My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat. Dave Mitchell and his father yell at each other a lot, and whenever the fighting starts, Dave's mother gets an asthma attack. That's when Dave storms out of the house. Then Dave meets Tom, a strange boy who helps him rescue Cat. It isn't long before Cat introduces Dave to Mary, a wonderful girl from Coney Island. Slowly Dave comes to see the complexities in people's lives and to understand himself and his family a little better.