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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 8 January 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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on 12 January 2011
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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on 16 January 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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on 12 January 2011
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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on 15 March 2011
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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on 15 January 2011
Hurrah! Tom Cox has written another antidote to all those tragic life stories where the supposed animal subject takes a back seat to the human's wails of "Oh woe is me, my life is soooo hard!"

Now I'm sure there are folk who enjoy reading about Dewey, Cleo et al. (or their humans), but I'd much rather find out about Janet's litter obsession (and the hilarious instructions to cat-sitters for pilling him), Ralph's attempts to communicate in the early hours of the morning, Tom's adventures in borrowed-dog-walking, and of course the enigmatic The Bear.

If you've ever been sent flying by a wee furry sod who just HAD to be right under your feet, or discovered how varied the local wildlife is from the partial corpses that are left lying around, or wondered how on earth cats can shed so much fur without looking even slightly threadbare (the answer is "fruzz"), then this book is for you.
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on 23 February 2013
I loved 'Under the Paw', and I loved this book every bit as much. Tom has such a wonderful way with words. His love of his cats shines through, without it ever being soppy or cissy.
His dad sounds like a right character as well.
I laughed out loud so many times,but there were many poignant moments as well. Such a shame he and Dee didn't work out in the end.
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on 15 February 2011
In this follow-up to 2008's Under the Paw: Confessions of a Cat Man, Tom Cox regales readers with more wryly observed anecdotes about life with his cats and various other animals.
In contrast to many pet memoirs, there's nothing mawkish or rose-tinted about life in the Cox household. Cats can be fickle, perplexing and difficult, but with equal measure they bring joy, comfort and hilarity to a pet owner's life - Tom Cox captures the essence of this perfectly. The depiction of each cat as a distinct character is also a real strength and sets the book apart from others of the genre (turn to page 25, for example, and you'll find a single sentence that neatly sums up each cat's personality).
Whilst the cats undoubtedly remain the stars, this time there are more of the author's adventures featuring other animals recounted, with a diverse cast of characters from the People Sheep and Henry the spaniel to tigers and ostriches.
Tom Cox's love for animals is evident throughout the book, indeed his desire to engage with every one that he meets even extends to creating characters for Ned and Ed, who are - to put it delicately - past their best.
Recommended reading for anyone who has shared their life with a pet, cat or otherwise ... and for those who haven't, this witty and engaging book will make you realise what you're missing out on.
(You can also use Twitter to stay up-to-date (@catintellectual (The Bear) and @tomcox75)) and/or befriend Ralph Cox on Facebook if you like!)
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on 11 August 2012
A sympathetic yet hysterically funny tale of cats and how they run your life. I fell in love with "The Bear", the sensitive war-lord of a cat with a taste for vengeance.

If you know cats and you read this book, you will laugh out loud. Uncontrollably. You have been warned.
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on 13 February 2011
Despite being the most popular pet in the world (!) being a cat owner sometimes feels like you are member of a secret society. This is the power that cats have over us. Talk to the Tail is like this. It's like sitting down and having a natter with a friend about your cats - someone who is as interested in their funny little ways as you are. (Afterall, all my real friends are bored to death by them now!). But it's not just a book full of quirky cute-cat anecdotes - indeed there are mercifully few anthropomorphic observations. It's an observation on how animals and people live together and change each other's environment for the better. People like cats because they allow us to be eccentric.
Nevermind all that though - there's also a LOT of funny stuff about things that might squelch between yr toes when walking about at night in barefeet.
Now I must go and de-fruzz the sofa. Again.
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