A CAT adopted from the RSPCA in Chobham is finding worldwide fame after his adventures were turned into a book by his owner.

Barbara Cosgrave, of St John’s, started writing the book as therapy after a bereavement five years ago.

After receiving positive feedback on the book and constructive criticism from children and teachers, Barbara has published Elmo The Cat Who Doesn’t Know He’s Orange and is posting them around the country as well as to Sweden, the US, Canada and Australia.

Her other cat, Silky, who is also from Millbrook RSPCA, is also in the book, as the wise old companion, giving the young Elmo helpful lessons in life.

Barbara said that one of the children who read the book asked: “What happens next to Elmo?” and she is currently working on the second of a 10-book series.

“Elmo is a real character. His adventures are centred around a house and is personified like Paddington Bear.

“He has his own website at www.elmothecat.co.uk, plus email and Instagram and children interact with him – and it’s not just children.”

Barbara said the books are aimed at five to seven-year-olds and are illustrated by Emma Waller, the daughter of a friend.

“They appeal to all children, especially those adopted or fostered and teach that being different is a very good thing and that we should accept each other as we are and be kind.”

Barbara said she hopes to give readings of the books in schools when the lockdown restrictions are eased enough.

Before coronavirus, Barbara worked for many years as a stylist for business people. The work is very hands-on and had to be suspended during the pandemic.

This gave more time for Barbara, who had previously dabbled in writing short stories, to work on the Elmo books. She is now hoping to run her writing career alongside her work as a stylist when that is able to resume.

Barbara has had quite an adventurous life herself, having left her native Liverpool on a cargo ship when she was 22. She lived abroad for many years, including five years in Brazil, and has trekked in the Himalayas for charity.

Barbara is inviting young News & Mail readers to send in stories about their cats and she will present one of the writers with a free copy of her book.

SHARE your story and enter the competition:

  • Open to local children aged 5 to 10
  • Stories must be under 500 words
  • Typed up stories are preferred, but you can submit handwritten stories (as legible as possible, please) as a photograph
  • Parents/guardians: please email the story along with the child’s first name and age to [email protected]

Stories must arrive by Monday, 3 August.