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179 of 180 people found the following review helpful
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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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2000
A definite must-have for anyone who is owned by a cat, or several cats in my case. Full of gems which describe cat behaviour perfectly (just why are they always on the wrong side of any door?) and makes no attempt to explain anything - cats are inscrutable, after all. Typical stylish and side-splitting writing you'll be familiar with from the Discworld series, and Gray Joliffe's cartoons really bring the book to life. Buy two, if your friends are like mine they'll like it so much they'll forget to bring it back - and if you're like me you'll just keep re-stocking :-)
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2002
After reading a spellbinding 2000+ pages fantasy trilogy I needed something light and funny. The Unadulterated Cat did the trick perfectly. This book is about what a Real cats should be, and also what they shouldn't be. About what they do, and eat, what to call them, etc.
No doubt you will enjoy this book, even if you don't have a cat (I don't). It's got good ole witty Pratchett style, with the habitual footnotes, and Gray Jolliffe's cartoons are terrific. It's read in no time and and will have you bursting out laughing incontrollably.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2005
every cat owner will love this book, but it's definitely not pratchett at the top of his game.

the good bits are inspired, hilarious, side-splitting and absolutely accurate (i can write this because my cats are not in the room).

but there are spots where the humor is labored, or even absent.

some of the illustrations are enjoyable, but i can't say i'm thrilled with any.

still, when you're not reading discworld novels, this will do.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 1998
Pratchett is known for his artistic use of words - even if they make no sense (yes, this happens). In this book he's remarkably serious (?) and tells you EVERYTHING what you have to know about the Real Cat. Furthermore, the cartoons are funtastic. If you love cats - get it!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 1997
Tired of those books where you finally get around to calculate that your cat has an IQ of just above 160 and that he could get paid more than you should he decide to take a job?

Terry Pratchett is one of the funniest author ever and this is no usual 'rate-your-cat' book. Anyone who likes cats but who is not really keen on answering questions like "If your cat could choose to read any of the following newspapers, which would it be?", will be happy to read this. It doesn't try to be clever like some other books may try, but you can see through it all that Terry Pratchett has had his share of feline company.

While most other books 'rating' any kind of animals are not really meant to be read as a whole ( tedious explanations before and after in order to understand the ratings, numbers, calculations etc really prevent that ) this book is just funny and entertaining all the way through. Of course, there is _some_ kind of rating process, but the book was more written, I would think, to unite cat lovers in recognizing the most annoying and delightful traits of our furry friends. Something he did with his usual witty sometimes nearly sarcastic sense of humour.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2006
Terry Pratchett is wonderful and I own everything he's ever written (or co-written)(well, not everything - I don't have his shopping lists). My fanhood began at a time when his non-Discworld books were not available in the US. It was in the bibliography darn it...finally found it via a used-books site reference to a bemused London 2nd-hand bookseller's place (his e-mail: "Are you sure?"). Paid triple the cover price plus shipping, so yes, I trust you recognize a fanatic here?

In addition, I much prefer cats over all other possible pets. I even like Jolliffe cartoons.

If anyone was ever more prejudiced in favor of a book before opening it...

It has its hilarious moments - I don't think Terry (may I call you Terry? Thank you, PS, great stuff, keep it up) could write an obituary without having a hilarious moment or two - but I found the majority of the writing cumbersome. Belabored. Shorn of repetitions and needless build-ups, this would make a wonderful humor column, but book-length, it suffers.

It was detrimentally inaccurate about cats. Well, it wasn't supposed to be a textbook. But, for example, the whole chapter about domestic cats being into time-travel loses a lot of punch when you know that there are plenty of wild feline species (about a quarter of them) that are small and domestic-looking. Making the argument that there's no sensible link between a cat and a lion (as opposed to between a dog and a wolf) is egregious. And there are other errors like that, which detract from the jokes by undermining their premises.

I've read the book three times over the years, thinking maybe it was just a Mood Thing, but I've yet to come away feeling like it was worth wading through all that for the laughs. My suspicion is that Terry really loves his wife and didn't exercise the same level of constructive criticism on her text that he did on himself (as with his rewrite of "Carpet People"). Or maybe Lyn is the really funny one and she forgave Terry too much? Either way, I'd say this is his weakest work (yes, I've read "Strata," too).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2006
I'm amazed that there are any people out there who don't love this book. Pratchett, the funniest writer in English of the past century (even considering Wodehouse), takes on the orneriest species of the planet. Because it's a little coffee-table book, of course it won't have the depth and span of his best fiction, but it does have his genially iconoclastic style, and his astounding ability to face the worst of humanity or felinity -- and make it seem almost likable anyway.

In Pratchett's reknowned Discworld series, he pokes fun at people who love cats, pointing out that they tend to be the sort of people "who like puddings." People who go gaga are also reported to break out sometimes in chronic cats. It's a kick, then, to discover that he's reluctantly and with many reservations a catlover himself, and embarrassed by that fact.

The best aspect of this book, though, is the partnership of Pratchett's words and Jolliffe's manic cartoons. Their collaboration achieves a rare and delightful artistic synthesis. Jolliffe's cats are not pretty, not good, not particularly intelligent. They are very recognizably cats, and their humans are recognizably human. (Possibly my favorite cartoon is about the importance of giving your cat a name you don't mind screaming in the middle of the night: the poor wit-wannabe who didn't follow this advice is shown banging a catfood can and humiliatedly calling "Sperm Bank! Oh, Sperm Bank, come home!" or something like that. Another favorite brilliantly shows a sour Siamese getting a third-degree cuddle from an enthusiastic toddler.)

Our household has adopted some of the terminology, too. Any flouncy-looking white persian cat is now known around here as "an Archvillain's cat" or possibly "a Blofeld cat."

Every couple of years or so I pull out my coffee-stained old version and giggle. Chances are you will too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2010
Somewhere in the limitless possibilities of reality and consciousness there is a young man named Schrodinger in a box with a vial of radioactive material and a device which may - or may not - break the vial and immediately end the consciousness of the young man. He is both alive and dead, and is doubtless bleeding from the back of his heels, because somewhere in his future he had (purposeful shift in tense) proposed a thought experiment that begins with the extremely hazardous suggestion that an individual place a cat in a box.

And cats hold grudges, even if you haven't angered them yet.

In The Unadulterated Cat, Pratchett endeavors to define a Real cat (as opposed to those fluffy, squished-faced monstrosities that can apparently eat their food out of crystal dishes without tipping them over). Punctuated with telling cartoons by Gray Jolliffe, Pratchett provides a 150+ page description of those horrible beasts, and even provides some analysis as to why we (cats and their roommates) tolerate each other. I have long been under the impression that my own cats are just horribly uncatlike beasts, especially when forced to consider such adorable and friendly examples in literature and the Facebook photo albums of (childless) friends, but Pratchett has shown me otherwise. My cats are undeniably Real cats.

While I certainly enjoy Pratchett's writing style, I believe my partner enjoyed The Unadulterated Cat far more than I. But that's really to be expected, because my partner is the true cat lover in our household. After reading what my Real cats are truly capable of I think I'll stay loyal to my ridiculous cat-sized dog.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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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