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Secrets of the Cat: Its Lore, Legend, and Lives Paperback – Bargain Price, November 23, 2010
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“May be the most elegantly written, witty, perceptive statement about felines ever published.” (Philadelphia Inquirer )
“Charming....Will soften the heart of even a certified ailurophobe.” (Publishers Weekly )
“Perhaps the best aspect of the book, combined with Holland’s style, is the appropriately low-grade temperature of the cat/human philosophizing—nicely situated between Sartre and Wild Kingdom.” (Trenton NJ Times )
“An absolutely wonderful and sometimes hilarious and always soulful book.” (Mademoiselle )
From the Publisher
Top Customer Reviews
So what were the odds that both of them would actually read the book and enjoy it? Slim to none, I'd have guessed from previous treatments of my recommendations.
In this case though, both husband and friend were hooked from the first page. The author begins with the tale of Boston Blackie, a cat who went berserk in the presence of other felines. He ripped off their ears, he gouged out their eyes, he sent them streaking for the bushes even at feeding time. And then, one day...but I don't want to spoil Blackie's story for you. Just a hint - his name was changed to Basil and no anatomical alterations were involved.
Barbara Holland has written an extremely personal book about the history, lore, and personality of 'Felis libyca.' In the chapter, "A Choice of Cats" she does riffs on many of the different feline breeds, but it is easy to see that the Siamese is her favorite:
"Properly treated, Siamese develop a deep, single-hearted devotion to their people and overreact to competition, absences, and infidelity like an adolescent in love. They need attention, and think nothing of pulling the books out of the bookcase and the pictures off the walls to get it. They demand notice in a raucous, echoing voice that many people and some other cats find alarming; the sound has been compared to that of a giant sea gull in distress. Taking on a Siamese is rather like getting married."
Our own preference is for Maine Coons (we share the house with five), and Barbara Holland tells a great story about them, too. Not that I agreed with everything she wrote.Read more ›
In our futile attempt to find a way to alleviate this behavior, my wife and I went through several books, dozens of phone calls to veterinarians in Lincoln and Omaha (Nebraska) and were never to find a way to keep our tort shell from beating up on the calico kitten we brought home. Finally, however, we had to give the calico to my stepdaughter.
In our desperate attempt to find a way to stop Pokeman (yes, at last I reveal the cat's name) from being a bully we discovered this wonderful book by Barbara Holland. It starts with a tale of hope for our family with a short essay called "The Conversion of Boston Blackie". Boston Blackie was a stray that would terrify all the other cats in the author's household. It became so bad that Ms. Holland actually hired someone to assassinate Blackie. As it turns out, there was no need to do so, as for some reason the cat converted. Truly a story that kept us going for awhile in our fruitless attempt to convert our cat.
There's great stuff in this book, including the one I mentioned, some of it very sad (a story of a woman who would only let her cat live alone in a basement), some of it useful (how to wash a cat to prevent allergens from reacting).
Lyrical, recommended, and picked up at our house and browsed through frequently.
This supplanting her own personal opinions as more correct than written accounts by scientists and historians isn't helped by the fact that she uses no citations. At all. There isn't a bibliography either. This book explains cat behavior, physicality, husbandry, origins and history and doesn't refer to a single source of research. Holland states everything as plain fact and moves on.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The early chapters had me chuckling often and hard for the sense of humor the author displayed. Then I got to Chapter 7! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ann Brennan
Why a one? Because they won't let you give anyone a zero. This is the most ludicrous book I've ever not managed to finish.Published 2 months ago by K. E. Brown
The author begins by describing cats she has and knows. None of my felines have been like hers. Mine greet the guests, love on anyone available, and one even plays a video game on... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Vickie Woodard
Love ANYTHING that she wrote! I know she has passed away, and with this book my set is complete. I even bought the one about dueling!Published 10 months ago by Kate Foster
Another Barbara Holland triumph! Funny, I always thought of her as a dog person, Just like "Hail to the Chiefs", "The Joy of Drinking", and others, this is part... Read morePublished 15 months ago by James L. Ball
I really only bought this book because the author and I carry the same name and I thought it would be a novelty having my name on a book. Read morePublished 19 months ago by B. A. Holland
I love Barbara Holland's books. I live with a cat and identify with each chapter! Ms Holland is no longer with us, so that saddens me. Read morePublished 23 months ago by PatnCat
Secrets of the cat is one of my all-time favorite books. Holland writes so beautifully, and she has do many captivating stories to tell. Most importantly, she KNOWS cats.Published 24 months ago by Denese S. Wong