A cynical alley cat--popularly known, to his disgust, as ""Pufftail""--regales one of his descendants with harrowing tales of a youth spent among the ""two-footers."" Only real cat-fanatics will be able to slog through this misanthropic, heavy-handed satire and explicit brutality. Pufftail passes through a succession of hands, encountering a few kind people but many more who are callous, cruel, or downright murderous: before his years of captivity end, he sees his brother and his True Love run over (""A little blood trickled from the comer of her mouth. . .her bright green eyes now stared quite vacantly""); is thrown from a speeding car; and is tortured in a product-testing laboratory. He loses no opportunity to express contempt for--and describe repetitiously and at length--human habits of dress or behavior. The author even has Pufftail fall in with a cat ""commune"" that combines all the worst and most obvious features of Orwell's dystopias. Many authors have used a conceited animal narrator to poke fun at humanity (e.g., Banks' recent I, Houdini: The Autobiography of a Self-Educated Hamster), but here the poke is so vicious that readers will be wincing rather than laughing, confused and intimidated by the savagery.