335X: Lassie-Like Story, Dimly Recalled

It’s a book I read in the 1970s (but it may have been published much earlier).  The central character is a family’s pet–a cat I think, but I’m unsure.  Maybe a dog.  The family lives on a river, maybe the Mississippi.  (My family was living on the river at the time, and the story may have been presented as a “local” tale.)  By accident one day the pet floats away on a raft.  Far downstream it comes ashore.  The heart of the story is akin to Lassie-Come-Home:  the pet struggles to return to the family.  In the closing pages I believe it does return to the house–but the family is just leaving and somehow there is no reunion.  Possibly the pet is even in the yard as the family packs out, and it hears the son’s voice as he laments that the pet never got back.  I could be imagining that last bit, but I’m pretty sure there’s no reunion.  I recall weeping at the near-miss, but all the other details are fuzzy.

2 thoughts on “335X: Lassie-Like Story, Dimly Recalled

  1. I believe this book could be The Crossbreed by Allan W Eckert. (1968). The story begins with a mother cat who has given birth to kittens that are fathered by a bobcat. When they are still quite young, a fierce flood overwhelms the den, one kit is able to stay alive in a hollowed out log where a boy finds him while out on his boat. The boy takes care of the kitten in a shed
    and tames him, teaching the young cat how to hunt with a red fuzzy bit of yarn attached to fishing wire. They are best buds but the alcoholic father hates cats and the boy runs away on a boat with the cat with him. The boat overturns and the crossbreed is once again whisked away, traveling hundreds of miles. The rest of the story is his quest to find his way home.The ending is like you have related, both satisfying but still very sad. This is a top favorite of a book from my childhood. It s available as a print on demand book, ebay should have. I am excited to share this wonderful book with you!

  2. The book is called The Crossbreed by Allan W. Eckert(1968). It is one of my favorite books ever, a moving story of a cat’s journey back to its home place. Yes, it has both a very sad but in some ways, satisfying conclusion.

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