2

I remember reading a (loath to use the label) 'young adult' novel, at school in the early '00s.

A minor character was a cat who learnt to fly. The cat wasn't at all interested in the hero's problems and was happier chasing birds. Any ideas?

4

I think now Slaves of the Mastery by William Nicholson, the sequel to Wind on Fire

To quote an Amazon review http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R3L0NTJQ8ASKX8/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0749749016&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=266239&store=books

The best children's novel of 2001, this is the second of a trilogy. The first, The Wind Siger, won the Gold Smarties and was funny and gripping but this is far better. Admirers of Philip Pullman will find the same kind of seriousness... The Hath family, along with their tribe are taken into slavery by the Mastery, a culture similar to Imperial Rome. It creates high art, especially music, but through terror thanks the the Master's ability to dominate his subjects' minds. The Hath family fight back to free their people, and learn magical powers to challenge the Master. So many children's classics feature a lone hero, but the great thing about Nicholson's books is that the whole family work together and are loyal to each other. There are marvellous inventions such as the manaxa, a deadly gladiatorial dance, a flying cat, a beautiful princess who falls in love with the wrong person and so on but it's this warmth of feeling that is so affecting. A wonderful, captivating and enthralling tale.

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3

Possibly 'The Stone Tower' by Nicholas Stuart Grey. it's a version of Rapunzel, and the witch's familiars, a cat and a crow, decide to help the girl. The cat learns to fly, from the witch's spell-books.

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