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Praise for Cats in the Belfry

'A chaotic, hilarious and heart-wrenching love affair with this most characterful of feline breeds'


'If you read Cats in the Belfry the first time round, be prepared to be enchanted all over again. If you haven't, then expect to laugh out loud, shed a few tears and be totally captivated by Doreen's stories of her playful and often naughty Siamese cats'

YOUR CAT magazine

'An invasion of mice prompted Tovey and her husband to acquire a cat – or rather for Sugieh to acquire them. A beautiful Siamese, Sugieh turned out to be a tempestuous, iron-willed prima donna who soon had her running circles around her. And that's before she had kittens! A funny and poignant reflection of life with a Siamese, that is full of cheer'


'Cats in the Belfry will ring bells with anyone who's ever been charmed – or driven to distraction – by a feline'


'A warm, witty and moving cat classic. A must for all cat lovers'


'Absolutely enchanting... I thoroughly recommend it... One of the few books which caused me to laugh out loud, and it sums up the Siamese character beautifully'


'The most enchanting cat book ever'

Jilly Cooper

'Every so often, there comes along a book – or if you're lucky, books – which gladden the heart, cheer the soul and actually immerse the reader in the narrative. Such books are written by Doreen Tovey'


Praise for Cats in May

'If you loved Doreen Tovey's Cats in the Belfry you won't want to miss the sequel, Cats in May. The Toveys' attempt to settle down to a quiet life in the country but, unfortunately for them, their tyrannical Siamese cats have other ideas. From causing an uproar on the BBC to staying out all night, Sheba and Solomon's outrageous behaviour leaves the Toveys at their wits' end. This witty and stylish tale will have animal lovers giggling to the very last page'

YOUR CAT magazine

'No-one writes about cats with more wit, humour and affection than Doreen Tovey. Every word is a delight!'


Praise for The New Boy

'Delightful stories of Tovey's irrepressible Siamese cats'


Also by Doreen Tovey:

Cats in Cahoots

Cats in Concord

Cats in May

Cats in the Belfry

A Comfort of Cats

The Coming of Saska

Donkey Work

Double Trouble

Life with Grandma

Making the Horse Laugh

More Cats in the Belfry

The New Boy

Roses Round the Door

Waiting in the Wings


This edition published in 2010 by Summersdale Publishers Ltd.

First published by Michael Joseph Ltd in 1967.

Copyright © Doreen Tovey 1967.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, nor transmitted, nor translated into a machine language, without the written permission of the publishers.

The right of Doreen Tovey to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Condition of Sale

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent publisher.

Summersdale Publishers Ltd

46 West Street


West Sussex

PO19 1RP



eISBN: 978-1-78372-040-8

Substantial discounts on bulk quantities of Summersdale books are available to corporations, professional associations and other organisations. For details contact Summersdale Publishers by telephone: +44 (0) 1243 771107, fax: +44 (0) 1243 786300 or emaiclass="underline" nicky@summersdale.com.


1 Donkeys Get You Like That

2 So Do Siamese Cats

3 To Horse! To Horse!

4 Solomon and the Loch Ness Monster

5 The Bread Line

6 When Winter Comes

7 And Spring is Far Behind

8 Music Hath Charms

9 Getting Things Moving

10 Annie Mated

11 How to Light an Aga

12 Vitamins for Everybody

13 Comes the Spring

14 Putting a Foot in It

15 Anniehaha

16 Like Solomon only Horse-sized


Donkeys Get You Like That

Charles said the people who wrote this bilge in the newspapers about donkeys being status symbols were nuts.

  At that moment we were in our donkey's paddock dealing with the fact that she'd eaten too many apples, and I couldn't have agreed with him more.

  Take the paddock itself, for instance. Ours wasn't the lush green plot surrounded by a neat hedge or smart wire fence such as various of our neighbours kept ponies in. It was a rectangle so bare it looked as if we'd been visited by locusts. Criss-crossed with still barer paths leading to the various lookouts from which Annabel spied on passers-by. Surrounded on three sides by hedges which gave the impression of having had a pudding-basin haircut (eaten, as they were, up to Annabel height in a solid, unvarying line all round the field). And on the fourth side, which separated the paddock from the cottage garden, it sported a wire fence.

  The sort of fence one associates with gipsy encampments.

  The wire sagging where Annabel leaned on it sling-fashion, or rubbed her stomach in dreamy contemplation when she itched. Other pieces of wire reinforcing the original strands in the places where she had been discovered, at various times, trying to crawl under it on hands and knees. A hurdle gate leaning outwards at a decrepitly drunken angle because Annabel, when she felt like it, used the inside of the gate for resting her bottom on. And just at that moment, in the paddock itself, Annabel with stomach-ache.