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How to Talk to Your Cat Paperback – February 4, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Perhaps no one is better equipped to help us understand our cats than Jean Craighead George, award-winning author of over 80 books about nature and animals. This delightful picture book for cat lovers of all ages makes it perfectly clear who has the power in a human-cat relationship: the cat. But you already knew that. What you may not have known is that cats meow as many as 19 different meows (all interpreted here), that cats never purr when they are alone, that no one knows what part of the cat a purr really comes from, and what cats' various tail positions mean. Illustrator Paul Meisel's charming, cartoonish cats prance through the pages with photos of the author herself in a clever, endearing display of the human-feline relationship. Dog lovers will want to sniff out the companion title, How to Talk to Your Dog. (Ages 7 to 107) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

These approachable and informative paper-over-board volumes belong on the shelf of anyone who lives (or is contemplating living) with a dog or cat. George (Julie of the Wolves) displays her affection for and expertise on these animals--as well as her breezy humor--as she focuses on ways in which dogs and cats communicate their needs and moods to their owners. Best of all, she offers tips on making it a two-way conversation. The dog-centered volume, for instance, covers how a canine uses its tail as a "flag of feelings" and communicates through a spectrum of barking sounds. George's chatty, easygoing style incorporates numerous wry asides: "Although it is fun, it is not very rewarding to bark at your dog. He doesn't understand your bad accent and may twist his head and look at you in confusion." Yet she explains how to express, through voice and posture, various messages, such as "Good night" and "I am boss." For cat lovers, she explains, "Cat talk is a complicated, self-centered language" spoken through movements of tail, ears, whiskers and the pupils of the eyes. They are fiercely independent, says George: "They own you. You cannot own a cat." In both volumes the artwork features Truesdell's (And the Green Grass Grew All Around) signature amiable cartoon animal characters interacting with silhouetted photos of the author, an ideal visual complement to the personal, jovial tone of the narrative. Ages 6-9. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060006226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060006228
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #489,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 87 people found the following review helpful By J. Phillips on October 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
My daughter and I read "How to Talk to Your Cat" and were amazed by the number of inaccuracies stated throughout the book.

The author states that cats are "completely self-sufficient and can leave you at any time and go off and make a living." It's this kind of ignorance that contributed to the explosion in the feral cat population we face today! People pick up and move and abandon their cats thinking they can fend for themselves. Hunting is learned by watching other cats, and then putting those lessons into practice until they are perfected. Offspring of non-hunting cats rarely make good hunters themselves. In other words, house cats that have never been outdoors could never just "leave at any time and go off and make a living." They'd starve to death!

She also states that "cats are loners" and they "don't like company, including other cats." Cats are not anti-social. They have intricate social interactions with their own kind. Two of my cats are very social; they love the attention of people (even those they just meet) and the camaraderie of other felines. Feral cat colonies are found in every city and town throughout the world--the perfect example of their social nature. Cats also possess the ability to form close friendships with people. I own 8 cats and I have a unique relationship with each one. They are my babies and I couldn't imagine life without them.

She recommends only having one cat. She goes on to state "cats dislike other cats and will fight." Cats are social beings; they do like other cats and the only time they fight is to establish territory or male dominance, not because they dislike one another.

The author tells us that cats are o.k. with our leaving; they will not sulk. She doesn't know my cat Amber.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Tracey Griffith on May 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. I have read many books on cats and this is just about the best one. Informative yet entertaining when reading it. You will understand you cat better and have fun doing it. Very well written on a level for both young and old and not boring anyone.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I happen to own an earlier version of this book -- a paperback book with only black and white drawings. This book with charming and goofy watercolor cats contains all the useful and entertaining information as the first one but will be so much more accesible to children. It has helped us understand our inscrutable pets and to better meet their needs which is why we are here in the first place. A MUST for the cat lovers library.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Alan W. Petrucelli on February 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Let's start simply and honestly, the same way these tomes approach their subject matter, and say these are the cat's meow! Jean Craighead George has penned two ultra-thin volumes on communicating with our best friends and felines, and each is a howling success. The Newberry Medal-winning author does what someone like Elizabeth Masrshall Thomas has tried to do in books tens of thousands words and pages longer and could not. Jean, by George, had found the winning ways to teach pet lovers how to chat with their four-footed pals. Her writing is sparse: "A lick is not a kiss. It is a statement that says you're a wonderful leader." Her advice is refreshing: "Growling is aggressive talk. Don't growl back. Dogs don't like that." As special as her words is the whimiscal use of arkwork: actual color photos of the animated author interacting with illustrations (by Sue Truesdell) of equally animated cartoon cats and dogs. (We just love the one of George on all fours, rubbing heads with a cat!) Four paws up!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. Rosenthal on May 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This entertaining and informative book touches on the history of cats and shows young people the various ways cats communicate with their human companions. Readers discover that cats can have as many as 19 different ways to say "meow" and that their tails, ears, and whiskers play an important role in their communication with people and other cats. While much of the material is a wonderful introduction on cat behavior, the author talks about cats going outside freely at night (most humane groups advocate cats remain indoors for safety) and notes that those cats will eventually get into fights. She also mentions their eventual return home with bloodied wounds, but fails to advise the reader (supposedly young children) to get the feline proper veterinary attention. This was my only disappointment with the book, however, and it should not be dismissed on this one account, as there is good information in here for little learners.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bella on March 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was charming. I loved the illustrations....combination of photos and cartoon-like drawings. In addition to the art work, the content was informative: written in a brief style and answered my questions.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Frankie B on September 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have had cats for quite sometime... and I was always saying to myself and my girlfriend... "I wish our cat could talk." To be honest, she never wanted to know what they were saying, I think becuase she would be afraid of what they are saying, even though our cats love her more than they do me.
ANYWAY, this book has been a great way to understand better what our little friends are trying to say to us. I would not say that we are having conversations, but, at least I know that I should not take somethings as personal as what I was in the past.
For example, I loved to hold up our big cat, Toolsie, and put my nose to his (as kind of a kiss). Well, he let me do that without any resistance. What his relaxed body but squinting eyes were telling me was that he thinks this is fun but does not undrestand what or why i am doing this. A nice scratch on the back. Our other cat, Cuckoo, puts her paw up to my nose/face as I put my nose to her nose. It is quite funny and I was always wondering what she was thinking... well, from what I understand, Cuckoo thought I was more cuckoo and she was saying "hey, stop that, get out of my face. you are irritating me." Ok, i probably knew that without this book, but it has been good fun and i recommend it to any person who has a cat or give it as a gift to a friend that has a cat.
Keep up the conversation :)
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