West Side Manhattan Cats

a children’s novel (with songs)
about four cats and their secret admirer!



Four cats live with their Human Mother and Father in an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The Human Parents are getting ready to move, with their cats, to Los Angeles, California. One evening, while busy packing, the male cat, Hercules, falls from the ledge of an open window. He goes down four stories, landing in a tree that grows from the back yard of the building. The Human Mother, alerted by Hercules’ cries, dashes out of the apartment down the stairs to the backyard to rescue him. The youngest cat, Cleopatra, runs out into the hallway, followed by her older sister, Angus.

In sheer panic, Cleopatra runs down the staircase that goes to the building’s lobby. Angus chases after her sister in a protective instinct. But, as bad luck would have it, the front door has been left open and the two cats run outside into the street.

A mouse that furtively lives in the cat’s apartment and believes he is part of their family, sees what has happened to the two sister cats. Heroically, he takes it upon himself to go out into the streets of New York City, find Angus and Cleopatra, and bring them home.

West Side Manhattan Cats Song

by Michael Donohue & Melanie Adam

I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to the writers of this story. Their dedication, hard work and tireless efforts in collaboration with human scientists and human animal research behaviorists, that were successful in the translation of the mouse language to english and other tongues of human beings.

With grateful thanks,
West Side Manhattan Cats - a children’s novel (with songs) about four cats and their secret admirer!


Later that night I just felt that I should be near my friends. So, I made my way along behind the walls. As I neared the space where they all slept, I could hear the Human Mother crying. When I looked down through a crack from up above, it was sad to see the Human Father holding the Human Mother as she wept. They were all lying in their big bed, with Hercules and Squeaky snuggled up next to them, doing their best to give comfort. We were all in this together. Not knowing where Angus and Cleopatra were was painful. What were they going through? All we could do was be strong, and hope for the best. Then slowly and softly we all fell asleep.

The next morning after making my rounds and getting something to eat, I took some time to think about what could be done. I asked myself. If I knew what to do, I would……..?

I kept repeating that to myself over and over, until, I answered the question. If I knew what to do, I would–go out and look for them! But, was it possible? Me? A mouse who has spent his entire life in one big apartment building. Could I do it? Search around in the great outside, with no idea where to go? I had to come up with a plan. To go to the great outside through the building front door, where I last saw Angus and Cleopatra would be one tough job. The only way to start off would be to sniff around the street and try to pick up their scent. That would be hard. With all the human beings walking, with all the machines running on the streets, with all the dogs, the cats, the noise, the commotion.–NO! There were too many dangers. I would not stand a chance. There is no respect for little creatures. It’s a hard life for rodents.

I decided to ask my cousins for help. My thought was that we could form a search party to look for Angus and Cleopatra. If the cats were found, my cousins and I could get up a relay to get them back home.

I sent out the word to all mice in the building to gather for an emergency meeting. All the cousins met in a big space within the walls under the building roof. Every mouse in the assembled group wanted to hear what I had to say. In detail, I explained all the recent events. How I wanted to help the Human Mother and Human Father find their cats. How fond of Angus and Cleopatra I was. My story was met with a stunned silence. Then a sudden uproar of the hissing and agitated squeaking began. The attempt to find lost cats did not meet with approval. All of the cousins said that they thought I was out of my cheese nibbling mind. The crowd dissolved before my eyes. I was soon alone.

Now, what could I do? I needed help. Maybe the rats that lived in the cellar would give me some support. Rats were tough and willing to take chances.

Mice and rats have much in common. We are rodents. We compete for the same food source. Rats are a bigger animal. Sometimes rats will attack mice and kill us. So, mice are cautious, stay away and leave the rats alone.

On my rounds through the building, I would see this one rat and we would nod to each other. I went down to the cellar to find him. I asked him straight away, if there were any rats willing to help me search for my friends, the cats. He listened to my story. He understood my feelings toward the Human Mother and Father. He told me that rats like human beings. That is why they stay around them. But, for human beings, the feeling is definitely not mutual. The rat gave me a snide look and said; “Mouse, if you continue to try and be a friend to cats, you will not live long. There is not a rat in the whole wide greater outside, or a rat in this building that will ever help find lost cats. NEVER–I think that you should seek intensive counseling with a mouse elder, right away. And, another thing, if you ever try to talk to me again–I will bite your nose off.”

