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Seeking a story I read in the early 1980s, possibly by a British author. It involves a child travelling by airship with a talking siamese (?) cat and meeting or travelling with a bearded man. I think there was a battle with long-barrelled rifles.

Would love to read it again!

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    Probably not but shares some similarities with Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights. – Bellerophon Aug 6 '16 at 11:48
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As per Bellerphon's comment, Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass (aka Northern Lights) has a child protagonist with a talking dæmon that is sometimes a cat, an airship (a balloon owned by Texan Lee Soresby), and Lee's rifle. However, it was released in 1995.

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