Dewey, the Rescued Library Cat – Spencer, Iowa

Dewey.jpgDewey, the Rescued Library Cat – Spencer, Iowa

In this small town in northern Iowa there was an act of horrific cruelness perpetrated on a kitten some years ago when someone, on a very cold winter night, dumped a kitten into the book return box at the library (or it could be that he got in there by himself to try to find warmth..).  The next morning, as the books were being taken from the box, the head librarian, Vicky Myron , found the kitten and took it into the library.  The poor kitten’s feet were frostbitten but he was so glad to be found and warm that he let everyone know how grateful he was.  The librarian decided that the kitten should have a home in the library and thus began the life of Dewey named for "Dewey Decimal System" the library cat of Spencer, Iowa.

There has now been a book written about Dewey and his adventures at the Spencer library. In the new book "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter, you’ll read about a cat who adopted a town, or the other way around.

He was a town secret at first but, as library visitors got to know Dewey, the cat quickly made friends. He was a regular during story hour, and always chose a different child to sit with during the read-aloud. Dewey attended all meetings in the library’s meeting room. He seemed to have some sort of time-clock and, at 9am sharp, went to the library’s front door to greet early bird readers.

And since Spencer fell in love with Dewey, it was inevitable that the rest of the world would soon find out about the wonderful, beautiful cat who seemed to understand all conversation and who was a natural in front of the camera. Soon, national media began to swarm to Iowa in search of Dewey. Fans arrived by car and bus. A movie company from Japan came to film the feline.

Dewey lived in the library for 19 years before finally passing away in 2006. 

During the farm crisis of the 1980′s Dewey was there to offer comfort to those that visited the library.  Although he really couldn’t do much, the people that visited him while in the library always seemed to go away a bit happier than when they came in.  Dewey gained such popularity and became so well known around the world that people came to Spencer just to meet the cat! 

When Dewey died (at a ripe old age), his obituary ran in more than 270 newspapers around the world.

If you want a heartwarming story to read you may want to pick up a copy of Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.  Then, maybe you will want to visit the library where Dewey lived for so long, just to get the feel for him for his memory still certainly lives on.




  1. Lori Ketchum says:

    I just finished reading this book and it is the first time I have ever actually cried while reading a book. I was very touched by this story and wish I could have met Dewey. What a wonderful story.

  2. Sharon Brunjes says:

    My granddaughter gave me the Dewey book to read. An awesome story. Dewey reminds me so very much of an orange cat we had in our family for years. He, too, passed away in 2006. Vicki did a marvelous job of writing her story as well as the story of Dewey. Vicki is to be commended for her devotion to her family, her library in Spencer, Iowa, the town itself, and most of all her kindness and love for one of God’s special creatures, Dewey Readmore Books. Thank you, Vicki, for a heartwarming, never-to-be-forgotten story of Dewey. God Bless, Sharon Brunjes in Kansas City, MO

  3. Gloria, New York says:

    I loved this story and it made me appreciate my two feline friends even more. The story is about family, companionship, and frienship. Dewey was a unique cat and he came when Vicki needed him the most. I laughed and cried while I read the book. Great story! Vicki, I am sure Mr. Readmore Books waves to you every day from heaven. Thank you for "protecting" him.

  4. Brad Niermann says:

    My wife gave me Dewey for Christmas 2008. I’m about half way through and Ijust love the book. We live on a dairy farm in southern Il. and give food and milk to as many as thirty cats. I know first hand about how special cats can be. we’ve had cats by the name of Leo, who looks and behaves a lot like dewey, Uno, who lost one eye, grayone who had sisters graytwo, graythree, grayfour, I never could tell them apart. Checkers, chess, and parcheesy were also sweet cats,along with George a loving neutered tomcat, snickers, our milking buddy who has given birth to several beautiful kittens, and Rubberhead… she likes it when you rub her head. Kamikaze, she would dive into a big pan of milk and then stand in the middle of the pan while 15 other cats drank around her. Wish i could have met dewey, he sounds so much like our farm cats. Brad Niermann Hoyleton Il.

