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The Christmas Day Kitten

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,223 ratings  ·  87 reviews
"Christmas can never go by without my remembering a certain little cat."

So begins The Christmas Day Kitten, another true story from James Herriot's rich experience as a country vet. As always, the tale includes a vivid group of characters on two legs and four: Mrs. Pickering and her three stately Basset hounds, James himself, and Debbie, the self-possesed stray cat who mak
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 15th 1993 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1986)
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4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,223 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a Christmas gift from my sister one year when i was little (sometime in the 80s). I loved it and still do. It's one of my favorites from childhood and the hardcover copy my sister gave me so many years ago is still on my bookshelf today 💖💖💖
Dec 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
I haven't read any of Herroit's work yet so I can't compare to his famous novels but this is a nice, old-fashioned story about the dear country vet who happens to help out with a stray cat who visits a village lady around the holidays. Ruth Brown's illustrations are warm and wonderful.

This may not be the best story for all readers since the original cat passes away on Christmas day, although she brings her new kitten to the hearth of the lady whose home she often visited and the ki
R.J. Rodda
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This is touching read-out-loud story about a stray cat dubbed Debbie. There is a sad twist to this tale which was not understood by my four year old. The story ends on a happy Christmas note with a dash of remembered grief. It has the feeling of a true story.
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
description Please choose me!!!

What animal loving child wouldn't want to read a Christmas book about animals? What adult wouldn't. If I had a child I would give them books on nature and animals, unless they only wanted electronics, and then I would send them outside like my mother did me. Of course, some children don't have rivers, streams, or even the woods to play in. We have lost so much.

This is a sweet book by James Herriot about a mother cat that has a kitten. The pictures in the book are as wonderful
Luisa Knight
I just loved these quaint stories from a British country vet when I was a child! Keep an eye out for all of his illustrated stories and add them to your children's library!

Ages: 4 - 8

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Lauri Saplad
Charming children's picture book about a stray mother cat who brings her tiny kitten to a country house where she'd been stopping intermittently for food and warmth. When mama cat dies, the lady of the house decides to keep the kitten. Longtime country veterinarian, James Herriot brings us this true story as only he can. It's touching and beautifully illustrated.
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unlike my sister Ellen, who could read as soon as her eyes opened, I am dyslexic and could not read without assistance until I was about 10. The great thing about that disadvantage was that my parents and siblings read to me constantly. I have so many wonderful memories of being read to as a child. One of my favourite children’s holiday books was “The Christmas Day Kitten” by James Harriot. Heartwarming and wonderful. If you have an animal loving child (or adult!) on your holiday list this year, ...more
Marie Flanigan
May 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Be careful reading this to kids unless you've read it first. It's a good story but you've got to know your audience and their relationship to and experience with cats.
Special Christmas gift from a cat. 2.5 stars.
Feb 17, 2019 added it
Recommends it for: all people, ages 5+.
This book is so heartwarming. I love all of Herriot's books, and I especially love this one.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: James Herriot Fans / Those Looking for Animal Stories for Children
From the pen of James Herriot, author of a series of famous and much-loved memoirs for adult readers, detailing his life as a country veterianarian in Yorkshire, comes this poignant but ultimately heartwarming tale for children. It occurs in the home of Mrs. Pickering, a client of Herriot's, who had three basset hounds, and who regularly fed a shy stray cat named Debbie. This feline visitor would come into her home, stand briefly before the fire, and then depart again. Then one snowy Christmas d ...more
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A really lovely, sweet and true story for Christmas time. This book was written by a vet and this was a real story from his life as a vet.

There once was a woman called Mrs. Pickering who had three basset hounds she loved, and a little cat visitor she called Debbie who would stop by to eat at her house and visit the fire, but never stayed, she would come inside for a while and then disappear for days. One Christmas day the little cat shows up very ill and the vet (James Herriot) is called in, Deb
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
03/16: We own and love. We read this one yearly at Christmas. The boys read it to Midnight this year. He seemed nonplussed, but well, you know cats.

Back Cover:
"Christmas can never go by without my remembering a certain little cat." So begins "The Christmas Day Kitten," another true story from James Herriot's rich experience as a country vet. As always, the tale includes a vivid group of characters on two legs and four: Mrs. Pickering and her three stately basset hounds, James himself, and Debbi
Rosa Cline
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas, mine-read
Even though this is a child's book, I would recommend it to adults as an easy read that will usually bring a tear to your eye and a warm feeling in your heart. If you enjoy animal books or just ones where the lesson of compassion and caring for others is there then you will enjoy Mr Herriot's books.

