El Paso, Texas – Tony Lovitt graduated from New Mexico State University in 1977, was a student assistant in NMSU’s sports information office, sports information director for the Sun Bowl in 1975 and even did radio play-by-play for the El Paso/Juarez Sol professional volleyball team. Now you can add children’s book author to his resume.

Lovitt has written two books – Five Trees for Mina and The Cat with Twenty Toes. He will be in El Paso and Las Cruces this weekend to sign copies of both books.

The inspiration for Five Trees for Mina was his daughter’s cat Mina which he took in when she went off to school. “I really hadn’t anticipated getting the cat,” Lovitt explains, “but my daughter prevailed on me and the cat lived with me for seven years and I became very attached to her.”

Lovitt says when he had to euthanize the cat, who was 19 years old, the veterinarian returned Mina’s remains along with a certificate from the Arbor Day Foundation saying that five trees had been planted in a forest in Minnesota as a living tribute to Mina.

“I thought this was a wonderful tribute to the cat,” said Lovitt “As an adult, it made me feel much better and it assuaged a lot of my grief and it might do the same thing for children.”

Lovitt explained that a child’s first experience with death is usually the death of a family pet. The book is intended to help children cope with the grief associated with the loss of a pet and encourages children and their families to have trees planted as a memorial to their pets.

His new book The Cat with Twenty Toes celebrates physical differences and promotes diversity through the use of fun, rhyming verse and colorful, whimsical illustrations featuring a metaphorical, polydactyl cat named Sookie. The book is dedicated to the author’s brother, Sgt. Brad Lovitt, a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, whose cat inspired the book.

Lovitt will be signing copies of both books at St. Mark’s Private School in El Paso on Friday, November 12 at 1 p.m., and at COAS Books Main Street location in Las Cruces from 10am-noon on Saturday, November 13. Both books are also available on Amazon and Barnes and

Mark Ross is an anchor/producer for ABC-7.