  5. Cecilia Echols says:

    This has to be the best book I have ever read in a life time. Dewey touched my heart from the beginning until the end. Vicki did an outstanding job of interjecting Dewey’s life, her life, and Spencer, Iowa through times of trouble and joy. As a kitty lover I can see and feel him jumping on the cart and all his hiding places in the library. I am just so sorry not to have ever met Dewey. Dewey was special and still special in my eyes. If ever given the chance or oportunity, I will visit his memorial at the library. Thanks Vicki for this outstanding story of his life and yours in Spencer. Cecilia Echols Hot Spings, Arkansas

  6. Margit Dieringer says:

    This book is so loveley and beautyfull. I love Dewey! I have two Cats ,too.Her names are Lily and Lucky.Thanks Vicky for this Story of Deweys Life.I cry and laugh when i read this Book.I will visit his Memory. Margit Dieringer Edesheim, Deutschland

  7. Gunilla Palmlof says:

    I have just read the book about Dewey. I loved the book. I was touched by the way it was written, well included the story om Vicki Myron´s life. The book shows again that animals are honest and direct most of the time the opposite to us human beeings. Gunilla Palmlof, Sweden

  8. J. Everitt says:

    I loved reading about Dewey, he certainly ended up in a great home (the libraby). Dewey sounds like one in a million. I recently had to have one of my 3 cats put to sleep at 17 yrs of age so I know how you all must have felt. Jennifer, Perth, Australia

  9. Mary Ann Wilder says:

    What a beautiful story! Both Vicki and Dewey were blessed! Being a cat lover from early on, I have always had at least 1 cat, we now have 3, and I truly learn something from them, either about myself or people in general or something a little humorous. Cats are pretty smart animals! Dewey was fabulous and such a gentle and understanding fellow! The book was a wonderful read and I so admire Vicki, as well as dear little Dewey. The passing of Dewey was handled in a good way. Even so, I had to wait a few weeks before I finished the last couple of chapters, knowing what was in store. But, thankfully, Dewey lives on in the hearts and minds of those fortunate ones who came to know him.God bless!

  10. Anonymous says:

    What a most special and beautiful ‘pudgalator’!!! Our special name in our home for kitties!!!!!! We had two: one Abby and one Gabby – our Pound Princesses!! Abs lived 15 yrs and Gabs just short of 17yrs – Gabby will be gone 1 yr this May 5th and we miss them both so much!! I could relate with Dewey’s tummy as Abby had the same deal but we used Laxatone – she did die of stomach cancer – such a brave and non complaining girl – a real trooper!!!! Ms Gabby had pancreatitus and was on special food and meds 3X daily for 3 yrs – she did have quality even with all her malladies! God rest them all!!! Such unconditional love – like God has for us! Thank you so much, Vickie, for sharing Dewey’s story with the rest of us!!

  11. Linda Miller says:

    Wow! What a story. From the moment I laid eyes on Dewey I was a goner. What a compelling, riveting, emotionally draining saga of Dewey’s life entwined with Ms. Myron’s life history. A bittersweet tale of how life is for most of us. I finished this book at 3:00 o’clock this afternoon and my heart is still mourning the loss of this dear, sweet kitty I’ll never get to meet. There is a poem call the "Rainbow Bridge" ,the full contents of which eludes me, but it promises that some day we will meet up with our dear, departed pets just this side of heaven. We can then cross over the Rainbow Bridge to heaven together. Thank you and to all who helped you share Dewey with the rest of the world.

  12. Beautiful cat, both in looks and in spirit. Dewster was a Maine Coon, like one of ours. When the author said Dewey was "handsome" I know just what she meant.

  13. Dewey is a cute little orange cat and I have been reading your story. I’m on chapter 13 already when I got i week ago. I heard that this story was tru! is it true or not? thanks for answering my question if you get this.

  14. Marge Morrow says:

    I absolutely loved the book even though I’m not finished reading it yet! I’m a cat lover, too! We used to have 2 wonderful black cats and had a wonderful time with them. Our first cat, Mandy lived a good long life of 17 years and she died in 2007–I’ll always miss her. But, I definitely agree with one of the comments from John on March 19th–I believe Dewey was a Maine Coon even though they’re usually grey. But he acted a lot like my mother’s Maine Coon except he was friendly to everyone while Maine Coon’s are usually 1 person cats. My mother’s Main Coon talked to her just like Dewey seemed to talk to Vicki. I especially loved the chapter about him finding the bat and trying to tell Vicki about it. Thanks for writing such a precious book!

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I read this great story a week ago and i still reread some chapters and i still cry and laugh.Thank you Vicky for little Dewy.I have 4 cats and as all cats they do have some Dewy in them .All the more reason to love them.Thank You and God Bless .

