Thomasina, the Cat Who Thought She Was God

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Thomasina, the Cat Who Thought She Was God
Thomasina book cover.jpg
Front cover of 1989 reprint by International Polygonics
Author Paul Gallico
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's fantasy novel
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
1957
Media typePrint (hardcover)
ISBN 0385048041

Thomasina, the Cat Who Thought She Was God or Thomasina is a 1957 novel by Paul Gallico about a cat, owned by a child whose strict father must learn that love is powerful enough to help others. The book was adapted for the 1963 Disney film The Three Lives of Thomasina .

Contents

Plot

Andrew MacDhui, a widowed veterinary surgeon working in Scotland, has a young daughter, Mary Ruadh, who is attached to her pet ginger cat called Thomasina (the narrator of the story). Although Mary loves Thomasina, her father MacDhui only tolerates the cat. The village children talk of a local "witch" named Lori who is said to cure ailing animals through magic. After MacDhui refuses to help an injured frog found by Geordie McNab, the boy takes his frog to the witch and leaves it for her to heal.

One day Thomasina falls ill, so Mary takes her beloved cat to her father expecting him to cure Thomasina. To Mary's shock, MacDhui puts chloroform on Thomasina and tells Mary that she's been euthanized. Mary recovers Thomasina's body, and her friend Hughie Stirling suggests giving her the best funeral the village children can arrange. Mary obliges and decides to get revenge on her father by including on Thomasina's headboard that the cause of her death was "murder". Later, Mary refuses to talk to her father during dinner and becomes even more upset when he tries to replace Thomasina with a new kitten. She later confides to the doctor that her father is dead and that she killed him. As time passes, Mary stops talking altogether,

When the funeral is over and Mary and her friends leave Thomasina's burial place in the hills, Lori appears, exhumes Thomasina's body and discovers the cat is still alive; the chloroform simply induced a deep sleep. Lori takes the cat to her own cottage to recover. When Thomasina wakes up, she thinks she is Bastet the Egyptian cat goddess, resurrected. The other animals at Lori's cottage don't believe her, especially when she tries to show her powers to them. Thomasina does not remember Mary or her former life. Lori renames her "Talitha" and keeps her.

Meanwhile, Mary has become ill and is eventually confined to bed, refusing to speak. As a result of MacDhui's treatment of Thomasina, many villagers have stopped taking their animals to him and instead are taking them to Lori. MacDhui goes to confront Lori over her taking his patients from him, and learns that she, like him, has experienced the loss of her close family. Lori and MacDhui end up joining forces to shut down a traveling circus that is abusing its animals, and get into an argument and fight with the owners of the circus.

MacDhui and Lori return to the MacDhui home to see Mary, whose condition has worsened; the doctor says she will soon die. Thomasina, who has been sleeping in a drawer full of lavender at Lori's cottage, wakes up and suddenly remembers her true identity and her past life with Mary. She decides to immediately make her way back to Mary through a rainstorm. When Thomasina arrives at the MacDhui home, the housekeeper lets her in through the window, Lori recognizes her as the cat she rescued from a grave, and MacDhui lets Mary hold Thomasina. Mary is overjoyed to see her cat again and immediately starts to recover. Life returns to normal, with MacDhui marrying Lori and becoming a better father to Mary.

Characters

Adaptation

In 1963 The Three Lives of Thomasina , a film based on Thomasina, was released by Disney Studios.

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