WARWICK SMITH / Stuff
Kathy Gabriel from Levin has published a book about her cat Floyd who has a habit of collecting clothes and other things around the neighborhood.
A ginger cat from a town in Horowhenua with a knack for bringing home all kinds of neighborhood items inspired a children’s book.
Kathy Gabriel’s book, Floyd, Grandma’s Kleptomaniac Cat, is based on her two-year-old cat who ventures out to Levin at night in search of presents.
A few months after its release, Gabriel was “absolutely delighted” with the book, which had made three printings, or about 200 copies so far.
Kleptomania is the inability to resist the urge to steal things that are unnecessary and usually of little value.
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She said Floyd’s habit started with bringing home leaves and twigs, but spread to shoes, bras, tops, shorts, socks and more.
Floyd had to jump a three-foot-high fence with whatever object he had in his mouth when he got home, once scaling the fence with a size 13 work boot in tow.
The gifts were then placed in the living room, or on the doorstep if it was too big to fit through the cat flap.
Gabriel said they were gifts for her and if she was away on a weekend, Floyd wouldn’t bring anything home.
She now hung Floyd’s late-night finds on her fence so those in the neighborhood could pick up whatever belonged to them.
Gabriel was quite embarrassed by it at first, but Floyd’s antics had allowed him to get to know his neighbors better, and they had all taken it heartily.
“Everyone was really in good spirits about it, I was very lucky.”
She started posting photos on her Facebook page, then opened up social media pages for Floyd, before a cousin suggested writing a book about him.
Gabriel was an artist, she made sculptures and jewelry, but had never done a writing project like this.
The book was written with her young grandchildren in mind, and it was originally just for them, but she was encouraged to try self-publishing.
“The book is about community, it’s about this silly cat that connected the neighborhood.
“It’s a great feel-good story in the world we live in right now.”
She worked with Precise Print at Paraparaumu, and they had done three prints since the book’s release in February.
Illustrator Garry Fox worked on the book with Gabriel. She said Fox captured Floyd perfectly, bringing out his quirky personality.
Gabriel had written two other book drafts on Floyd.
Floyd had a brother, Ted, who did not share his brother’s tendencies to bring home gifts.
Heather Siebers, who lives across the street, said she had a copy of the book and that Floyd’s theft was a lot of fun.
“He’s a character, I love him. I love seeing what he collects in the neighborhood.
Siebers had made toys such as sock puppets and balls for Floyd to take back across the street with him.
Floyd, Grandma’s Kleptomaniac Cat is available in selected bookstores and online at www.floydthecat.com