That was it. Rodents would never, or could ever understand the depth of my true affection and loyalty to my adopted family. The search was up to me. It was a big job. Maybe an impossible job, but I had to do it.

Okay. Now, I had an idea. I’ll go up on the roof of the building. Up there the height was perfect for looking around the great outside. I could jump from building to building. The roofs would be look outs. It might work as a way to locate Angus and Cleopatra. It just might work!

The next day at first light, I was sitting on the edge of the building roof. It was a sight that I had never seen before. The big city at dawn. It was unbelievable. All was clear and still. It was some view. Here was the great outside, and everything was quiet. Nothing was moving down below. As the light became brighter, the air became warmer. I walked along the edge of the roof on a low stone wall that went all the way around. I was all alone and could see down to the streets below on all sides. Soon, noises began to come up from the streets. I looked in all directions and could see faraway.

As the light got brighter and warmer, big machines began to appear on the streets. I could see human beings walking around now. I saw many amazing things. But, what I didn’t see was a gray cat and a black cat.

Every day the routine was the same. I’d be up on the roof at first light. I was able to jump from building to building, until I got to a real big building that was on a wide street with machines going up one way and down the other. With all this jumping from roof to roof, I was able to see a lot of everything that was down below. As the sun light got really bright, the roofs would get hot and I would become tired. We mice are use to being active at night. So, I would take a break. Then I would come back out again before the sun light faded away.

One day, I was on the stone ledge of the roof looking down below and watching what was going on along the street. There was good light and the air was warm. All of a sudden a dark shadow appeared around me. I looked up just in time to see a big bird coming right out of the sky, straight down at me. Quickly, I jumped off the wall onto the roof. The big bird came down in a big swoosh and then went up again and out of sight. He made some wind around that shook my whiskers. I’ve never been faced with this danger before. The elder mice tell stories about big birds called hawks that fly around the city. They nest up on the tall buildings. Now, one was after me. I began to run close to the inside of the wall, so that the hawk couldn’t grab me. The hawk did not give up. Twice, as I was running, it swooped down on me. But, as long as I stuck close to the wall, I was safe. I had nearly run around the whole roof, when I saw that the door to the roof was opened a bit. The stairway down was right in the middle of the roof. When I got across from it, I stopped. I looked around for the hawk–but couldn’t see it. I took a deep breath, let it out, and ran to the open door for all I was worth. Now, I was in the open and could sense the hawk was swooping down on me. I ran harder, pushed to go faster. The hawk came in almost on me, but misjudged its speed and direction and flew right into the wall that was around the door. That was my chance and I shot right through the opening, running like mad down the stairs.

Back at my hang-out, all I could think was, being attacked by a hawk was one thing I never figured on.

At first light the next day, I went back up on the roof. I stayed in the shadows, was watchful and cautious. Lucky for me, the hawk had moved on.

From light to night went by a few times. Then one dawn as I was looking down on the streets below, I heard a cat loudly singing. I just listened for awhile; then, I saw a big, scruffy, brown and white, tomcat that came walking along the big street called Broadway. This cat acted like he owned the city. I knew this big loud mouth by reputation; a well-known character on the Upper West Side. His name was Mickey the Drunken Cat. He was as big as a small dog. He lived on the streets and roamed up and down the West Side. Every den belonging to human beings knew Mickey and took care of him. He was a sight to behold.

Mickey (sings)

Because I Like It That Way

by Michael Donohue & Melanie Adam

Walking through my territory everyday
I make the rounds and it’s okay
I just take life easy
Because I like it that way

On the West Side all the things are fine
It doesn’t matter if it’s rain or shine
I just take life easy
Because I like it that way

I avoid certain kinds of trouble
I always do what’s right
I’ll run away on the double
If it comes to fight or flight

I don’t have a permanent home
A happy tomcat free to roam
I just take life easy
Because I like it that way

I never deal with stress or strain
I hate to suffer any pain
I just take life easy
Because I like it that way

I avoid certain kinds of trouble
I always do what’s right
I’ll run away on the double
If it comes to fight or flight

All alone and living by my wits
A tough survivor who never quits
I just take life easy
Because I like it that way

Mickey (Spoken)

That’s Right!

(Song ends)

As I watched and listened, I saw Mickey suddenly stop. He became quiet; he became tense, as he looked into the doorway of a building entrance. He made a low warning cry, as his back arched. His stance was for a fight. Then, from out of the entrance sprang a skinny black cat. Mother-of-Mouse!!! What a sight!!! It was Cleopatra!!!

