By Ruth (Monty’s Mom)
Through the miracle of the Internet (more specifically Facebook) I become aware of an excellent author from the UK, Tom Cox. He has written three books about his cats: Under the Paw, Talk to the Tail and most recently, The Good, The Bad and The Furry. The titles alone are enough to get the attention of any cat lover, but on his Facebook page entitled “Under the Paw” Cox has posted excerpts from his books. Reading these brief snippets will leave the true cat lover wanting more. At least that’s what happened to me. It took awhile before the book was available outside the UK. I found myself in the frustrating situation of learning more and more about this touching, funny book about cats but being unable to get my hands on a copy!
I finally did, in the form of a Christmas present from my husband. The star of the book is an eighteen year old black cat named The Bear, who always looks sad. Whether he really is or not, we probably can’t know, but his eyes not only look sad, they seem to be looking into your inmost soul.
It is as if he is asking, “Can you tell me why I am a cat, please?” Why does The Bear look so sad? Cox attempts to answer that question with many humorous statements, some pretty far fetched and some that seem almost possible when you look into The Bear’s mournful little face.
Other feline characters include Ralph: a handsome cat who announces his presence by meowing his own name, loudly. Shipley: no less vocal, he actually swears at his humans in angry, insulting outbursts, but all is forgiven if you turn him upside down and rub his belly. Roscoe is a kitten, the newcomer to the group, which also includes feral cats, neighbor’s cats, the author’s parents’ cats, and a toad who lives in a shoe. You just have to read the book.
I wanted to recommend this book to readers of PoC because it tackles many of the issues Michael and contributors to PoC enjoy writing about, including dealing with other cats coming in through your cat flap. I remember Michael writing about this not so long ago (here’s a picture of the tabby cats he used to feed). Elisa, another contributor to PoC, wrote once that she feels that all the cats of her past eventually come back to her.
I get the feeling that this actually happened to the author’s parents. This special cat from his childhood who may have found his way back to them, reincarnated as a fluffy white kitten: Monty. How can you beat that? The best cat from his childhood was named Monty.
But I digress. The book also deals with the death of a cat, living with an elderly cat, how cats get along in a multi-cat household and adopting a kitten. I found The Good, The Bad and The Furry to be very well written. It made me laugh, but it also made me think. As a reader from the USA, it gave me a nice glimpse into the world of cat caretaking in Britain.
PoC certainly provides that also, but it was very pleasant to sit down and read an entire book about UK cats and their human servants. I recommended this book to a former student and her mother and then felt a little funny about doing that. She’s actually in college now, so I’m sure she is ready to handle the references to feral cat testicles (to remove or not to remove them) and there are a few actual swear words in the book. Although Shipley certainly gets a few good ones in, my favorite is the author’s father warning his son loudly to be on guard against “FOOKWITS AND LOONIES.” And NUTTERS, you can’t forget about the NUTTERS. Good fatherly advice, I daresay, which we all would do well to heed!
I highly recommend The Good, The Bad and The Furry, and look forward to reading Tom Cox’s other books. I would be surprised if I am the only visitor to PoC who has read this book. Comments are welcome. What was your favorite part of the book?