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The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and…

The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline…

by Thomas McNamee

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Some people think that the story of his cat Augusta detracts from the factual aspects of the book, but I think it's what keeps the book from getting too dry. And believe you me, there is nothing dry about the last chapter or two. It is kind of like Marley and Me in that way, but even more so for me because I'm a cat person. It also doesn't help that my beloved Sweetpea, 16 years old, has been diagnosed with cancer.

Whereas I read the end of Marley and Me on a plane, crying like a baby while some stranger had to sit next to me, I read the end of this book at home and had access to a lot of tissues and a cat to cuddle. I recommend the latter! ( )
  Silvia_rubicula | Oct 8, 2018 |
I enjoyed McNamee's book and encountered quite a bit of new information about the problem of feral cats and cat communication and vocalization. However, the book is generally not about what the title claims that it is: the inner life of cats. There is also some information presented that seems unnecessarily obvious: what to do if your cat goes missing, for example. Prospective readers who have recently lost a beloved animal should also be advised that McNamee describes the decline and euthanasia of his longtime feline companion, Augusta, in a fair bit of detail.

Although it is largely expository, The Inner Life of Cats does contain engaging memoir elements. McNamee tells us the story of Augusta, who was abandoned as a three-month-old kitten on a road near his Montana ranch. I mostly enjoyed reading about Augusta's adventures, and I certainly understand the author's desire to give her an enriched life of outdoor freedom, though it is not what I would choose to do. However, I have to say I was very uncomfortable with his decision to let Augusta out of doors when he and his wife moved to San Francisco. To give McNamee his due, he does discuss the many dangers of a cat's being allowed out of doors (along with the challenges of keeping a cat entirely indoors). Oddly, however, he omits any discussion of the possibility that a cat can acquire F.I.V.--the feline equivalent of H.I.V.--often contracted in territorial disputes by male cats from bites by infected toms.

A quibble of mine: McNamee's references to feline nutrition are quite superficial. He appears to suggest that because the American Association of Feed Control Officials identifies nutritional requirements for cat food, it somehow oversees pet food production and ensures the quality of commercial foods. It does not, and neither does the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In fact, according to Susan Thixton, "The United States Department of Agriculture has no regulatory authority over pet food. The USDA does have a voluntary pet food certification program, but it is not acknowledged by FDA or State Department of Agriculture." Pet food is poorly regulated indeed, and poor diet is linked with a number of modern feline medical problems, including inflammatory bowel disease and hyperthyroidism. Interested readers may wish to visit Thixton's Truth about Pet Food website for more information. ( )
  fountainoverflows | May 13, 2017 |
For all their grace and beauty, cats have small brains and it is tempting to think that their cognition isn't all that sharp. Thomas McNamee carefully considers the scientific evidence as well as his own interactions with his beloved rescue cat Augusta and comes to the conclusion that cats' emotional lives are rich and deeply complex. Readers who live with cats won't be surprised by this revelation. Nonetheless, this book is a beautifully written tribute to cats everywhere. ( )
  akblanchard | May 11, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316262870, Hardcover)

Our feline companions are much-loved but often mysterious. In The Inner Life of Cats, Thomas McNamee blends scientific reportage with engaging, illustrative anecdotes about his own beloved cat, Augusta, to explore and illuminate the secrets and enigmas of her kind.

As it begins, The Inner Life of Cats follows the development of the young Augusta while simultaneously explaining the basics of a kitten's physiological and psychological development. As the narrative progresses, McNamee also charts cats' evolution, explores a feral cat colony in Rome, tells the story of Augusta's life and adventures, and consults with behavioral experts, animal activists, and researchers, who will help readers more fully understand cats.

McNamee shows that with deeper knowledge of cats' developmental phases and individual idiosyncrasies, we can do a better job of guiding cats' maturation and improving the quality of their lives. Readers' relationships with their feline friends will be happier and more harmonious because of this book.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 17 Mar 2017 02:44:45 -0400)

"Our feline companions are much-loved but often mysterious. In The Inner Life of Cats, Thomas McNamee blends scientific reportage with engaging, illustrative anecdotes about his own beloved cat, Augusta, to explore and illuminate the secrets and enigmas of her kind"--… (more)

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