She flew at Mickey and landed squarely on his back. The tomcat tried to shake off the black rocket. But, Cleopatra had her claws dug into his flesh. Around, around, tumbling, rolling on the sidewalk, nothing would help, Cleopatra would not let go. A cat fight is ugly, and it is loud. All of a sudden, out of the doorway entrance, came Angus. It was clear from her firm stance that she wanted the fight to stop. She did not have long to wait. Around the corner and along Broadway came a big machine that was spraying out a lot of water. The noise stopped the struggle, but the big shock was when all the cats got soaked with water. As the machine went past and up the street, Angus, Cleopatra and Mickey stood like they were frozen solid and soaked to the bone. After a time, Mickey shook himself hard. The females did the same. The big tomcat slowly moved toward each female and gently licked the water off them.

Something was happening between them, because Mickey walked away and Angus followed. Cleopatra sat on her haunch and watched them go off up Broadway. Then after a few moments, she decided to follow.

The street was getting busier by the minute. Human Beings, more that I had ever seen, and the big machines were on the move, up and down Broadway. Angus and Cleopatra were in line behind Mickey. I could follow them by jumping from one roof to another. Finally, Mickey stopped and sat down outside of a green door. Angus and Cleopatra came up to him and stopped. After a few moments, the green door opened. A Male Human Being stepped out from the building inside. From above on the roof, I could make out what he said; “Hello, Mickey! How ya doin’?” The Human Being was tall and big. He had red hair and a red face. He petted Mickey on the head. The tomcat rubbed himself on the Human Being’s leg. The Human Being, with the red hair, opened the green door wide and called inside; “Hey, fellas, Mickey’s outside and he has a couple of new friends and for some reason they are all wet!” The red haired Human Being held the green door open. Mickey walked into the building like he was home. Then Angus, with Cleopatra behind her, walked in. Then the red haired Human Being stepped inside and closed the green door behind him.

My work was cut out for me. I had to come up with some way to get the cats to find their way home. This actually was about twenty blocks away. I looked around on the roof and found a drain pipe that went down the side of the building. I got inside the pipe and made my way down. I came out on a ledge that went across the building. I scurried along until I was above the green door. If it opened again, I could move down the wall and get inside the human being’s den before the green door closed. As luck would have it, two big male Human Beings came up to the green door. The one in the lead pulled the door open and held it for the other one to go inside first. They were talking and they called the den, Callahan’s Bar. That gave me enough time to move down the wall and crawl upside down behind the Human Being before he went inside and shut the green door. There was a ledge inside right above the door. It was dark inside this den called Callahan’s Bar. But, that was good, because it made me feel safe. The ledge was high above everything so it would be hard for human beings, dogs, or cats, to see me and get to me. I crept along the ledge to the far wall. Then, I paused to look down and to take in the place. There was a big wood counter with stools all around the front of it. On the other side of the counter were long shelves that went up the wall. The shelves were bright with light and had many bottles on them. Sitting on the stools were five Male Human Beings. They were talking to each other. Behind the counter stood the big Male Human Being with red hair, that let Mickey, Angus and Cleopatra into the den, called Callahan’s Bar. He was listening to the other Male Human Beings. Every now and then he would take a glass and put it underneath a wood and metal club, pull on it and out came foamy water that would fill up the glass. Then he would put the glass in front of one of the Human Beings sitting on the stools. Or, he would take a bottle from the lighted shelves and pour colored water into a glass with ice cubes and give that to one of the Male Human Beings.

As I watched, this kind of thing just kept repeating over and over again. The rest of the big den, called Callahan’s Bar, was dark. I could see lots of tables and chairs all around. Along the walls there were tables with cushioned seats on either side. I looked around for the cats, but I couldn’t see them. So, I waited. As I rested and became sleepy, off in the distance I could hear Angus softly singing:

Hush a-while my darling dear
Hush a-while and don’t you cry
All will be well
Try not to fear
No need to worry
I’ll tell you why

Spoken: Keep your chin up Dear!

Thank you for your interest in West Side Manhattan Cats!

If you are a publisher, representative, or literary agent interested in receiving a copy of the complete book and the song CD, please contact Michael Donohue at 800-680-4737.