  16. Sharon Honomichl says:

    I just finished this inspirational book and am still crying over the genuine love and caring for a wonderful kitty. Vicky is a special person and through her adversities, she found the love and caring to take care of such a sweet cat. I’ve had all my kitties put down due to old age and haven’t taken in anymore due to being old and crippled up,but I certainly could relate to Dewey’s many adventures. I could picture our local library here having a resident kitty and know I would be one of the many of many patrons who would frequent our library to see a cat. I remember seeing the article in the Cat’s or Cat Fancy Magazine about the library kitty and used to wish we had one here. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful story of love of animals. It is truly one of the best books I’ve ever read and feel so privileged you shared this wonderful story. God Bless all of those wonderful ladies at the library who helped Vicky with Dewey too. I feel such love for all of you.

  17. I’m from Brazil. I read this wonderful book. Dewey was a really special cat, I love Dewey…

  18. Rosemary and Kory says:

    My daughter and I just finished the audio of the story of Dewey. We just loved it. It warmed our hearts and made us better people. We volunteer at a local cat shelter and we can appreciate this story of a rescue. Thanks for adding to our lives a good memory.

  19. Matt Merry says:

    A truly wonderful and moving story. I am a cat lover and have two cats but also have experienced the loss of others. The book also gives an insight into life in Spencer. When I next visit the US I plan on including Spencer in my itinerary. Well done Vicki and all the library staff for caring for Dewey, and most of all well done Dewey for bringing happiness to many persons young and old.


  20. Lisa (CT) says:

    I just finished reading Dewey and was so touched by this heartwarming true story about a sweet feline and his founder Vicky who are both in my eyes extraordinary beings. I have never been so touched by a personal account of two lives intertwined and sharing both joys and sorrow together as the years unfolded in the small town of Spencer. The book was so creatively written and I love how Vicky tied in her live story with such pure honesty. The world is a better place with people like Vicky and cats like Dewey who touch lives in the most profound and special ways. Thank you so much Vicky for sharing this delightful story. My 12 yr old orange tabby cat "Dubus", sat on my lap the entire time I read Dewey, so I know he enjoyed it too! God Bless and Peace to you always. Lisa in CT.

  21. Nancy Laurita says:

    I just finished reading Deweys story and my heart still hurts. I frequent our public library in Indiana every day. There is no cat here. I walk by recently published books daily and rarely read non fiction until I saw Deweys face! As I read his story, I kept going to the cover to look at his face and right to his soul through those beautiful eyes. My god! this story really has touched my heart. God bless you Vicki for writing it. You were so blessed to have Dewey…I have two males in my little home, one is 4, his name is Denny, he came to me when he was 6 weeks old. The other, Moose, is now 22!! And seemingly healthy. I do everything I can do to see he is happy and comfortable. He came to me less than 2 years ago when his other family decided they no longer wanted him????? Their intention was to feed him antifreeze, I was told. He is the sweetest animal I can remember having. As you described Deweys aging, I completely understood as Moose is pretty slow, and thinning considerably around his bones. I’m reminded often by this that I have limited time left with him. Because of your book, I’m sure to take a little more time and hold him in my arms just a little longer.

  22. Gayle Smth says:

    On this Memorial day of May 2009 I can’t think of a better time to address the people, the spirit and the genuine love that those of you who live in Spencer Iowa have chosen to show. This real story shows what real love is all about. Dewey is a spirit that all who read your book can’t help but fall with and to feel that he is their cat too. As I spent some time in Iowa, I know how the people there are down to earth and really care about others. Not only is Dewey an inspiration but Vicki, her friends and family are all hero’s in my book. I always longed to lived a place that exempifies what Spencer and it’s people are all about. Love to all of you and long live your legacy and your spirit .

  23. Jody Rock says:

    I just finished the book Dewey that a student gave me as a goodbye gift at the end of the year in high school. It brought tears to my eyes and I really could relate to Vicki saying that though it seemed she had held him up all those years, he really had held her up. I’ve always felt animals are angels in disguise and fill a need at particular times in our lives. My 13 year old lab, Molly, passed away last year and had given me unconditional love and protected our family and well being all those years…I had to reread my own journals I wrote on her after finishing Dewey. I felt very peaceful and made sure I really spent time with my 2 cats, one who looks just like Dewey. I love animals and they have so much to give once they feel safe and that they can trust you…they are sentient, emotional and loving beings, deserving of our utmost respect. Thank you for writing this book for the rest of us who never got to meet Dewey, Vicky. Sincerely, Jody

  24. lucy stokes says:

    this is a very moving story about a cat who knew when to give his time and comfort to those who needed it most.

    i’m reading it through now and find it very moving and reminds me of my cat who died 5 years ago, she was a grey tabby who gave me lots of laughs and comfort when i was feeling down.

