“‘Scuse me, ‘scuse me,” said a voice from beside him. He looked down this time at a dirty, half-scorched cat, who grinned at him.
“Did that cat just speak?” asked the mayor.
Maurice looked around. “Which one?” he said.
“You! Did you just talk?”
“Would you feel better if I said no?” said Maurice.
“But cats can’t talk!”
“Well, I can’t promise that I could give a, you know, full-length after-dinner speech, and don’t ask me to do a comic monologue,” said Maurice. “And I can’t pronounce difficult words like ‘marmalade’ and ‘lumbago.’ But I’m pretty happy with basic repartee and simple wholesome conversation. Speaking as a cat, I’d like to hear what the rat says.”
– on talking animals | Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents