The cats are out of the bag: Our children’s book has launched!

13 February 2020

We have created a new story book and animation ‘Meet our Crohn’s and Colitis cats’ to help children better understand and manage a brighter future with Crohn’s or Colitis

The book will help educate children themselves as well as their families about the conditions and different aspects of living with the diseases.

Through age appropriate, relatable information, this new resource aims to empower children to make the right choices for themselves as well as learning better self-care as there is currently no resource that meets this need.

The resource is available for free and is for children aged 7-11 living with Crohn’s or Colitis themselves, or children who have a parent or family member living with the disease.

The story, that has been designed with illustrator Thomas Wolfe, who lives with Crohn’s Disease himself, focuses on cats which is a metaphor for looking after your disease.

Creating the book with Crohn’s & Colitis UK has been an incredibly positive experience. I have enormous faith in their bottomless knowledge of these medical conditions, and in turn they put their faith in me to create a meaningful story. I hope that together we’ve achieved something that can help young people who are living with Crohn’s or Colitis.

Thomas Wolfe,
Illustrator, living with Crohn's

The book can be personalized so the reader can decide whether the characters, Riley and Owen have either Crohn’s, Colitis or IBD Unclassified, depending on their own circumstances.

The story makes the invisible visible by representing Owen and Riley’s conditions in the form of cats – sometimes they follow you around and bother you, and at other times they leave you alone. Riley and Owen always have to take care of their cats, but they’re only a small part of who they are. Challenging situations such as feeling different from friends and taking medicine are explored in a sensitive and friendly way.

Riley and Owen discover that while it takes guts to live with a Crohn’s or Colitis cat, they can still achieve their dreams, like Strictly Come Dancing professional and charity ambassador, Amy Dowden. 

Living with Crohn’s or Colitis can be hard at times and difficult to talk about. This will get conversations started with children and their loved ones and encourage them to share how they are feeling and how they are coping with the conditions.

I also love my cameo in the book! By sharing my experiences of striving for my dreams of being a dancer and not letting Crohn’s stop me I hope it helps others to know that these diseases won’t beat them, and they can do anything they want to.

Amy Dowden,
Dancer, living with Crohn's

Information specifically designed with children's needs in mind will make a huge difference in helping the thousands of children living with Crohn’s or Colitis come to terms with their condition. This resource is greatly needed and facilitated the involvement of illustrator Thomas Wolfe, children, parents and carers in shaping this new resource.

It takes guts for anyone to talk about Crohn’s and Colitis, but young people face specific challenges which we wanted to address. Meet our Crohn’s and Colitis Cats has the perfect mix of humour, education and compassion to make it the ideal tool to empower children to take control of their condition. The book will help to break down the stigma surrounding Crohn’s and Colitis and open up conversations across the country.

Jaina Engineer, 
Knowledge and Information Manager, Crohn's & Colitis UK

Meet our Crohn's and Colitis Cats