Cover image for I & Claudius : travels with my cat
I & Claudius : travels with my cat
De Vries, Clare.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by St. Martin's Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
307 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations, map ; 21 cm
General Note:
Map on endpapers.
Personal Subject:
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E169.04 .D48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Clare de Vries fulfills her dream of traveling the States when she decides to quit London with her ailing, beloved cat, Claudius, for a final fling (he wouldn't be allowed back into the UK without a six-month quarantine, so they decide to spend his final months on the road...)

It was a bumpy, unpredictable ride from the dubious glamours of Manhattan down to the Appalachians, from the Smoky Mountains to Nashville. Graceland led to New Orleans where Voodoo did more for Claudius's kidneys than the vet could. Claude (to his friends) enjoyed Cajun music, Texas rodeo and trekked the Grand Canyon, indulging in Kentucky Fried Chicken along the way (hell, his days were numbered--might as well make the best of them...) At last, the Pacific wind in his whiskers, Claude wrapped up his five-month sojourn with Clare on a boat outside San Francisco. The characters along the way were a startling crew, from brown bear to astronaut, from psychic to porn star. And, as crazy as the idea may have seemed to start with, and crazier still to have followed through, at the story's center lay something deep and real about our dreams and loyalties and about going away to find out who we really are.

Author Notes

Clare de Vries worked as a journalist before she set off across the highways of America. She lives in London.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A wacky British journalist driving "Thelma-and-Louise style" with her cat from New York City to San Francisco is the premise of this very enjoyable and unpredictable memoir. Claudius is de Vries' 19-year-old, chocolate brown Burmese cat, who acts as the wise and rational side of the author's personality. De Vries shares with the reader her love for adventure and for her cat, sneaking him into tourist attractions and various hotels along the road. As the two travelers search for the next KFC, a new escapade unrolls in each locale. Eventually, Claudius forces de Vries to face reality when inevitably his age catches up with him. She fights with veterinarians across the country to make him well so that they can complete their pilgrimage. I & Claudius portrays an unbelievable journey, complete with a hunt for purple cowboy boots, gambling with a gangster in a Las Vegas casino, and a dance with car thieves in a Fort Worth country-western club. Anyone who has ever loved a cat will enjoy this engaging narrative. --Julie Glynn

Publisher's Weekly Review

Feeling bored with her job and intrigued by America, British journalist de Vries decided to take a road trip from Connecticut to California with her beloved 19-year-old cat, Claudius. Because of quarantine restrictions in the U.K. and her cat's advanced age, she knew that Claudius wouldn't be returning to British soil, so the trip became the pair's final adventure. Careening from Graceland to L.A., de Vries and the mellow Claudius hit almost every clich‚ along the wayÄincluding a brush with voodoo in New Orleans and a scare over a Las Vegas gambling debt. While delightfully objective at first, de Vries devolves into something of a sideshow barker, describing only the most grotesque and bizarre characters she encountered. Her finer moments occur when she sheds her hyperactive, kooky tone and honestly recounts the emotional toll that slowly losing a pet can take. Unfortunately, those passages are all too infrequent. Instead, she includes "dialogues" with Claudius that are likely to prove too precious for even the most devoted cat lovers as well as long descriptions of her own banal activities, like getting her nails done and discussing breast enhancement with a plastic surgeon. As she frets over which highway to take and how to smuggle a cat into motels with "no pets" policies, Claudius's health declines, leading to painstaking chronicles of his frequent trips to strange vets. The impending loss of her beloved cat turns the frisky author serious at last, but too late to save her book. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Twenty-nine-year-old de Vries always dreamed of driving across America, but she couldn't bear to leave her beloved 19-year-old, toothless, chocolate-brown Burmese cat Claudius home alone in London. So, bucking conventional wisdom, she packed up ClaudeÄand his water bowlÄand flew with him across the Atlantic. Once in America, they encountered pet hair stylists in New York City, brown bears in the Smoky Mountains, psychic cowboys, the Grand Canyon, the lights of Las Vegas, and stars in Hollywood. Claude accompanies de Vries on many of her adventuresÄbut he also spends a lot of time sleeping. Along the way, he has several illnesses that require veterinary attention; in order to survive these moments of panic, de Vries consoles herself by buying designer clothes and considering plastic surgery. The bond between the writer and her cat seems truly genuine, but do we really need to know all the details of de Vries's angst about her wardrobe, her lack of a boyfriend, and her self-indulgent lifestyle? Her language, which ranges from British bawdy to downright trashy, adds nothing to her narrative. The moral is this: cats should be left at home, and this work is too uneven to be recommended.ÄEva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Clarkston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.