I loved Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series when I was a teen, but sort of forgot about her later. When a saw something about the Barque cats on someone’s web site, I had to find the books. Apparently, ‘Catalyst’ is a sort of prequel to another series of books she wrote, a series that the Barque cats play a part it. This is their origin story. Set in the far future, interstellar trade is constant. Many of the space ships have cats on board to catch cargo destroying rodents and to patrol for air leaks, electrical shorts and the like. The most expensive cats are the Barque cats, a pedigreed line of unusual intelligence and ability. When a very pregnant Barque cat is catnapped during a stop at a space station, the ship’s Cat Person (the human to tends to and works with the cat) is heart broken. Carl Poindexter grabbed the cat for two reasons: one, his son had been pestering him for a cat and two, she-and her unborn kittens- are worth a lot of money. And Carl has schemes above and beyond simply selling the kittens.. Add to this problem a possible disease breakout that has all animals, planetside and on ships, impounded. Then a cat who wants to rule the universe and who pilots his own spaceship appears and things get really interesting… While shelved in the regular adult fiction, I would have placed this book in either young adult or children’s books. It’s really written for preteens, in a simple and unsophisticated style. I found the human characters rather flat and couldn’t bring myself to care about them, and the action was muddled. I really enjoyed the sections told from the cats’ points of view; they really seemed to be the smartest characters in the novel. But despite my love of cats and stories about them, I was disappointed in ‘Catalyst’.