This is not the book about cats that it wants to be. The acclaimed author is uncomfortably personal and intrusive and manages to be in the way like a young father too proud of his new video camera to just tape his children at play. To budding authors, this book could serve as a warning: What can go wrong when you become too famous for your own good and you believe your audience will find you as interesting as you find yourself. Who cares whether the author is a personal friend of other authors? A good editor will help (read: force) an eager and proud writer to remove himself from his treatment of the topic and make it interesting to people who have no interest in the author, and this is more important the more famous the author. Nancy Miller is acknowledged with editing this book, but it is depressingly unedited. The author is also a "provocative psychoanalyst", but there is no evidence of a scholastic aptitude here. To make matters worse, a childhood encounter with a narcissistic literary critic is only related on page 6, not learned from: That paragraph describes how the entire book feels to the reader. Do look inside the book.
However, if you tolerate the author and want to snuggle up with your cat and him for company, it may be an OK book to read a chapter from each night, as it is both charming and sometimes amusing, but if you intend to study or just learn about the presumed emotional lives of cats, forget it. This reviewer believes that cats communicate with us the same way music does, directly to our emotions before thought can intervene, and sought more information on the emotional bond between cat and human. Since Doris Lessing learned from this book and Desmond Morris found it thought-provoking, perhaps the gems they found were on the very next page, but the book merely ran out of pages. To make matters worse, it does not conclude, it ends with an epilogue, to confirm the impression that the book is not about the emotional lives of cats, but about the author and his too brief fascination for his too many too young cats. Like a term paper handed in with the tacit assumption that reader and writer know and accept a purpose outside of the text, the question "why should I care?" is as unanswered as it is unasked.
There are anywhere from 12 to 15 different emotions crammed into the "nine lives" that double as chapters, which is much too cute to be convenient, much less insightful: Narcissism, Love, Contentment, Attachment, Jealousy, Fear, Anger, Curiosity, Playfulness. If you have taken an active part in a cat's life for a year, you know more about all of these than this book can offer.