Talk to the Tail: Adventures in Cat Ownership and Beyond by Tom Cox

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Talk to the Tail: Adventures in Cat Ownership and Beyond by Tom Cox

Category: Pets
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Madeline Wheatley
Reviewed by Madeline Wheatley
Summary: In this sequel to Under the Paw Tom Cox relates more stories about his life with his six eccentric cats.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: January 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
ISBN: 978-1847378170

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Are you a cat person weaned on Dewey the library cat, or Marilyn Edwards' rural tales or Doreen Tovey's precious Siamese stories? Do you enjoy cosy, slightly twee reminiscences of much loved felines? If so, look away now… Talk to the Tail is that rare bird: a cat eulogy written by a man. As such it features rather more incidents involving fights, bottom washing, urine stained rugs and feline sexual exploits than your average book about cats. O.K. I'm exaggerating slightly, but reader be warned; the mad cat man is a different beast to the mad cat woman. It's less furry babies and more furry nightmares.

Yet in one respect Talk to the Tail is a classic cat book. The cats come to life on the page. Their fur shedding, purring presence walks across the room while you read, and you feel involved in their journey. I longed to intervene in the long running battle between Pablo and Ralph, clearly two cats not designed to share a house. Ralph's plaintive cry of Raaalph, when reluctant to come in through the cat flap, says it all. These are real cats, unlike the star of the only other comparable book I can think of: Chris Pascoe's A Cat called Birmingham. A laugh out loud book, as is Talk to the Tail at points, but with a rather cartoon like cat compared to Tom Cox's all too true to life animals.

The book's subtitle is Adventures in cat ownership and beyond. The and beyond part needs noting. The stories are not just about cats. There is a lot here about Tom Cox's family, friends and work. His father in particular is strongly drawn. He has one of those typically loud, teacherly voices, and his booming enthusiasm echoes throughout the book. The family's home is also memorable with its menagerie of stuffed animals.

Dipping in and out is a good way to read this book as it is basically a collection of separate incidents. There is a chronological thread but it is fairly regularly disrupted by additional side stories. My only problem with this came towards the end of the book when a bombshell is dropped on the reader (and indeed on the author). Instead of finding out what happened next off we go on a dog walking expedition followed by a trip abroad before learning how the major issue raised earlier is resolved.

That niggle aside, the book is an entertaining, funny and off beam look at life with cats, where the cats are very much a part of, but not the whole of the author's life. I certainly want to know what happens to them next!

Thank you to the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion:

For a more girly take on cats try Vicki Myron's Dewey's Nine Lives.

Or for another group of cats sharing the same space try Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage by Denis O'Connor.

Buy Talk to the Tail: Adventures in Cat Ownership and Beyond by Tom Cox at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Talk to the Tail: Adventures in Cat Ownership and Beyond by Tom Cox at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Talk to the Tail: Adventures in Cat Ownership and Beyond by Tom Cox at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Talk to the Tail: Adventures in Cat Ownership and Beyond by Tom Cox at Amazon.com.


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