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Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet Paperback – September 9, 2014
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*Starred Review* As author Bradshaw (Dog Sense, 2011) notes in his introduction, the domestic cat is the most popular pet in today’s world, outnumbering dogs by as many as three to one. In this new examination of feline behavior, Bradshaw teases out a better understanding of what our cats want (and need) from their owners. Cats fill two niches that humans unintentionally provided for them—pest controller, as wild cats moved in to feast on the concentrations of rodents attracted to our stored grain; and companion animal, as people (probably women and children) adopted kittens as pets. To fully understand the pet cat, owners must appreciate and work with this dual role. Bradshaw traces the cat’s evolution from a wild solitary hunter to today’s house pet in the first three chapters, and then, in the next three, looks at cats’ biology and how this affects their interactions with each other and with humans. The social lives of cats, both with their owners and with other animals, are then examined, and the book concludes with thoughts on the future role of the cat as a pet. Perhaps the most interesting section speculates on how to train and breed for animals that will be content to stay inside. This fascinating book will be a bible for cat owners. --Nancy Bent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Cat Wisdom 101
Cat Sense paves the way for the greatest gift we can give our cats: learning what makes them tick.... Cat Sense, a well-researched reference book (chock-full of lovely illustrations) delves into fascinating insights into the feline mind and their physical evolution to the present day.... No one book encompasses all aspects of cats but Cat Sense is a valuable resource with plenty of food for thought about cats today and their future as a species.”
Globe and Mail
In his wide-ranging new book, Cat Sense, English anthrozoologist John Bradshaw calls on all his scientific resources to interpret our enigmatic felines for the 21st century a restrictive era far removed from the predatory instincts of these not-quite-domesticated animals.”
With more than 30 years of experience studying animal behavior, [Bradshaw] is able to convey valuable information to cat owners, regardless of their experience with the species, that will assist them in providing the stable physical environment that cats crave, as well as promoting the healthiest of relationships between cat and owner.... [E]nlightening.”
They're the world's most popular pet (sorry, Spot), but who knows what goes on behind those wide, inscrutable eyes? Bradshaw's bestseller will give you a clue.”
[Bradshaw] deftly sums up the latest science that attempts to discover what's going on inside the kitty brain.... A careful read can help a cat owner understand why cats don't get along, guide efforts in training and even reveal what's behind kitty's favorite toy.”
This is a fascinating book that reveals much new information.... Whether you share your home with a cat or just admire them from afar, this book is must reading. It is meticulously researched, crisply written, and an essential guide that offers penetrating insights about the domestic cat, many beliefs that will challenge our most basic assumptions but promise to dramatically improve not only the lives of our pets but ours as well.”
Bradshaw is...a dedicated scientist, with much to teach us about our furry darlings.”
[Bradshaw] offers plenty of insights into what makes your tabby purr and how those insights can make a difference in your domestic life.... The understanding you gain should make for a happier cat-human household.”
Cat Sense goes a long way toward educating humans about their feline companions so that we can continue to enjoy them and, perhaps more importantly, make them happier to be around us.”
Booklist, Starred Review
This fascinating book will be a bible for cat owners.”
[I]nsightful.... Using cutting-edge research, Bradshaw takes us into the mysterious mind of the domestic cat, explaining the cat's nature and needs, and, in doing, so deepens our understanding of our wild housemates and improves our relationships with them.”
[A] go-to cat guide in one easy read.... For cat lovers, this book gives a vital look into the perspective of the cat.... The insight this book provides will not only help cat companions better understand their pet, it will allow them to create an ideal living situation for their cat. Keeping your cat happy and stress-free will ensure a comfortable home for everyone.”
[Bradshaw] engagingly synthesizes recent academic research about cats.... Readable, practical, and original, this is likely to become the go-to book for understanding cat behavior.”
A useful guide to help cat lovers better understand their elusive pets.”
Scientific American's Dog Spies blog
Cat Sense is the most recent book to dispel myths and explain the true nature of our feline friends.”
Scientific American's Dog Spies blog
Like Dog Sense, but with cats! Bradshaw has pioneered reams of research on cat behavior and cognition and produced a must-read for cat lovers.”
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep and The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats
This fascinating book is one of the finest ever written about cats. There was hardly a page where I did not learn something new, and John Bradshaw's many practical suggestions are truly excellent. Any cat lover is bound to discover in it much that is useful, interesting, and entertaining.”
Bradshaw's book mixes pellets of cat lore with accounts of feline evolution, anatomy, genetics and development from newborn kitten to adulthood, plus descriptions of cat-psychology experiments in the laboratory, many of which he has conducted himself.... Inveterate cat-haters, those defective humans, probably won't appreciate this book, but anyone else might. It is written in a friendly and engaging way, has helpful tips for cat owners, and is packed with excellent cat facts.”
The Guardian, paperback
[A] thoughtful, useful and utterly absorbing book.”
You could buy a dozen books by the many cat whisperers, cat gurus and cat therapists that exist in our feline-obsessed modern world, but their accumulated wisdom would probably not help you understand your cats where they've come from, what they want from you, and where they might be going, if we're not careful as well as Cat Sense.”
Drawing from research, the author cracks an enigma: the feline mind. A must for owners wondering how Fluffy really feels about them.”
The Sunday Times
[Bradshaw] starts with cat origins and works methodically and illuminatingly through the many daft anthropomorphic assumptions.... What makes Bradshaw's book so valuable is his positive thinking. How can we make the cat less anxious? How can we help?... [Cat Sense is] a mind-altering book.”
