Finn and the Feline Frenemy (Life in the Doghouse #4)

Finn and the Feline Frenemy (Life in the Doghouse #4)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
February 07, 2023
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Inspired by a real dog from Danny & Ron’s Rescue from the popular documentary, Life in the Doghouse, this fourth book in the sweet chapter book series follows a dog’s rivalry with his new cat sibling.

Finn, a Redbone hound with three legs, is excited to join the Figueroa family, who are also expecting a new baby to arrive any day now! The house is full of new toys and fun places to explore, but for Finn, who is still adapting to his missing back leg, the stairs are too daunting to manage.

But Finn’s new home holds one big surprise—a new cat sibling, Rusty, who has three legs just like him! Finn is determined to become best friends, but Rusty has other plans. And when the two start fighting over the family’s attention, it turns into a battle to be the favorite pet.

Will Finn and Rusty learn to get along before their new human arrives? Or is the dog-cat divide too large to cross?

Editor review

1 review
Like Cats and Dogs
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
The Figuerosa family has some big changes coming, since nine-year-old Alyssa's mother is pregnant. She has to give up her playroom for the much anticipated Brennan, and her father is even painting a mural for him. They have also adopted a dog from Danny and Ron, who run a shelter for animals in need. Finn has recently been abandoned, and his leg had been so badly broken that it had to be amputated. Alyssa is very patient with Finn, and careful to make sure he slowly learns to get around with one less limb. She also introduces Finn to Rusty, the family cat who also has three legs. Finn has been raised with cats, so is eager to make friends, but Rusty is used to having the house and family all to himself. It doesn't help that Finn accidentally spills Rusty's food all over the kitchen and also gets Rusty wet. Finn feels horrible, and really wants to learn from Rusty, who can even climb up the cat tree. Finn learns to swim, which helps him gain strength, and really wants to reach an agreement with Rusty before baby Brennan arrives so that Alyssa has less to worry about. Will the two be able to get along?
Good Points
This series (including Elmer and the Talent Show, Moose and the Smelly Sneakers, and Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm) is based on real life dogs that Robertshaw and Danta have had come through their shelter. I always enjoy reading the real story of the pets at the end of the book, and think it's great that these books might raise awareness of rescue dogs, as well as dogs with special needs.

Laura Catrinella's black and white illustrations are delightful, and it's interesting to see how Finn manages to get up the stairs and navigate his world with three legs. The font was a particularly pleasant one, and the size and spacing makes this very comfortable for younger elementary school aged readers. I'm not sure how many young people watch the movie (which is available on FreeVee), but the books certainly stand on their own quite well.

Pets have an undeniable appeal for young readers, and there are plenty of books that deal with various aspects of pet ownership. Young dog lovers who want to know a little bit about cats will find Finn's adventures with Rusty ultimately satisfying, but might also want both a dog AND a cat after reading this sweet story. Hand this one to readers of Miles' Puppy Place books, Cameron's A Puupy Tale series, Faruqi's Must Love Pets, Tan's Pets Rule or the amusing Wedgie and Gizmo by Selfors.
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