"The Familiars," by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson (ages 8-12).
Pretending to be someone else is asking for trouble. No matter how clever you are, there's a chance somebody will suspect.
Aldwyn the alley cat finds himself in such a situation in "The Familiars." While trying to steal a flounder from the town fishmonger, he gets caught in a trap. He narrowly escapes, but evil animal bounty hunter Grimslade is after him. On the run, Aldwyn sneaks into a shop. The shop is filled with animals in cages, so he climbs into an empty cage to hide.
These animals are magical creatures known as familiars. They are to be paired with a spellcaster -- a witch or wizard -- so the two can become companions for life.
When Jack, an 11-year-old wizard in training, sees Aldwyn, the shop owner says the cat has the power of telekinesis.
Jack feels a connection with the cat and, with no proof of magical powers, chooses Aldwyn for his familiar.
Jack's fellow wizard trainees, Marianne and Dalton, have familiars who have actual magical abilities. Skylar the blue jay is an illusionist. Gilbert the tree frog has the power of divination: He looks into puddles and sometimes sees visions.
When Jack, Marianne and Dalton are kidnapped, the animals are the only ones who can save them. Skylar and Gilbert are counting on Aldwyn to free their three loyals from enchanted chains.
The former alley cat then has to use his real talents -- street smarts -- to prove that he, too, is worthy of being called a familiar.