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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Tilly: The Ugliest Cat: How I rescued her and she rescued me
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on 14 August 2017
Lovely story a must for all cat lovers
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on 29 April 2017
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on 17 May 2017
5 stars a most moving story
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This is a lovely, well-written book by a determined, thoughtful woman (Celia), who gently wins the trust and love of a little mud-coloured cat.

Tilly is the ugliest cat in the Cat Protection League shelter, where she has resided for eighteen months without being adopted. She is supremely distrusting of humans and cowers away from them, ears flattened to her head and eyes wide with fear; Celia's husband, Ronnie (ever-ready with a bon mot) describes her as being the "colour of sewage".
Celia takes Tilly home with her, to foster her in a normal home environment, in an attempt to rehabilitate her. She initially justifies her actions to herself by considering it dispassionately as a scientific exercise to make Tilly into an acceptable cat for adoption.

As Tilly stubbornly refuses to engage with her, Celia wonders whether she has undertaken an impossible task as her husband's health deteriorates. But what follows is a wonderful story of patience and resilience in the face of (as any cat owner knows) a cat's determination to be what and how it is, doing what it wants to do. Throughout the book there are entertaining asides about other cats and cat owners' experiences which are used to illustrate the author's reasoning. There is also a heart-rending account at the beginning of the book about the author's childhood, which she discloses in an attempt to analyse and explain her character. I found one particular incident, in which Celia describes her farmer father's punishment of her pet cat, exceptionally harrowing.

In summary, this is a "must read" book for cat lovers and those interested in ameliorating cat behaviour; it is also ultimately up-lifting and an explanation of just how much animals can enrich and enliven our lives.
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on 5 July 2012
What can I say? If you're a cat lover - as I will confess to being - then you'll adore this book. Beautifully written, it details a relationship between pet and owner that's every bit as intense and important as between people. A great read. And the most amazing part is that it actually happened.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 3 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm not a cat freak; but I do like cats, probably because, for reasons only a cat could explain, they mostly seem to like me; owners often tell me how "privileged" I am. But I would never want to own one, still less read about them. However, this book came up on the Vine programme, which is proving pretty useless to me because they NEVER offer me books on subjects I'm interested in, so I thought, what the heck, or words to that effect, at least I'll have something this time; and ordered it. Pleasingly, I was not disappointed.

As well as a seemingly hopeless cat-freak, and, indeed, thorough-going cat-expert, Celia Haddon is a long-time professional journalist and author; and as we have a right to expect, her prose is limpid, her style engaging, and her story absorbing. I never thought I would say that about a cat biography.

In fact, it's not just a biography of the cover star, there is plenty of revealing autobiography in here as well, alongside brief biographies of other cats who have owned this author, together with sound, practical advice on cat-rescue and cat-management, all strung along the central thread of life with Tilly. The narrative never falters, and interest never flags, and although one can easily imagine that Mrs Haddon, being a thorough-going professional, would have had the working maxim "heart-warming" guiding her fingers along (as being a good money-spinner), she managed to win over this old cynic quite comprehensively.

I should think that any true cat-lover would be gaga about this book, and will need no urging from me to buy it; so my review is directed at those who, like me, would never dream of buying a book about a cat; If you simply like a good story, you will not be disappointed.

I can't resist noting that Mrs Haddon's cats tweet. (And blog). I'm not going there...
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on 11 June 2017
loved this book as our family rescued the ugliest cat in the C P L and what a handful, she was also called Tilly but turned out to be the most loyal and intelligent cat we have ever had, the story follows the same vein ...super would read again.
This is the pre-cursor to Toby the Cross Eyed cat by the same author.
Book arrived in a plastic jacket and in lovely condition well done
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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book arrived at lunchtime yesterday and by late evening I had finished it! A compulsive read - but then I am interested in cats! Tilly was brought into a cat shelter from a cold barn and spent the next eighteen months cowering in the back of her cage - no one wanted a nervous and rather unattractive cat. Celia Haddon decided to take her home and socialise her with a view to finding her a home. It was a long process,Tilly spent the first two months after her arrival hiding under the bed in the spare room, only coming out to eat and use her litter tray when the household was asleep. Without giving away too much of the story it took a long time for this little cat to gain confidence and accept human beings as friends. By the time it happened she had become so much a part of Celia's life that there was no way Tilly was going to be taken back to the shelter for re-homing. she was an important part of Celia's life. At the same time as bonding with Tilly, Celia was caring for a very sick husband and had severe health problems of her own. Celia came to realise that far from Tilly needing her she needed Tilly as much if not more. A very heart warming story. I also learnt some interesting things about bonding with cats which I intend to try on my own cats! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves cats. fjs.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 18 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What a lovely story and, although I don't usually read books like this, being a crime and thriller person, I did enjoy Tilly; The Ugliest Cat. My reason for ordering the book was simply that I've adopted more than one "ugly" cat from the CPL (Cats Protection League) over the years and confronted many similar experiences, however; it was the photo of Tilly that really swung it for me, what a sad and incredibly lucky little moggy. My last rescue cat was Daisy, a tortoishell with bright orange stripes across each eye which met in the middle and made her look as though she was wearing a mask. Daisy, like Tilly, stood her ground and refused to let me love her, wouldn't bond and stayed beneath the sofa glowering at me as I quietly tore out my hair trying to win her round and that's what I enjoyed about this book; it highlights the reality of how much hard work you have to put into these self contained little animals before they accept you. It's never the other way round so don't be fooled, you have to take a big step back and allow the cat to come to you but once you're accepted, for both of you, that's a bond for life. Plenty of emotion, it's a life story so you'd expect that, but; I'm pleased Celia Haddon hasn't gone over the top with sugary sweetness and presents many interesting insights into her own world, not always an easy place to live even with Tilly!. I'd like to see this book presented in some form to people who are thinking about adopting a cat, especially a cat whose kittenhood has been spent in a rescue and who hasn't been socialised with a human family. It's hard to intergrate them, you need bags of patience, the retun rate is high, but they have so much to give; read this book and you'll find out just how much.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The 'animal story' book market is a crowded one and I picked this up expecting it to be a gentle little tale of how a near - wild animal was gradually rehabilitated by a loving owner.
It is that, but it is also a lot more. With a degree in animal behaviour and the intention of working towards a Masters, Celia Haddon has a genuine scholarly insight into how animals think, particularly cats.
Combined with years of experience in looking after cats and rehabilitating them, this means that this book is a goldmine of information for cat owners and particularly to anyone looking to re-home a cat from a shelter.
There is also information for those who may be thinking of offering their services to animal welfare - sensible, practical, unsentimental.

The book is very well-written and difficult to put down - Celia's honesty about her own frailties in caring for Tilly the cat, her very ill husband Ronnie and herself makes for a sometimes heart-rending but ultimately inspiring read.
A very good read for animal lovers but absolutely essential reading for anyone thinking of offering a new start to a cat from a rescue centre.
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