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Talk to the Tail: Adventures in Cat Ownership and Beyond [Paperback]

Tom Cox
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 5 Jan 2012 --  

Book Description

5 Jan 2012
Following on from Tom's life with six cats in UNDER THE PAW, he now picks up the story in TALK TO THE TAIL, updating readers on what has happened with his feline friends as well as looking back for more confessions about his animal-loving past. Readers of Tom's previous book will be delighted to read what has happened to his six eccentric cats. Why does Janet keep bringing 1980s sweet wrappers into the house? Will 24-hour surveillance of The Bear, using a state-of-the-art cat GPS system, finally solve the mystery of his wanderlust? Tom also writes about his bumbling forays into the remainder of the animal kingdom. He attempts to overcome his crippling fear of horses with disastrous results, chase ostriches in Kenya, put his hand into a tiger's mouth for 0.9 seconds and he meets his 'alter-doggo' -- the spaniel Tom regularly walks who likes to roll around in dead animals. Where will it all end? Will he give in to temptation and get a dog, a goat or even more cats? With this soppy creature-obsessive, anything is possible. Gerald Durrell has lots of family and other animals, but Tom Cox has MY ANIMALS AND OTHER FAMILY.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (5 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847399878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847399878
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tom Cox was born in Nottingham in 1975. Since leaving his post as The Guardian's Pop Critic in 2000, he has written seven books, including the Sunday Times top ten bestseller The Good, The Bad And The Furry. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Observer, Esquire, and many other publications. He lives in Devon.

Tom Cox is a very funny writer.' - Kate Atkinson

'Made me laugh out loud.' - David Sedaris

'Tom Cox writes brilliantly about golf.' William Boyd

Product Description


'A book with a sting in the tail that may give pause to even the most cynical petaphobe' --Mail On Sunday

'If you think this very funny book is just about cats, you will be joyfully mistaken. Talk to the Tail also magnificently covers everything from depressed tigers to judgmental horses to mischievous alter ego spaniels to Jon Bon Jovi. I, myself, am allergic to cats, but with Tom's realistic and descriptive powers, I'm definitely not allergic to this book' --Rich Fulcher

'Warm, wryly witty, hilariously observed and more often than not, genuinely laugh-out-loud funny' --Easy Living

'Even a confirmed and partisan dog person such as myself cannot fail to be charmed by Tom Cox's gently seductive prose and his quirky tales of singular feline behaviour. A delight' --Stuart Maconie

'If you've ever been owned by a cat, you'll love this. Books about animals can be mawkish, but this one is often hilarious, occasionally sad, and full of the strangeness of sharing your life with a loved pet' --Woman's Weekly

Honestly, that title sums it up nicely. Basically, it s a whimsical book about cats that even dog aficionados will love --Metro

About the Author

Tom Cox's writing has appeared in the Sunday Times, Observer, Mail on Sunday, Guardian and Independent. He lives in Norfolk.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talking tails 8 Jan 2011
Following on from the author's previous book, Under The Paw, this second volume is the continuing story of one young man and his six cats. Where both books score over other feline memoirs (that is the owners' memoirs not the cats'. If my own cats are any guide that'd just be 200 pages of 'Riaow...meep') is that while the narrative is charming (and funny and moving) it is absolutely free of the whimsy that often plagues books about pets. While the cats are delighted in and loved, this is the first time I've come across a feline described in print as 'a complete tool'. Talk To The Tail is about more than cats: A brief list might include - dogs, the strange open spaces of Norfolk, relationships, taxidermy (not cat-related and very funny), and gonzo journalism for the slightly faint-hearted. I read the book in a day. It's beautifully written and very engaging. Ideal if you like cats, but just as good if you like people. If you enjoy Bill Bryson you'll like this. The style differs but the dry humour is somewhat similar: Fewer airmiles and more fur and vole faces though.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great ramble through Mr Cox's life 12 Jan 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved Under the Paw and I loved this just as much. Some sad bits - a break up is always hard but the cats seem to have adjusted well! Some very funny bits. I love his descriptions of his cats personalities. All cat owners know that each cat has a separate and distinct personality and Tom manages to capture these on paper so very well.

This book focusses on many of the other animals in Tom's life and one gets the impression Tom would have one or six of everything if left unchecked - I can totally relate to this.

I have always imagined that I could safely pet a lion or tiger because it would instinctively know I had now wish to hurt it - I get the feeling that Tom thinks pretty much the same. The overwhelming need to befriend any and all animals shines through and I adore him for this.

I know The Bear is getting older and Janet (who I love - despite having never met him) has a managed illness and I wonder how I will cope wen nature inevitably takes its course.

Please follow Tom on Twitter @tomcox75

Looking forward to the next installment
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a book about cats.... 12 Jan 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For those of you who have read 'Under The Paw' (and if not, you'd better get that too), 'Talk To The Tail' is the follow up. I was expecting more of the same; this is not what I got. Tom has a beautiful, easy style of writing that paints pictures of his life past and present, which at points I found truly heart wrenching. His six cats do not feature as prevalently in this instalment and give us more insight into the author himself. Funny, eloquent, sad and funny again. If you want an entertaining read that takes you through your emotions and certainly has you relating to the personalities and antics of the felines if you too are owned by cats - then this is certainly the book for you. In fact, as I try to write this review, a small grey narcissistic fur ball has climbed onto my lap and is interfering with my typing......
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny, brilliant, touching observation 16 Jan 2011
Tom Cox has an air of Samuel Pepys about him. He's not trying to say anything important, or step up as a chronicler of his time and yet with self-deprecating grace, he does. Like Pepys, he is `with child to see any strange thing...' and describes his world in vivid, curious detail.

In this sequel to Under the Paw, Cox's gaze shifts beyond his cats to focus on other events and animals in his life. The result is a collection of witty and poignant stories, with solid cultural context, that feel nostalgic, despite the fact some of the events have only just happened. One of Tom Cox's particular skills is the way he celebrates creatures and experiences through observing their flaws. In his world things go wrong and his sofas are covered in cat hair, yet it is still imbued with a Yoda-like contentment. I came away thinking, `That book felt Good For Me,' because we don't actually live against the white background of Facebook... do we? In both UTP and TTT Cox says something important; he reminds us that our world is pear shaped and difficult, and yet, so beautiful... and that you can have bad hair days and still be cool.

Fans of Under the Paw will not be disappointed. The Bear and accomplices sashay, vomit and meeoop their way through Talk to the Tail in grub tinted Technicolor. And it's another testimony to the quality of Cox's writing that I feel I know these cats. That I might pause for a moment by the cat toys in Tesco and wonder, `Would Janet play with that?' ... Then remember Janet is not my cat. Talk to the Tail is that kind of book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If you like cats, even the teensiest bit, read Talk to the Tail. If you're more of a dog person, read it and you might realise that you're more of a cat person than you thought . . .

This book goes far beyond Tom Cox's relationship with his six cats, it explores the ups and downs of everyday life shared with a variety of characters, feline and otherwise.

I love Tom Cox for his perception and understanding of his cats' whims and foibles, and for his humorous and sharp views on life in general. He is a fellow sucker for a hard luck story, especially a feline one, but despite being under the paw, he's no pushover.

It will make you laugh, and it might make you cry, but you won't know until you read it . . .
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