Cats are the most popular pet in the world, and yet, so much about cats is still unknown. Even those of us who spend a large part of our lives learning about and trying to understand cats still feel like we have a lot to learn when it comes to these beloved, yet often enigmatic creatures.
In Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, renowned cat expert and anthrozoologist John Bradshaw, who has studied cat behavior, and cats’ relationship with people, for more than 30 years, offers an in depth look at the latest research into how cats think, how they interpret the world around them, and what we know about cat personality. Bradshaw covers topics such as
- Socialization: the importance of when and how to socialize kittens with people
- Training: how training can reduce stress for cats
- Picky eaters: the evolutionary reasons behind cats’ highly specialized nutritional requirements
- Cats living with other cats: why living with other cats can be stressful for many cats, and the best ways to cope with this dynamic
A large part of the book focuses on the pressures cats find themselves under in today’s world. Cats are still essentially wild animals, and expecting them to adjust to living in our homes can create any number of behavioral issues unless we provide an environment that allows them to exercise their natural instincts. The author presents a fascinating, and no doubt controversial, argument that the evolution of cats may be moving away from, rather than closer to, integration with human lifestyles. While I don’t entirely agree with his point of view, he provides some compelling evidence as to why this may be the case.
The book is packed with fascinating research and history. Bradshaw shares information gleaned from research projects he was involved in, as well as experiences with his own cats. He also addresses the issue of free roaming cats and the controversy around their impact on wildlife.
This is not a how-to manual, nor is it a light read. If you’re looking for simple advice on how to help with feline behavior problems, this book would not be my first choice, but if you want to get a better understanding of cats and their unique nature, this is a must read.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.