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Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can…

Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your… (2013)

by John Bradshaw

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Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You Better Friends to Your Pet by John Bradshaw
307 pages


I can’t tell you the day I woke up and became a “cat person” (I honestly see myself as an all animal person but others seem to disagree). I grew up with dogs (to this day I count one of my best friends as my now deceased Akita) and no cats. It wasn’t until my husband (then boyfriend) and I ventured into a humane society in 2007 that I became a first-time cat owner. But along that time, my cats have given me great comfort and love in some of the toughest years. I have spent years without dogs now since I live in a constricted apartment but my cats have turned into my everything. Does that make me a cat person? Perhaps. I would be little offended if you thought so. So I’ve been delving quite strongly into books related to cats recently. This one, Cat Sense, is from a more scientific view – their history, genetics, breeding, training, hunting, etc – seen in both domestic and feral cats and their wild ancestors.

Little surprised me in this book but then again you’re looking at a girl who spent many years working with animals (cats and dogs) in many different environments and maybe that’s why the book became somewhat boring to me at times. I think that it did contain a lot of good information but it I felt at times it became repetitive. The author is British and some of the issues he touches on is not quite as large of a problem here in the United States…as far as I know (I didn’t do a huge amount of research either way). Since it takes a much more scientific view of our feline friend, I doubt this book is going to appeal to everyone but it does have some great tips and facts that I believe all cat owners should be aware of. It is also a good book if you truly know little about the cat world. And if you’re not all that much into cats, you’re in luck, as the author has another book cleverly named...Dog Sense.
( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
Give it 3 1/2 due to a fair amount of redundancy. Interesting background on feline history and biology but no great revelations. One takeaway was on the issue of spaying all our nice, friendly domesticated cats--then one is left with a population of feral and/or anti-social (to humans) cats. Hadn't thought about that. ( )
  crosbyp | Nov 14, 2015 |
Biedt nuttige inzichten, maar is nogal wetenschappelijk geschreven. Met veel aandacht voor oorsprong van de kat en theorieën over "de ideale kat voor de toekomst". Het is vooral duidelijk dat er nog wel wat meer onderzoek gedaan moet worden, want dit zijn wel erg veel slagen om de arm. ( )
  Maaike15274 | Oct 19, 2015 |
I picked this book up because I wanted to understand my adorable talkative tortie fluffball, Ayla, better. I certainly learned a few things about cats that I found useful in relating to my own, but I also learned a lot about the genetics of cats (not sure I really wanted to learn that), the history of human treatment of them, and theories on their future evolution.

The book is divided into 11 chapters, which could be casually grouped into the following general themes:

1) the genetic and biological history of the cat or just how did we end up with a domesticated tiger anyway

2) how the domestic cat thinks and feels or yes scientists are now proving that cats actually have feelings although maybe not quite to the extent that their most loving owners believe

3) how cats relate to each other or cats hate other cats except for random kittens that are dropped into their nest or possibly other females from their own family

4) how cats relate to people or cats think you are a giant mother cat who is possibly superior (possibly)

5) how cats relate to wildlife or no cats aren’t destroying your precious birds you overly upset cat-haters (um except for possibly the wildlife on small islands but the invasive rats are actually worse and cats hunt them so there)

6) the potential future of the cat or for the love of god stop spaying and neutering the bestest most loving kitties in the world and only allowing the anti-social ferals to breed.

Let me mention that the author is both a renowned expert in this science (the science of cats), and his book also features extensive references. This is thus a trustworthy source, however, potential readers should be aware that the author (just as every author) has biases, and Bradshaw’s are fairly clear in the book. The man clearly adores cats, and thus sometimes may sway a bit to the side of positive representations of cats and optimistic beliefs about the extent of their feelings and internal lives. Now, I love cats too, so that didn’t bother me in the least, but a reader just looking at the science should note this bias. Additionally, some of the studies he cites for his findings were quite small (under 100 participants, in one case, only 8 cats were tested). Studies this small show definite room for further research. Additionally, all of the cat studies he himself has conducted were in Great Britain, so cultural biases and differences in how cats and people interact should be considered when thinking about how he analyzes cat/human interaction and behavior.

Bradshaw ends his book with this statement:

Cats need our understanding–both as individual animals that need our help to adjust to our ever-increasing demands, and also as a species that is still in transition between the wild and the truly domestic. If we can agree to support them in both these ways, cats will be assured a future in which they are not only popular and populous, but are also more relaxed, and affectionate, than they are today. (loc 4072)

A good summary of the overall themes of the book.

Overall, this book will definitely teach cat owners and lovers some new things both about the science of cats and cat behaviors. Sometimes the science can veer a bit too in-depth for the audience of the book, and also sometimes the author’s love of cats can make him seem a bit biased in favor of them. However, readers who are willing to skim over the science that they are not so into will still be able to gleam lots of information from this book that will be directly helpful to them with their pet cats. Also, this audience probably won’t mind the love of cats bias in the science. ;-)

Check out my full review, featuring more in-depth analysis of each section, and more quotes! ( )
1 vote gaialover | Jul 8, 2015 |
The latest in feline science with some history, anthropology, and psychology thrown in as well. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
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Dogs look up to us: cats look down on us.
- Winston Churchill

When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.
- Mark Twain
To Splodge (1988-2004) - A Real Cat
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465031013, Hardcover)

Cats have been popular household pets for thousands of years, and their numbers only continue to rise. Today there are three cats for every dog on the planet, and yet cats remain more mysterious, even to their most adoring owners. 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 explain the true nature—and needs—of our feline friends. Tracing the cat’s evolution from solitary hunter to domesticated companion, Bradshaw shows that cats remain independent, predatory, and wary of social contact, qualities that often clash with the demands of our modern lifestyles. If we’re to live in harmony with cats, Bradshaw contends, we first need to understand and adapt to their ancient quirks.

A must-read for any cat lover, Cat Sense challenges our most basic assumptions about cats and promises to dramatically improve their lives—and ours.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:50 -0400)

"A must-read for any cat lover, Cat Sense is a revolutionary new account from one of the leading scientific experts on these little-understood animals. As he did in his acclaimed, best-selling Dog Sense, Bradshaw combines the most up-to-date research with fascinating case studies to paint an unprecedentedly detailed portrait of the domestic cat"--… (more)

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