The Sunday Times, paperback
Cat Sense is rich in scientific research and historical anecdote.... Cat owners mostly believe that their pets look after themselves fairly well, so Bradshaw might not find an audience as avid as the one he found for dogs. It is a pity. This is a more entertaining book, written in a more relaxed style.”
The Guardian Books Blog
We're fond of cats. Our favourite cat book this year was animal behaviouralist, John Bradshaw's, Cat Sense, a truly scientific yet deeply affectionate look at the our feline companions.”
Bradshaw does a great job of explaining to the clueless cat owner what science has discovered about their pet.... [A] fascinating bookshelf essential for anyone who's ever looked at their cat and wondered what's going on behind those big eyes.”
Cat lovers will certainly enjoy this book, though it does not pretend to solve all the mysteries cats present us with.”
Books about animals tend to swing from how-to manuals devoid of evidence for the tactics they propose to scientific tracts with little comment on the way we actually live with our four-legged friends. Cat Sense strikes a nice balance, perhaps because Bradshaw researched it for 30 years. He synthesizes academic articles, experiments and his own observations into a lively, readable text.”
The New Statesman
On physiology, Bradshaw goes well beyond charming did-you-knows to provide insights that could transform the average cat owner's understanding of their pet.... After reading Cat Sense, you will never look at your cat in the same way again.”
Shelf Awareness for Readers
Using research, his background in anthrozoology and his personal experiences with cats, Bradshaw has written a scientific book that remains easily accessible to any cat owner. He admits up front there is still plenty to learn about the domestic cat, but Cat Sense is a solid starting point and a must for present owners and potential owners alike. Readers will be more aware of their companions' behaviors and what those behaviors mean in terms of the human-cat relationship, thereby creating a richer, more fulfilling connection for each.”
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Top customer reviews
The first three chapters provide a context for thinking about cats in today's world. The author discusses the history of the domestication of cats and traces their emergence as a "truly global phenomenon."
In the middle chapters, the focus is on how different the senses and brains of cats are from humans. Cats, we learn, are not little furry humans. The author discusses the way cats gather information, how they interpret and use that information, and the way their emotions guide their actions. The science in these chapters is fascinating.
The author goes on to examine the social life of cats--the connections they make with one another, and the science of cat "personality." The chapter on "Cats and Their People" is especially good. It discusses the human preference for "baby-faced animals," but points out that the physical appearance of cats cannot explain the affection humans have for them. Cats owe their success as pets, the author writes, because they are open to building relationships with humankind. The discussion of what cats feel for humans, and the analysis of purring, will warm the hearts of cat owners.
The book closes with a look at the different pressures cats are under in today's world. The evolution of cats, the author argues, is moving away, rather than toward, better integration with human society.
The book reveals that cats and dogs are more different than we might have imagined. "The dog's mind has been radically altered from that of its ancestor, the gray wolf; cats, on the other hand, still think like wild hunters." There is much to be learned from this work.
NOTE: One reviewer here says the author "advocates breeding." That's not quite right. The author says that we should not be breeding cats for appearance--which is what is done today. If there is to be breeding, it should be done in order to select behaviors. The author is not calling for breeding, however.
I enjoyed the chapter on the domestication of cats. Cats have not been domesticated nearly as long as dogs. Domestic cats more or less hark back to Ancient Egypt, and the author discusses how the wildness is just below the surface in any cat, which may account for the fact that some people find them difficult to understand and call them "aloof" or unfriendly, even. But it's all to do with their nature.
There is info all sorts of cat psychology and physiology, for example, the effect of "scruffing" --which can be controversial. This is picking a cat up by the loose skin on the back of the neck, same as a mommy cat would do to a kitten. I happen to know from my own animal physiology classes that this causes a relaxation effect in a cat --they go limp when you pick them up by the scruff, same as when Mommy Cat picks up a kitten, and this is an actual physiological effect that will calm a cat. But it looks nasty to some people. Other cat behaviors also hark back to kittenhood and soothe a nervous kitty, such as "kneading" or "knitting." When cats pulse their paws against your side or a blanket, they are repeating nursing behavior, pushing Mommy Cat for more milk, and thus going back to infant bliss. (My university degree is in zoology, so perhaps I look at things slightly differently than most folks when it comes to animals--but I find all this absolutely fascinating.)
There is information about purebred cats and their specific traits in this book. This is proper for a book on cats; the breeding of cats has produced a lot of variants, such as the flat face breeds and other extremes. This discussion is proper for a cat book; my cat is a dumpster rescue, but he turns out to be a purebred Siberian (we were surprised when we found ths out.) He was probably tossed out by an irresponsible person because he has birth defects.
Breeding cats however, is controversial because there are millions of feral cats, the product of their amazing fertility. A pair of cats over a few years can be the progenitors of literally (litter-ly) thousands of offspring. These cats, your "dumpster cats" eat wildlife, and are not only eating rodents (yay!) but also birds and can make a dent in the local songbird population. So stabilizing wild feral cat populations and spaying and neutering are key. But the author talks about cat breeds and this book would not be complete without a rundown about the various types of cats.
So I'm not dinging this book for discussing breeding, which is a scientific endeavor. If you feel that there are too many cats in shelters, as I do, then adopt one, as I did and will always do in future. Anyone who dings this book for containing valid information about cat breeds is being unfair; you can discuss cat breeds and then go right down to the shelter and adopt a cat and that's what I always do. But the information belongs in this book and is interesting as well. I would not have known as much about my adopted cat if I didn't have access to such information.
In summary, if you would like to know about the origins and physical characteristics, this is a good read, but the last part of the book talking about keeping a cat is useless.