Customer Reviews


25 Reviews
5 star:
 (15)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A voyage of cat discovery
Read this book in a private place because there may be times when you cannot help weeping. This is a great book, the product of a master storyteller's remarkable powers of observation, her understanding of animals and people and her superb writing skills.

Decades after the death of a beloved feline childhood companion, and after acquiescing in the necessary...
Published on 21 Dec. 2009 by Ita

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, but not for the squeamish
This book covers the relationships Lessing has had throughout her life with cats. I struggled with the start of it, as she described the harsh realities of living on a farm in Africa and being surrounded by too many wild cats that needed "disposing of", but I'm glad I made it past the first part of the book as Lessing goes on to talk about other cat-friends she's...
Published 14 months ago by Rachel Slade


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A voyage of cat discovery, 21 Dec. 2009
This review is from: On Cats (Paperback)
Read this book in a private place because there may be times when you cannot help weeping. This is a great book, the product of a master storyteller's remarkable powers of observation, her understanding of animals and people and her superb writing skills.

Decades after the death of a beloved feline childhood companion, and after acquiescing in the necessary but horrific cull of cats on an African farm, Doris Lessing re-embarked on a voyage of cat discovery. Various incarnations of ship's cat, vain, flirtatious, self-indulgent, neurotic, courageous, grateful, loving, accompanied her and she was present at births and deaths. She watched and recorded matings, friendships and rivalries, mothers teaching kittens, hunting. She tended animals that were injured or became ill and took on board those that were neglected and needed help.

There was a cat that would only eat lightly cooked calves' liver and lightly boiled whiting, another who seemed devoid of maternal feelings and who once drew attention to herself by speaking in a language of sausages stolen from a neighbour's house. One travelled twenty miles across the veld, avoiding predators and crossing two rivers, to return to the farmhouse where she was reared. Another risked her life during a tropical thunderstorm rather than abandon the kittens she had given birth to in a disused mineshaft.

Cats vary in the quantity and quality of their intelligence, Doris Lessing discovered. Rufus, who was constantly challenged by adversity, was calculating and survived by living on his wits. Another male had the inquiring mind of a scientist. Telepathic communication when circumstances permit is not ruled out.

It is to the neutered male, Butchkin, alias El Magnifico, that she is most closely drawn. When they are able to sit quietly together in his old age `then he subtly lets me know he understands I am trying to reach him, reach cat, essence of cat, finding the best of him. Human and cat we try to transcend what separates us.'

This book is in essence a love story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsentimental and tender, 2 Sept. 2009
By 
A. Feruglio Dal Dan "afdd" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: On Cats (Paperback)
I just re-read this book, that I remember having loved so much, and my appreciation for it has, if anything, grown. It's easy to be soppy when talking about animals you love, but Lessing manages to be thoroughly unsentimental, even ruthless (the book opens with a great slaughter of cats), and yet show such deep empathy and compassion for these specks of life sharing her life that I always have to blink back tears when I finish it. She has no time for mysticism and intimations that cat are supernatural, mysterious creatures: to her, they are vulnerable little animals, whom we love and betray, driven by their instincts and needs, just as we are, and the bond between us is frail, tender and painful.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful book, 29 Oct. 2010
By 
Rosemary Hammond (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On Cats (Paperback)
I am not a cat person so received the gift of a copy of this book with some misgivings, and started to read it purely to be able to tell the 'giver' that I had!! I'm very glad I did, the book was a total delight, and I have subsequently bought copies for every friend that owns a cat. Every one of them - and there are quite a few - shares my opinion. If you are a cat lover - or maybe even not - this is the book for you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, but not for the squeamish, 3 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On Cats (Paperback)
This book covers the relationships Lessing has had throughout her life with cats. I struggled with the start of it, as she described the harsh realities of living on a farm in Africa and being surrounded by too many wild cats that needed "disposing of", but I'm glad I made it past the first part of the book as Lessing goes on to talk about other cat-friends she's had through her life, particularly Grey-cat and Black-cat and their litters of kittens, Rufus and old stray who adopts her, and El Magnifico, a haughty cat that needed a leg-amputation. Lessing talks about her cats the way I am tempted to do to my friends, but I refrain for fear of boring them, or becoming "the crazy cat lady". She notes their personality quirks and the way the communicate both with her and with other cats. The book isn't for the squeamish, but it is honest, and ultimately, heart-warming
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delight for all cat lovers, 23 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On Cats (Kindle Edition)
An absolutely delightful read which, despite its archaic views on cat care (it is, after all, a "memoir" of times gone by) and some sad and disturbing accounts, is a fascinating read that will interest any cat lover.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read, 17 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On Cats (Paperback)
As expected Doris Lessing has written beautifully, will clarity honesty and heart. The many cats who have shared her life come to life in these stories so much so that you feel you know them yourself by the time you have finished reading about them.
I also enjoyed the way the stories chronicled Doris' own change and development in perspective on cat care as her living experience changed and evolved from the outback in Africa through flat and country life in England.
A highly recommended delight for all lovers of cats and fine literature.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a cat lover to a cat lover, 18 Jun. 2013
By 
Michel Petit (Middle Of Nowhere in Francece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On Cats (Hardcover)
Bought it because I love cats, because the cover picture is beautiful, and because what I read online did appeal to me.

Truth or fiction ? The fact is, Ms Lessing made me feel terribly jealous, as her cats seem to be so much smarter than mine. But then, I'm probably not as sensitive as she is ; and she's a writer, not I.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More paws and pork-ish than mawkish, 27 July 2013
This review is from: On Cats (Kindle Edition)
Without sentiment, Lessing's cats would be the observations of a clinician or vet. Of course, Lessing had seen the suffering and neglect of cats and I think it is this in the book which, mercifully, saves her sentiment and the readers' from descending into a feast of the mawkish. Lessing doesn't, at least in a published work, show any of the instinct that frailer constitutions than hers allow to linger into their adult lives; so that their cats may still be perceived as simply bundles of fur to be cuddled and nuzzled; an adult's substitute for the forsaken teddy bear.

Rather, I felt the author's understanding of an individual cat's character was deepened by her experience of cats, such as the occasion when she witnessed cats culled on an African farm, and so giving, through her controlled prose, a unique understanding of cat 'personality' as much as that of Lessing's own personality, as their observer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 27 July 2012
By 
S. Kirk "LV426" (SURREY, ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On Cats (Paperback)
If you own a cat, you must read this book. The understanding of an individual cats character Doris Lessing shows will make you smile, laugh, cry and nod your head in agreement. A truly wonderful book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Popular present, 2 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On Cats (Paperback)
gave as Christmas present to someone who loves cats but doesn't read much. He liked it a lot as it's small (about A6 size) It was in great condition.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

On Cats
On Cats by Doris Lessing (Paperback - 20 Oct. 2008)
£5.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews