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on December 5, 2016
Cute book, and it's Sir Terry's work so it's automatically magical in my mind. You can certainly tell it's one of his first works though, so the writing is choppy and silly.
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on November 24, 2014
all good
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on November 5, 2013
This book was suggested to me by a friend who is also a cat lover. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Terry's 'description' of different 'breeds' of cats, it was comical and I also related to some of his stories, as a cat owner myself. I finished reading this book in a very short amount of time as it was an easy read and also I didn't want to put it down. If you love cats, this book is for you and if you hate cats then this book is also for you.
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on September 21, 2008
I found this old Pratchett gem in a used bookstore and bought it without question, simply because I love Terry Pratchett as an author and I willing to buy his stuff sight unseen. I can understand how some people might find this book disappointing, because this is very early work and about as far from the Discworld as you can get.

That being said, I loved it. People looking for echoes of the Discworld won't find them, but people who are fans of James Herriott and Gerald Durrell and a certain type of English country writing will find this book follows in their footsteps. For me, it was like taking a step back into a pastoral England that may not even exist anymore. Also, this book was deeply appealing to me as a pet owner, who has been able to chronicle the misanthropic foibles of more than one benighted creature. What "Marley and Me" does for dogs, this book does for cats.
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on August 26, 2008
Let me say that I'm a big Terry Pratchett fan. I have all his books, and love them. Which is why I ordered The Unadulterated Cat sight-unseen.

I was only a few pages into it when I thought to myself, this doesn't feel like Terry Pratchett's writing. It's curiously flat. His other books give me the feeling that practically every sentence is well thought out, either advancing the plot, or showing some interesting aspect of someone's character, or giving us some (perhaps twisted, but valid) insight into how the world works. And yes, of course the humor.

But this doesn't feel that way to me at all. Yeah, there are a few truisms along the way. But precious few of them felt like they had any real depth. OK, we all know that cats stare at the refrigerator a lot. And he mentions that. Several times. And we know that cats will hide under beds, or in other out-of-the-way places. And scratch you if you try to get them out. But is any of this breaking news?

Another thing that's few and far between is the humor. Yes, there are Pratchett-lines occasionally. Very occasionally. For example, describing humans' evolutionary ancestors, they're described as "... little crouching shapes with hairy chests, no forehead and the intelligence of a gameshow audience."

To be honest (and undoubtedly quite unfair to Mr. Pratchett), it feels (not that I'm saying this is what happened, but it *feels*) like it's something he threw together one afternoon, without too much thought.

Another way of describing it is that I have problems shaking the feeling that someone else wrote this, then Terry Pratchett came in as a "script doctor" and punched it up with a few suggestions and some cute one-liners. Again, I'm not saying this happened. But if someone had given me this book to read, and I didn't know the author, I'd find it hard to believe it when they told me it was Pratchett's. (Although some of the pieces of humor would seem familiar.)

Pratchett has a partner on this, artist Gray Jolliffe who provides cartoons on almost every page. What an absolute waste of time and paper. I'm sorry, but I have absolutely nothing good to say about them.

* They lack any sense of elegance in the drawings (they verge on amateurish)
* They convey no real emotion (the expressions on their faces are all cartoonish)
* I got no sense of insight into cats from them.
* The drawings just plain aren't funny. In. The. Least.

Compare them with, for example, Pratchett's wonderful The Last Hero, with Paul Kidby's brilliant depictions of (among many others) the Mona Lisa, Rincewind and Lord Vetinari. Now, sure, Kidby's work is far more sophisticated than Jolliffe ever tries to be, but it's certainly possible to breathe life into even simple line sketches. But not here. For me, the drawings just got in the way.

So why did I give this book a two-star rating? It seems I'm more generous than I realized.

I guess the bottom line is that unlike any of Pratchett's other books, if I were to lend it to someone and never got it back, I wouldn't miss it in the least. Would I ever re-read it. Doubtful. Which is too bad.
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Terry Pratchett is, as far as I'm concerned, the funniest writer to ever live, and while The Unadulterated Cat flies far afield of the mythical Discworld universe, it is simply hilarious. You don't have to be a cat lover to enjoy it, but only the cat lover can appreciate the strong current of truth that runs throughout this wildly comical look at the world of our feline friends. The Campaign For Real Cats, Pratchett tells us, wants to celebrate the dwindling number of Real Cats in the world by helping people identify Real Cats among their modern, Unreal Cat compatriots. To this end, Pratchett goes about describing how to spot a Real Cat in any of its several variations, defines eleven types of cats such as your classic farm cat, boot-faced cat (as Real as they come), arch-villain's cat (always Unreal), and cartoon cats. He offers useful tips on naming cats, describes common illnesses such as impatient feet, gives tips on feeding and disciplining cats, describes common cat games, indulges in the theory of the Schrodinger, time-traveling cat, looks at the cat in history, and offers other insightful, highly comical ideas and theories on cat-ness in general. All of these subjects are examined, of course, from the point of the view of the cat. By far the funniest and most insightful section is devoted to the games cats play; the book's worth acquiring for this one section alone.

I should point out the fact that this is in no way a useful guide for current or potential cat-owners; this is rollicking comedy from first page to last. Given this point, there are still a number of astute observations that will make cat lovers smile and perhaps even guffaw, for the behaviors Pratchett expounds upon are quite familiar to those sharing their lives with feline friends. Pratchett really captures the cat personality remarkably well at times; for example, he expounds upon the common shifty look cats wear by describing one particular cat as breathing in a manner that suggests it is stealing air with every breath it takes. This book is so insightful and screamingly funny that all Pratchett fans will surely get a big kick out of it. The numerous cartoons of Gray Jolliffe that fill this little book are also excellent, simple yet evocative. The Unadulterated Cat is a short read, mind you, requiring much less than an hour's effort, but it is so good that upon finishing it, you are quite likely to turn all the way back to the beginning and start again or, at the very least, go back to the sections you enjoyed the most and read them once more.
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on July 10, 2002
For those of you who absolutely need to know what a 'real' cat is... Also tells you how to extricate your 'real' cat from flypaper. I laugh every time I re-read that part (and I re-read it frequently). Also, an informal introduction to Schroedinger's cat. I absolutely loved the book. Cat lovers, and those odd few who aren't, will probably find it amusing. I sure did...
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