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Book Review by Em Renfrey – The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie

I am a sucker for a good novel and will binge on a good book. I have a stack of Dharma books on my bedside table that is my ‘to read’ stack. Though they are filled with the antidote to my end of day lethargy, I find it hard to take on the subjects sometimes without that fresh mind you sometimes need. I have found a lovely middle ground.

Author David Michie

David Michie is an African author living in Perth who speaks on Buddhism and mindfulness and has a catalogue of 44 titles (and also wrote Buddhism for Busy People, published by Shambala).

This novel is written in the first person (or first kitten) account of a life living with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It is full of Dharma lessons and teachings observed by this rescued stray kitten from the streets of New Delhi. I found this delightful and wholesome story a lovely way to integrate Dharma and mindfulness to people who might not otherwise encounter the teachings.

The teachings are introduced through the cat’s eyes, and narrated in her voice. The reader gets a close up view of the Dalai Lama’s inner-sanctum and household, his visitors, and the people who frequent his life.  The chapters are set out as a cat-memoir from her time living in and around the streets of Lhasa at Jokhang monastery. While it may all seem a little contrived, it is sweet, light, poignant and full of Dharma.

It became part of a series – The Four Paws of Spiritual Success, and the Power of Meow. I’d recommend this book for animal lovers, dharma practitioners, and non-Buddhists alike. A great intro to Buddhism, and an easy read.