10 Great Books on (C)ats
1. Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed By John Bradshaw
From John Bradshaw, one of the world’s leading experts on animal behaviour, and the author of the Sunday Times Bestseller, In Defence of Dogs, Cat Sense is a scientific portrait of the true, surprising nature of cats. Worshipped as gods, feared as demonic servants, seen as both wild opportunists and beloved companions, cats often seem as unfathomable, enigmatic and magical to us today as they did in ancient times. They have lived with humans for at least ten thousand years (far earlier than the reign of the Pharaohs), and today are the most popular pet in the world. That they now outnumber the dog, man’s ‘best friend’, by three to one, is small wonder: at once affectionate and self-reliant, they seem to be perfectly suited to our busy 21st Century lifestyles. Yet cats still think like the wild scavengers and hunters from which they are descended – and to which they can quickly revert. Today, they face unprecedented challenges in their life with humans: from conservationists who cast them as a threat to wildlife; from other cats who they compete for territory with; and from good-intentioned owners and vets with misconceptions of what they require. Cats need not so much our sympathy, but our understanding, if they are to continue to enjoy our companionship. The recent surge in feline science – with John Bradshaw at the forefront – means we are now better equipped to understand them than ever before. Cat Sense offers us for the first time a true picture of one of humanity’s closest and most enigmatic companions.
2. Fierce Beauty: Preserving the World of Wild Cats by Bhagavan (“Doc”) Antle , Tim Flach and Barry Bland
Fierce Beauty is a celebration of tigers, leopards, lions, ocelots, and other wild cats that inhabit The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS), a wildlife preserve in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The institute’s fifty acres are home to more than one hundred rare animals, from ligers (a hybrid cross between a male lion and a tigress) that stretch nearly twelve feet long to cheetahs capable of running seventy miles per hour. Featuring dozens of exclusive new portraits from preeminent nature photographer Tim Flach, Fierce Beauty depicts the beauty, power, and grace of these remarkable creatures as never before. And with more than 300 images of wild cats and essays by such distinguished conservationists as zoologist and TV personality Jim Fowler, Dakota Zoo director Terry Lincoln, and a foreword by renowned actor Robert Duvall, Fierce Beauty enables readers to experience the vibrant form, bold markings, and striking personalities that make wild cats unique cohabitants of mankind.
3. Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics by Heather Busch and Burton Silver
An unprecedented photographic record of cat creativity that will intrigue cat lovers and art lovers alike.
4. Outline of Cat Anatomy with Reference to the Human by Stephen Gilbert and Cheralea Gilbert
The cat has been used as a subject for dissection in the study of mammalian anatomy for almost two centuries. The very popular Pictorial Anatomy of the Cat by Stephen G. Gilbert, originally published in 1967 and now in its 12th printing, has been used in countless laboratories as a guide to dissection and supplement to introductory textbooks. Outline of Cat Anatomy is an abridged version of the original guide, modified for practical use in one-semester courses. It employs anatomical terms used in human rather than veterinary anatomy and includes illustrations of human anatomy that may be compared with those of the cat, especially useful for the many students who do not have access to human dissections.
5. The Domestic Cat: The Biology of its Behaviour by Dennis C. Turner and Patrick Bateson
Humans have lived with cats for thousands of years, and there are now more cats kept in Western households than any other animal. Cherished as companions and valued as rodent catchers, their enigmatic behavior has intrigued and bewildered us for generations. While accepting the comforts of human homes, cats do seem to “walk by themselves.” Although loved for their independence and self-reliance, myths and fables surround them, leaving them open to persecution and misunderstanding. Covering all types of cats from pampered pets to feral hunters, this completely revised new edition of The Domestic Cat shows how cats live and behave in a variety of circumstances and surroundings. With new chapters on welfare issues, and cat-cat communication, this volume penetrates the enigma that is Felis catus, sorting fact from fiction, and helping both the general reader and the specialist in animal behavior or veterinary science to understand cats as they really are.
6. Dancing with Cats: From the Creators of the International Best Seller Why Cats Paint by Burton Silver and Heather Busch
While researching their groundbreaking book, Why Cats Paint, Burton Silver and Heather Busch uncovered another phenomenon that seemed to merit further investigation: people who dance with their cats, or, more accurately, cats who dance with their people. It turns out that thousands of people today are rediscovering the ancient practice of cat dancing, tapping into this remarkable method of channeling feline energy and bonding with their pets. Some whisper to horses; others dance with cats. Both are manifestations of humankinds continual striving to connect with their animal companions on a higher spiritual level. Dancing with Cats presents scores of delightful and inspiring photographs of people and cats engaging in their favorite routines, as well as moving testimonies of the personal transformations brought about through this uniquely joyous form of communion. A brave leap forward in the history of human-feline relations, Dancing with Cats gives people and cats reason to rejoice, jump up in the air…and dance!
7. The Big Cats and Their Fossil Relatives by Mauricio Anton and Alan Turner
In this beautifully illustrated natural history that links extinct larger feline species with those still in existence, collaborators Alan Turner and Mauricio Anton weave together the evidence of modern feline behavior with that of the fossil record. Turner’s clear, insightful prose and Anton’s masterly illustrations combine to offer specialists and newcomers alike an accurate and accessible guide to the evolution of cats.
8. The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat by Theoni Pappas
Penrose, a cat with a knack for math, takes children on an adventurous tour of mathematical concepts from fractals to infinity.
9. Cats Have No Masters…Just Friends: An Investigation Into the Feline Mind by Karen Anderson
Often misunderstood and sometimes misjudged, cats remain the most mysterious of our domesticated companions. Yet with a little patience and a lot of love, cats will enter your hearts on soft paws and remain there with an infinite amount of devotion. Author Karen Anderson explores some of the mistakes cat owners may unknowingly make while raising their feline friends. She also tells how to correct undesirable behaviors while at the same time forging a bond of trust and affection that will remain throughout your lives together. In an original format, the text is segmented into vignettes of behavioral descriptions and methods for interacting more rewardingly with your cat, each with an accompanying photograph. Page after page of insightful text and colorful photographs capture these wonderful animals in both their daily routines and frisky, playful behaviors – in short, doing what makes a cat a cat. A must-read for cat lovers everywhere, this book will change the way you look at our furry friends.
10. Tiger Moon: Tracking the Great Cats in Nepal by Fiona Sunquist and Mel Sunquist
Tiger Moon is the powerful, poetic story of the Sunquists’ two years studying tigers in Nepal—traveling by elephant, avoiding a rhino attack, and learning to recognize individual tigers by roar. A new afterword tells the story of promising efforts to reconnect fractured Nepalese tiger habitats.