Monday, July 13, 2009

Cat or "C-A-T Never Spells Murder. That's Just Silly."

I think the tagline of this Fear Street book really sums up the entirely of the book:

“C-A-T spells murder.”

Um, no. That makes no sense. But as you’ll see, this book is basically about cats, murder and nonsense. So, I guess we can give the tagline author a pat on the back?

My first reaction to the cover of Cat was that the girl was hot but also kinda old. Those cat eyes are giving her some major face-lift face. I also assumed by the cover that at some point, this covergirl (Kit) and the cat would change places/morph/body snatch. Swear to goodness! My first note about the book says “Hot  switch places?”

Cat is a unique Fear Street in that its main character is boy. Marty is a hotshot on the basketball team and has two best friends: Barry who is tall, with anger issues and Dwayne who is funny but chubby and always wearing Hawaiian shirts. How… unfortunate. Other important characters are Kit, the new hawt-ie that everyone is intimidated by, Gayle the bleeding-heart animal rights activist, and Riki, Gayle’s friend who is now stalking Marty after been dumped.

The book starts at basketball practice, where Gayle and Riki come to interview Marty for the school paper. They discuss the stray cat who recently began squatting under the bleachers and has been a menace to the basketball team ever since. Even though Marty is an All. Star. Athlete. he can never seem to catch the cat, who keeps running across the court during practices and games.

Pretty much just to prove his point, the cat gets tangled in Marty’s feet while he’s trying to do some basketball move, and Marty bangs up his knee. He’s super stressed about this because he’s in the running for a scholarship and can’t afford to miss any games. So obviously, he vows revenge on the cat.

Later that afternoon, he successfully gets it! The boys (who call themselves the Three Musketeers, by the way. UGH) are in the gym with Gayle and Riki when the cat scampers by and leads them on a chase. Marty actually catches it for once (with a bum knee? That cat wanted to be caught) but then loses his balance and has to drop the cat to save himself. “I thought cats always landed on their feet.” Except when their thrown from great heights, I guess. Anyways, the cat is dead, Dwayne and Barry are insensitive about it and Gayle freaks the fudge out and accuses Marty of killing it on purpose.

Gayle actually goes ape-shit about this cat killing business, although it seems pretty obvious that Marty dropped the cat to save himself, like a normal person would do. Gayle however tells the school that Marty is a cat killer and everyone is all judge-y. They end up taking Marty to Student Court! Which is totally awesome. Both Gayle and Marty tell their stories and the jury decides that while Marty did not kill the cat on purpose, he is guilty of animal cruelty and being a total jerk. Ha. Marty has to do 30 hours of community service at the animal shelter (cause I’m sure they’d want him). Can Student Courts do that? Impose punishments? Anyone have a Student Court at their high school?

Right after the “sentence” is read, Marty sees a cat under a chair in the room. It’s the same silver cat with diamond shaped black sploch on its face that Marty killed just the day before! Everyone kinda looks at Marty like he’s nuts and ignores him.

Everything seems to be going back to normal for Marty. Until he starts hearing cat noises… mewing and hissing. He even gets an obscene phone call! I was kinda hoping the person would meow at him. But it ends up being Riki, whose pissed off because she saw Marty talking to another girl. Marty reminds her that they only went on a few dates, and he is therefore NOT HER BOYFRIEND. She says some crazy things and Marty ends up telling her to get a life. Which she needed to hear, I think.

Marty has to start his community service the next night. His boss Carolyn is surprisingly nice to him, considering he’s there because he was cruel to animals. And of course she just leaves him alone there! As soon as Carolyn leaves the building, all the dogs and cats start to go nuts. Barking, hissing, heaving, drooling, the works. Marty gets Carolyn to come straight back, but of course when she gets there… they all mysteriously stop freaking out. Carolyn thinks Marty is crazy.

Things look up for Marty romantically though, as he and Kit flirt a little bit in the cafeteria and decide to go for ice cream later that day. When Marty walks her home though, he’s dismayed to find out she owns like a bizillion cats. Who all freak out when Marty comes inside the house. He makes a quick exit, which is probably exactly what I would do too. (Confession: I am totally terrified of cats. This book gave me the extreme heebie jeebies)

Marty’s walking home a little later, when he hears a little “mew”. He turns around to see a cat following him. Creepy. It gets even more terrifying when a bunch of the cat’s friends join up. Marty looks behind and see about 10 cats closing in on him. He decides to make a break for it and outrun the cats. “’They’re only cats’, I told myself. OR WERE THEY?” Subtle, R.L. Marty makes it to his front door, with cats scratching up his pants/shirt, but when he turns to face them, he sees that they’re… gone. OR WERE THEY EVER THERE??

The big game is the next night, and Marty has been given the OK to play! With his help, they win the game and have a “wild celebration in the locker room.” Hmmm. Marty has to go back to school after the game though, because he forgot his knapsack. He sees Gayle run out of the gym and wonders what she was doing there that late. Things take a turn for the worse when he stumbles across a body. A body wearing… a Hawaiian shirt! It’s Dwayne! He’s so slashed to hell, Marty can barely recognize him. A cat meows in the distance. (For real.)

