ending up in a municipal shelter! Ferals deserve to be loved & cared for – as much as they’ll allow you to care for them anyway LOL!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Reply
    • May 14, 2015 at 7:45 am
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      I agree Cathy! Today there is no question in my mind that TNR is the only way to go if we are to seriously improve the well-being of existing feral and stray cats and reduce the number of unwanted kittens condemned to a short and brutish life on the streets. The community of cats described in “My Street Cats” came about before there was any awareness of TNR in Israel, or organizations that could help me with the cats. As awareness grew, I caught the cats that I could and had them ‘fixed’, but there were still many who could only be caught by a professional, and they were often too cruel for me to call them. But things are different now. All the cats that I feed today are neutered and spayed. This is also why there is no longer a community of cats, since there are no families around which to form a community. But it’s still better for the cats. Having experienced both realities, I can responsibly say that I support TNR wholeheartedly.

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      • May 15, 2015 at 3:23 pm
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        I wholly support TNR too! Removing feral cats doesn’t help because it’s been demonstrated that if you remove feral cats from a cat colony, more feral cats will simply move in on the territory. Better to spay/neuter and care for (as best you can) the cats you already have and let them live happily & pass away naturally. Thanks for responding to my comments Val & Raphaella! If you are interested here’s a link to the post I did about my sister’s feral cats, whom she has come to love! http://dogsluvusandweluvthem.blogspot.com/2014/10/stray-cats-in-hood-driving-you-crazy.html

  • May 13, 2015 at 7:01 am
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    I so agree, Cathy.

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    • May 15, 2015 at 5:46 pm
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      Thanks for dropping by. I found the book very interesting and heartwarming.

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    • May 16, 2015 at 2:19 pm
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      Thanks for the kind words! And yes, huskies are AMAZING! BTW, my best friend has a 2-year-old border collie called Kim whom I absolutely adore. She knows she has to bring him over whenever she comes to visit. 🙂

      Reply
  • May 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm
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    Thank you for sharing this awesome book. I think I would enjoy reading, “My Street Cats”. It would be interesting to read about the interactions between the cats with each other, and the interactions between the cats and the author.

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    • May 16, 2015 at 1:15 pm
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      You’re welcome! I found it very enlightening.

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    • May 16, 2015 at 2:16 pm
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      Thank you! I do hope you enjoy the book. I bet that as a travel animal doctor you’ve got a few stories of your own to tell!

      Reply
  • May 17, 2015 at 11:20 am
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    This sounds like an interesting book. We had a lot of ferals in our neighborhood when we moved in 15 years ago, but not very many now. Our own cat was a stray cat that we eventually moved into the house.

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  • May 17, 2015 at 10:51 pm
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    I love TNR! I used to live somewhere with a lot of stray cats and I loved it! I befriended two of them and one of them had kittens. We found homes for all of them and I kept one 🙂

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    • May 18, 2015 at 7:03 am
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      So kind of you to find them homes. And of course one of them was yours. Amazing how they worm their ways into our hearts:)

      Reply
  • May 26, 2015 at 9:25 am
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    I enjoyed the review and thought I already commented but can’t see anything. We believe in TNR too (or rescue if little kittens dumped) . We found some kittens abandoned on the street near our local park and kept one. She lived a great life with us until last year 17.5 years. Also rescued four from the street in Chile (one little one from the mouth of a dog).

    Reply
    • May 26, 2015 at 5:46 pm
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      Hi Talent Hounds, sorry for the loss of your cat – 17.5 years, how wonderful. BTW – you commented on the interview. I was so taken with Raphaella and her book that I posted a review AND and interview.

      Reply
  • June 10, 2015 at 5:15 am
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    This sounds like a really interesting read – it must be so very different caring for cats who live on the streets.

    Reply
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