I grew up in a family that always owned cats.
Fri 02 Dec 2016
I grew up in a family that always owned cats. Ok, I guess you can never truly own a cat in the same sense as a dog, but cats were always part of our family life. First there was Sweep, a large black cat who detested men and once climbed up the chimney and remained there until he became hungry. Next up was Rosie, a shy tabby cat who curiously enjoyed water and had an amazingly loud purr. After Rosie came Bert who had a reputation as a fighter and was feared by all the other cats in our street. Even from an early age I recognised that each cat had its own unique personality and habits.
So, I was intrigued when Cat Tales arrived on my desk promising true life tales of cats. The cover of this handsome hardback book is beautifully illustrated by Nicola L Robinson, and at first glance gives the reader the impression that the stories in this book could be relatively modern. However, what lurks inside the cover is a fascinating historical selection of true cat stories, some dating back well over 100 years or more. The stories have been discovered in old books, magazines and newspapers by history aficionado Tom Quinn. Due to the age of some of the tales, it would have been quite easy for Cat Tales to only appeal to readers who enjoy the classics or a challenging read, but Tom has cleverly selected stories that are bite-sized and surprisingly easy and appealing to read.
The book is broken down into six chapters covering caring, clever, crazy, fighting and cute cats, as well as a chapter of cat verse. There’s entertaining tales of cats who struck up unlikely friendships with other animals and cats that grasped some amazing skills such as dancing!
It’s certainly a book that you can either dip in and out of, or as in my case, read cover to cover over a very entertaining and enjoyable couple of days! The book spans 280 pages and features some beautiful illustrations that capture the quirkiness and charm of our feline friends.
The one thing that is strikingly obvious with Cat Tales is simply how much the English language has evolved over the last century or so, yet cats through history have remained the same curious, mysterious and fascinating creatures as they are today.
Tom has written a range of books on the history of the English countryside, fishing, eccentrics, railways, early aviation and the First World War. He is also the author of Backstairs Billy, a life of the Queen Mother’s favourite page, William Tallon.
Cat Tales is published by Quiller and is priced at £14.95