Everything you need to understand or teach It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville.
It's Like This, Cat recounts a year in the life of Dave Mitchell as he completes junior high school and enters high school in New York. The story focuses on relationships among family members and among peers, on loss, and on the development of compassion for others— especially those without strong family bonds or friendships. When his family offers support and friendship to Kate, a recluse, and to Tom, a young adult without direction, Dave remarks, "My family is starting to collect people the way Kate collects homeless cats."
Through his interaction with others, Dave develops the strength of character and emotional maturity to accept and survive life's inevitable tragedies.