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Children's Fiction Cats

Ghost Cat

by (author) Mark Abley

illustrated by Karen Reczuch

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Sep 2001
Cats, Death & Dying
Recommended Age
3 to 5
Recommended Grade
p to k
Recommended Reading age
3 to 5
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2001
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


Miss Wilkinson lives with her beloved cat Tommy Douglas, whose eyes glow with brilliant orange fire. Her life is busy and active, and Tommy Douglas's companionship fills her with joy.

But Tommy Douglas is seventeen, and eventually he becomes ill and dies in Miss Wilkinson's arms. She buries him in the garden and plants a rose bush on his grave. She tries to go on with her life, but her grief and loneliness drain the pleasure from her activities.

Then one night, when she has reached a very low point, Tommy Douglas makes himself known to her. Ghost Cat is a tender and moving story of love and resilience.

About the authors

Mark Abley was born in Leamington Spa, England, in 1955. From age six to twenty he lived in Lethbridge and Saskatoon. After winning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan, he went to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship and received his Master of Arts degree in English Language and Literature. He and his wife live in Montreal.

For the past seven years, Mark Abley has been a contributing editor to Macleans's and a regular writer for Saturday Night, CBC Radio's "Ideas" and The Times Literary Supplement. He has also written for the Globe and Mail, Canadian Literature, The Listener, and the New Statesman.

Mark Abley's profile page

Karen Reczuch has illustrated many award-winning children’s books. Loon by Susan Vande Griek won the TD Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-fiction, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Picture Book Award and the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable Information Book Award. Karen’s other publications include West Coast Wild, winner of the VCLR Information Book Award; The Auction by Jan Andrews, a Governor General’s Award finalist; Just Like New by Ainslie Manson, winner of the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award; and Salmon Creek, winner of the BC Book Prize. Karen’s work includes scientific, historical and archeological illustration, and has been exhibited internationally.

Karen Reczuch's profile page


  • Winner, CNIB's Tiny TORGI Award

Editorial Reviews

...a simply stunning debut...


...the story will resonate with with readers who have lost and animal friend.

Horn Book

...helps explain the feelings of loss, grief and loneliness...poignantly with great compassion.

Resource Links

...a deceptively powerful story about an elderly woman and her elderly cat...

Globe and Mail

...heartwarming and touching...

School Library Journal

Highly recommended.

CM Magazine

...Ghost Cat is an inspiring story that will help both children and adults deal with the loss of a loved one, whether animal or human.

Montreal Review of Books

Other titles by Karen Reczuch