  25. Liz Franzmann says:

    What an amazing and moving book: I lived it from the very first to the last page and of course , wept profusely at Dewey’s demise. I’m a cat lover & owner (picking up strays and waifs throughout my life) and can 100% identify with everything: the challenges, worry, trials, humour, finicky eating, comfort (how do they know when you are sad, ill or worried?) and of course, the final tears. I really felt as though it was one of my own beloved pets. They both got extra hugs and kisses and more bed space last night! I only wish I had met Dewey in his lifetime. Thank you

  26. Jane Feagan says:

    I was looking for a book in WH Smith as a present for my boyfriend on saturday and it was then, Dewey’s beautiful face stared up at me from his book, i picked it up and read the back cover, knowing then i had to buy it. I am half way through and have cried so much already of reading about the warmth between Dewey and VIcki and the other staff and the disabled girl visitor. I used to have a ginger cat called Felix and Dewey reminded me of him.

    Cat’s and all animals are sensitive souls who we could learn so much from.

    I hope others read the book soon…

  27. Jerry Boroff says:

    My wife Claire and I love animals. We have a black female cat named Littlegirl. We feed and shelter numerous neighbourhood cats, some of whom are homeless and others who prefer not to be in their homes. Cats are special people and Dewey was obviously a very special individual. What is it about a deep mutual love relationship between a furry four-legged creature and a warm-hearted person that brings tears to our eyes? I was weeping even before I read the inevitable end. I think that we all seek a loving connection and when we learn of a situation where that kind of bond came to be; it touches us, gives us hope, enables us to let down our guard and allow our emotions to be set free.

  28. i think that the book about dewey was a very good and that ppl should read it i recomend it it waz very good

  29. Philip Clock says:

    What a wonderful book!

    Dewey Readmore Books captivated my 7th grade son, whom I thought was past bedtime stories but loves cats (we have 4, all rescued) and made Dewey the exception after I bought him the book for his birthday. He particularly likes Dewey’s many library poses pictured at the beginning of each chapter.

    We’re almost finished, I’m hoping the Spencer Public Library will have a Dewey successor-in-training to follow.

  30. John Arnold says:

    A very special and magical Cat – wonderful library staff – a lovely Town – a really amazing and wonderful story of hope, adversity, love, intuition and caring – the best real life story in many many years and one I will never forget. Dewey lives on – immortalised in books, papers, films, videos and certainly in my mind.

    John Arnold – Dartford – England

  31. Tracy L. Hannon says:

    Just Finshed reading the book on Dewey, Found it very funny. And cats are the most comical you can get.

  32. David Ward says:

    Until 3 days ago, when I was given the book, I had never heard of Dewey – never! – despite the lines of communication that have been available.

    I feel that I have missed an important event. From the moment I started this book I was “hooked, line & sinker”. I don’t mind admitting that tears flowed on more that one page. I enjoyed that book, the description of Iowa, of Spencer, of the library, of the staff, of the all the visitors of the library. But most of all thank you Vicky Myron, not only for giving us an insight into your own life and familt but also for putting into words the pleasures, happiness, worries and sadness of every day life with a cat called Dewey and to Dewey – thank you for being.

  33. margaret Buitenhof says:

    This is a really charming read, and I can understand the magic this little guy worked in Spencer. Well written, with SOUL!

  34. Nancy M Lane says:

    Dewey is a once in a life time special cat. I had one over 30 years ago and I still mourn his passing. However I beleive all of our beloved pets will rejoin us when we reach heaven. I thank the people of Spencer Iowa for taking such great care of Dewey and loving him. The human race needs to live in peace and harmony with our animal kingdom. Thank you for sharing Dewey with the world in his life story. A very heart warming and touching story. Thank you again for sharing.

  35. Ratna Yulianti says:

    I am from Indonesia. I am sorry if my English is not good. I just finished reading the book of Dewey. How lovely and touch full ! Basically I am a cat lover and reading about Dewey is increase my love to cats. Many people say that dog is a man best friend. But I think cat’s too and even better.

