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In Cat Sense, renowned anthrozoologist John Bradshaw takes us further into the mind of the domestic cat than ever before, using cutting-edge scientific research to dispel the myths and explain the true nature of our feline friends. Tracing the cat's evolution from lone predator to domesticated companion, Bradshaw shows that although cats and humans have been living together for at least eight thousand years, cats remain independent, predatory, and wary of contact with their own kind, qualities that often clash with our modern lifestyles. Cats still have three out of four paws firmly planted in the wild, and within only a few generations can easily revert back to the independent way of life that was the exclusive preserve of their predecessors some 10,000 years ago. Cats are astonishingly flexible, and given the right environment they can adapt to a life of domesticity with their owners--but to continue do so, they will increasingly need our help. If we're to live in harmony with our cats, Bradshaw explains, we first need to understand their inherited quirks: understanding their body language, keeping their environments--however small--sufficiently interesting, and becoming more proactive in managing both their natural hunting instincts and their relationships with other cats.
A must-read for any cat lover, Cat Sense offers humane, penetrating insights about the domestic cat that challenge our most basic assumptions and promise to dramatically improve our pets' lives--and ours.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-07-01
- Reviewer: Staff
Bradshaw (Dog Sense), foundation director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol, engagingly synthesizes recent academic research about cats. Chapters covering the origins of cat domestication, feline emotions, and behavior, and the challenges cats face in the future, balance kernels of facts with thoughtful and surprisingly analyses. For example, Bradshaw recounts the evolution from wild cat to domesticated animal: the invention of storage facilities for grain attracted rodent pests, which in turn attracted wild cats, who eventually became reliant on the perpetual food source of rats and mice, and became domesticated over time. Contrary to popular belief, a cat’s purr is not a sign of contentment; rather, it is a request for “someone else, whether cat or human, to do something for it,” such as prolonging “the circumstances that are making” the cat contented. Bradshaw convincingly argues that cats are not—or should not be—low-maintenance, and that their reputation for being so is a barrier to their owners spending the time needed to train them. Readable, practical, and original, this is likely to become the go-to book for understanding cat behavior. Agent: Patrick Walsh, Conville & Walsh. (Sept.)