Marty has the least intense confrontation with Gayle the next day. He doesn’t tell the police about seeing Gayle run out but needs to make sure she wasn’t involved. He goes to Gayle and asks her if she did it. She says no. He believes her. Case closed, Detective Marty!

At basketball practice, Marty and Barry make the decision with the team to continue to chase the championships without Dwayne. “In his honor!” Or so you can get your scholarship, Marty. After practice Marty walks in on Barry making out with Riki in the hallways. Two things about this: Obviously Riki is doing this to make Marty jealous. And further more, Barry’s friend was JUST MURDERED. COOL YOUR HORMONES. Jeez!

Marty has some more community service hours at the animal shelter. Carolyn again leaves him alone. Only this time, instead of the animals freaking out on Marty, someone (or something) mysterious, lets all the cats out of their cages! They start to slowly creep up and surround Marty. Marty does what any man would do: grabs a broom and swats ‘em!

Luckily, Carolyn comes in to find Marty batting the cats around. Whoops, did I say luckily? I meant unfortunately. That’s got to look bad! After being let off community service early, Marty goes to Barry’s house and walks in on Barry and Riki making out. Really, guys? Common, now!

Early the next morning, the police come to Marty’s house to tell them the bad news: Barry’s been murdered. All slashed up apparently. Actually, their words were “He was clawed to pieces.” Is that really appropriate to tell a loved one?? The officers ask Marty some questions, since you know, he was one of the last people to see Barry alive, AND he found Dwayne’s body. And killed that cat (what does the have to do with anything, copper?). Anyways, Marty’s all like “I didn’t kill anyone, I swear!” And the cops tell him that they know he’s innocent, they just have to ask. WHAT? How do they “know”? Did THEY kill his best friends?

Marty goes back to work at the animal shelter a few days later. Which I think is weird because he was busted ABUSING the animals, after been sent there for that SAME reason. Carolyn has no sense. Anyways, he’s sweeping up when the cats all start hissing. They know something’s up. And that something is… Kit! Yes, the girl that made an appearance for all of 2 chapters.

She tells him that it’s his turn to be punished. See, she’s … well, why don’t I let her explain it to you:

“I’m the cat, Marty,” she repeated. “You met my family – remember? The other cats in the house? Those are my brothers and sisters.” She raised a hand and clawed the air. “I’m a shape-shifter. I’m one of the last shape-shifters on earth. I shift between a girl and a cat. It’s so easy for me.” She took a step closer. “Why did you kill me, Marty?”

Right. So she’s the cat from under the bleachers… of course. I also don’t know why she’s so mad. She tells him that she has nine lives. So yeah, like one was wasted, that sucks. But is it really worth the murder of three boys? … Maybe.

The final fight scene is hilarious, though. Kit shrinks down into the cat, and then attacks Marty. And as far as I can tell, this cat has no special powers. So Marty is fighting… a regular house cat. She slashes his face and he drops to his knees and stares at her. Okayyy, not exactly the best plan.

Since Marty is so obviously out of his league in this fight, he does the only rational thing. He releases the disturbed dog that likes to kill everything, and I guess just hopes it kills the cat instead of him. Which is does. Marty’s lucky night!

The book ends with Marty playing in the basketball championships, and winning the game! But his moment of happiness is ruined when he looks under the bleachers and sees… Kit the Cat! She raises her blood smeared claws! Marty screams like a girl and wets his pants. Well, one of those things happens.

This book probably wasn’t scary for anyone else to read, but I hate cats so it was a little nervewracking for me. It was also strange how Kit was only in the book for a few pages. There were some other girls in the book as well, but I didnt’ mention them because after getting to the end of the book, I realized they had zero impact on the plot. So it was a weird book. Enjoyable, with possibly the worst (read: best) taglines ever. I give Cat 16 wrestling matches with house cats out of 23!


Sadako said...

CAT never spells Murder reminds me of The Stand. You know, Tom Cullen, M O O N, that spells blank.

Devika said...

It may seem implausible, but I used to have 2 kittens, and those fuckers can get vicious!

L. K. Stine said...

Yes, cats are super creepy. If a crowd of cats started following me around, I would just curl up into a ball. It would be over, cats win.

Anonymous said...

Didn't R.L. recycle this plot in two other books? Curse of the Werecat & Cry of the Cat?

HelenB said...

I'm pretty sure I read a Stine short story about a cat who was trying to kill some girl so he could steal her soul. And it had nine lives, so she had to kill it nine times before it would go away. Or something. Anyway, cats are freaky as hell.

Anonymous said...

Never heard of Curse Of The Werecat, but Cry Of The Cat seems kinda similar, and, well, all of Stine's books do tend to be pretty much the same...

RecallerReminder said...

Yup, Stine did already several books about cats....So how this happen to has the worst uncreative tittle ever? Its like, he just put "Cat" as a tag for the file meanwhile thought of a better tittle but forgot about it and send it to print just like that.
This is one of the worst FS by the way, since the plot its totallly ridiculous.
I am a cat lover but this its pretty much ofensive to cats for what I see.

KKTTO said...

This synopsis reads a lot funnier if you picture Marty as Marty McFly