  36. Maureen Smith says:

    Loved this book. Have been a cat person all my life and can’t think of any cat I ever came in contact with that could touch the lives and hearts of people like Dewey did and continues to do. He truely was unique. This is such a nice story for folks of all ages.

  37. What an amazing life Dewey lived . Whoever dumped him into that book slot did him the biggest favor of his life he found a home where people loved and cherished him. He made the library a better place and touched the hearts of so many people. I love you Dewey will never forget you I am sure you are touching the hearts of all those at the rainbowbridge. Thank-you Vicky for sharing Dewey’s amazing life with us in this heartwarming and heartbreaking story. God bless you and Dewey and I believe a piece of him is in your new kitty Page who looks so much like him it is unbelievable. Dewey is always with you Vicky he lives on in your heart and in Page.

  38. Pearl Liss says:

    I fell in love with Dewey … thank you Vicki for sharing your beloved Dewey with me.
    I will never forget Dewey, he was a beautiful soul. The book was wonderful and I shall cherish the stories of Dewey and the people of Spencer.

  39. Brian Carr says:

    What a delightful book. I teared up more than few times while reading about the antics of Dewey or recalling crystal clear memories of our Carnegie library in Miles City Montana where I learned to explore the world thru books. Dewey is unique at least with the cats that I have had. I have only had one cat Snowfall who passed away two years ago that was as loving as Dewey to anyone who approached. All our other cats are not quite as touchable but are just as unique as Dewey with their own personalities. To Dewey for making me smile and cry and remember why I have been owned by so many cats in my life – Tidbit from my teenage years 1978-1988, Grey & Silver 1997-1997; Fatboy 1998-1998 & Snowfall 1998 -2007; Flame 1998-; Paint 2008-; Nightfall & her two kittens Spitfire & Fayette 2009-. All were rescue and we love each of them. Passing the book onto my wife and then to my Mother who I kow will cherish Dewey’s story as well. Thank you Vicky for sharing your story of your life and sharing Dewey’s story that changed a town for the better.

  40. Like everyone here I was very touched by this story. I wish I had met Dewey. Although I still cry thinking of Dewy’s passing, he has left joy in my heart too. I have two big, beautiful male tabbys at home that make me think of Dewey.

    I have 4 cats, 2 dogs and a fish. I have fostered both cats and dogs. All my pets are rescues.

    It feels good to know you are all out here, fellow animal and Dewey lovers. :)

    Vicki, you are a strong and remarkable woman. You are someone I can look up to.

    I live in Toronto, Canada and I am going to Iowa next Summer to honor Dewey and the town of Spencer.

    God bless you all.

  41. sheryl mose (Hiveley) says:

    I saw a article about Dewey in the Minneapolis paper and told my duaghter about it. She gave me the book this Christmas (2010). We are also cat lovers and have taken in many strays that no one wanted and also adopted from the shelter. This book has touched my heart so much and if any person who doesn’t shed a tear has no heart at all.

  42. I just finished reading the DEWEY book, and wish to thank Vicki Myron for sharing her life, her tales, and Dewey’s story with us. It is a wonderful and inspiring story. Thank you!!

  43. Lynne O. Burfeind says:

    I am just finishing listening to the book and I have!!! I have had cats my whole adult life and see some of the same characteristics in Dewey. I am sure he will live on forever in the hearts of the people of Spencer.

  44. Mae Bozeman says:

    What an enchanting book. I thank Vicki for sharing her story with us all. I’ve had 5 cats in my adult life (many more than that as a child growing up on a small Ms farm). They’ve all been/are very special to me. These 5 have “shown up” at my home in the country throughout the years. My experiences have come from “taking in” these strays that steal your heart, comfort you when your sad and lonely and make you laugh when you least expect it! Cats with “ATTITUDES”! What companions they all have been/are.

  45. Gina Woods says:

    I was given this book by a freind who know I was raised on a farm in Iowa and now live in the east. One of the best book I have ever read. It brought back all the childhood memories of Iowa. I loved all the stories of the town and the people, and having 10 cats of my own I just feel in love with Dewey. I could see something in each of my cats that made Dewey special to the city of Spencer. Thank you for sharing this book with us and putting me back in touch with my roots. Will forever keep this book and Iowa close to my heart.

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