This one finds a stray cat coming to visit with a lady. She doesn't want much and doesn't want to be petted. But one day she comes and the lady has to call the vet in on Christmas Day the cat had lear
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Megan by: Judy
This is probably my all-time favorite Christmas story, ever.

That being said...Many of you know author James Herriot as Britain's most famous veterinarian (ie: "All Creatures Great and Small").

In the "Christmas Day Kitten", Herriot draws from a true life story about a homeless mother cat who comes to an English farm one stormy Christmas Eve to give birth to her kitten. The story is simple and powerful, but the illustrations bring it to vivid life. I think you would have to have a heart of stone
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-book
The tale is a bit bittersweet, but sweet it is! This one will warm your heart. Harriot has a compilation of children's stories out there that we got from the library once and this one was in it (although we've since purchased this story separately) - I need to find that compilation again as it was quite wonderful. Maybe I should give his adult versions a go again; I read them when I was a teenager but never really got into them...
Diane in Australia
One of the books in my daughter's Christmas collection.

5 Stars = For sentimental reasons.
Lisa Bittle
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Super cute story and illustrations to accompany.
Lorelie Mansur
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-n-ya
I've been reading this Xmas book to my son since he was a little tyke, and it is still beloved now that he is eight. Believe me that is quite amazing since he is embarrassed by anything he liked when he was a lot younger. Very charming story set in the English countryside, written by the famed vet James Herriot. A simple touching story about a feral cat. I embarrassingly cry every time I read this story aloud, and of course I have to try to hide it...
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-s-stuff, mine
Kate found this one on my childhood bookshelf. I believe this is her very first James Herriot story, an author who is one of the landmark storytellers of my childhood. We both loved the story of Debbie, the stray cat who doesn't accept a home for herself, but brings her new kitten to the safest place she knows when she can't take care of him anymore. The story starts out sad, but Buster is so full of life and fun that it's still a great Christmas story.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully illustrated picturebook, but the style is definitely adult. Older children will nevertheless enjoy this story of a stray cat and the kitten she brought to "the only place of comfort and warmth she had ever known." Christmas is only relevant as the day the kitten arrived, therefore making it a Christmas present.
Nisha Vyas-Myall
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful and heartwarming Christmas story about a cat and their trust of a particular human. One often thinks that cats are indifferent to the humans that love them so, and this story shows us the exact opposite. They may seem flippant and uncaring at times, but they know full well who to trust and who to love.
Emerson and Theodore
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
This book is too advanced for Emerson. I checked it out for myself.
I may be the only veterinarian who hasn't read James Herriot. Until tonight.
Very quaint story about a momma cat who brings her kitten into the house. It is sad bc the mother cat does this bc she is ill.
Sad. This is exactly why I've never read Herriot. Not quite old yeller but not something I need in my leisure reading.
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Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I do love James Herriot. The story of Debbie and Buster is one to touch the heart. It shows how even though we may not think we're doing much, the simplest action can be the kindest to animals and creat a relationship of trust and respect.
Short, sweet and absolutely beautiful.
Jocylin Francis
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sentimental memoir
I'd say it's a straightforward, bittersweet story about the nature of life. James Herriot's open honesty is what made the read stand out.

I thought about the book again today, Dec 18th, since we adopted a kitten yesterday who was found hiding in a barn. We named her Holly.
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, animals
One of my favorite memories is my Dad reading James Herriot stories to us. This was given to me by my Grandparents when I was five.

The artwork is amazing and the story makes me think I am in the midst of a pile of Bassett Hounds. A great story that I now am reading to my 3 year old.
Laura (Book Scrounger)
This book was chosen for Day 22 of my "25 Days of Christmas Books" blog series:
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I just love everything that he writes!
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sweet story of trust between human and pets that occurs around Christmas Day. Beautifully illustrated.
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James Herriot is the pen name of James Alfred Wight, OBE, FRCVS also known as Alf Wight, an English veterinary surgeon and writer. Wight is best known for his semi-autobiographical stories, often referred to collectively as All Creatures Great and Small, a title used in some editions and in film and television adaptations.

In 1939, at the age of 23, he qualified as a veterinary surgeon with Glasgow