Cat lovers should enjoy reading these selections (some original, some previously published) if they find this eclectic assortment under the Christmas tree. Murphy, the author of a popular mystery series featuring a feline crime-solver (Cat Cross Their Graves) presents 19 short stories, essays and poems that commemorate cats at Christmastime. Amy D. Shojai leads off with a lighthearted memoir of how her husband, Mahmoud, definitely not a cat fancier, came to adjust to his wife's feisty and energetic Siamese kitten just in time for the holiday. Far more sobering is a recollection by Renie Burghardt: during WWII her 19-year-old mother died shortly after giving birth to her. She left behind Paprika, her 10-year-old cat, who consoled the young child when she and her grandparents sought safety in rural war-torn Hungary. Instead of offering a sample from one of her mysteries, editor Murphy's sentimental and well-written story ""The Noel Cat"" describes how a librarian and her brother, the town vagrant, reunite a cat family on Christmas Eve. There's something for everyone, including an informative piece by Christine Church on holiday safety for cats. Dog fanciers might prefer the companion volume, Christmas Dogs, intro by Lauren Berenson ($9.95 paper 224p ISBN 1596091576).