Cat Sense

Cat Sense : How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet

3.49 (2,709 ratings by Goodreads)
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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. Unlike dogs, cats evolved as solitary hunters, and, while many have learned to live alongside humans and even feel affection for us, they still don't quite "get us" the way dogs do, and perhaps they never will. But cats have rich emotional lives that we need to respect and understand if they are to thrive in our company. 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 dispel the myths and explain the true nature of our feline friends. Tracing the cat's evolution from lone predator to domesticated companion, Bradshaw shows that although cats and humans have been living together for at least eight thousand years, cats remain independent, predatory, and wary of contact with their own kind, qualities that often clash with our modern lifestyles.
Cats still have three out of four paws firmly planted in the wild, and within only a few generations can easily revert back to the independent way of life that was the exclusive preserve of their predecessors some 10,000 years ago. Cats are astonishingly flexible, and given the right environment they can adapt to a life of domesticity with their owners--but to continue do so, they will increasingly need our help. If we're to live in harmony with our cats, Bradshaw explains, we first need to understand their inherited quirks: understanding their body language, keeping their environments--however small--sufficiently interesting, and becoming more proactive in managing both their natural hunting instincts and their relationships with other cats. A must-read for any cat lover, Cat Sense offers humane, penetrating insights about the domestic cat that challenge our most basic assumptions and promise to dramatically improve our pets' lives--and ours.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 162.56 x 238.76 x 33.02mm | 544.31g
  • Basic Civitas Books
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • B&W illustrations throughout
  • 0465031013
  • 9780465031016
  • 127,344

Review quote

NPR, Book of the Year "An indispensable addition to the cat-lore canon... Cat Sense is jam-packed with fascinating (and contrarian) tidbits...covering everything from why cats purr to why they bring us dead things -- and why we keep them around, even though their original purpose as mousers is mostly obsolete. Obligatory cat pun coming up ... this book is a purrfect gift for the cat lady or cat dude in your life." New York Times "For any who may wonder what their feline companions are really thinking, Cat Sense, by John Bradshaw, provides the best answers that science can give for the time being...Cat Sense will teach you much about the biology of cats that you never suspected." The Guardian "Bradshaw's book mixes pellets of cat lore with accounts of feline evolution, anatomy, genetics and development from newborn kitten to adulthood, plus descriptions of cat-psychology experiments in the laboratory, many of which he has conducted himself... Inveterate cat-haters, those defective humans, probably won't appreciate this book, but anyone else might. It is written in a friendly and engaging way, has helpful tips for cat owners, and is packed with excellent cat facts." The Observer "You could buy a dozen books by the many cat whisperers, cat gurus and cat therapists that exist in our feline-obsessed modern world, but their accumulated wisdom would probably not help you understand your cats -- where they've come from, what they want from you, and where they might be going, if we're not careful -- as well as Cat Sense." People "Drawing from research, the author cracks an enigma: the feline mind. A must for owners wondering how Fluffy really feels about them." The Sunday Times "[Bradshaw] starts with cat origins and works methodically -- and illuminatingly -- through the many daft anthropomorphic assumptions... What makes Bradshaw's book so valuable is his positive thinking. How can we make the cat less anxious? How can we help?... [Cat Sense is] a mind-altering book." The Express "Bradshaw does a great job of explaining to the clueless cat owner what science has discovered about their pet... [A] fascinating bookshelf essential for anyone who's ever looked at their cat and wondered what's going on behind those big eyes." Time "Bradshaw, who has been studying the behavior of domesticated animals for over 30 years, reveals some fascinating explanations for why cats act the way they do around humans." Frank Bruni, New York Times "Bradshaw...flags his seriousness of purpose with his subtitle, How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet. Bradshaw means to get into the cat brain. He's already plumbed its canine counterpart, in the 2011 book Dog Sense, which was also grounded in research, not sentiment, and in the idea that pets have inner lives more complicated than we imagine." Cat Fancy "[A] definitive guide to the origins, evolution and modern-day needs of our furry friends... A must-read for any cat lover, the book offers humane insights about the domestic cat that challenge the most basic assumptions and promise to dramatically improve our pets' lives." Science News "[Bradshaw] deftly sums up the latest science that attempts to discover what's going on inside the kitty brain... A careful read can help a cat owner understand why cats don't get along, guide efforts in training and even reveal what's behind kitty's favorite toy." Tuscon Citizen "This is a fascinating book that reveals much new information... Whether you share your home with a cat or just admire them from afar, this book is must reading. It is meticulously researched, crisply written, and an essential guide that offers penetrating insights about the domestic cat, many beliefs that will challenge our most basic assumptions but promise to dramatically improve not only the lives of our pets but ours as well." The Telegraph "Bradshaw is...a dedicated scientist, with much to teach us about our furry darlings." Smithsonian "Books about animals tend to swing from how-to manuals devoid of evidence for the tactics they propose to scientific tracts with little comment on the way we actually live with our four-legged friends. Cat Sense strikes a nice balance, perhaps because Bradshaw researched it for 30 years. He synthesizes academic articles, experiments and his own observations into a lively, readable text." The New Statesman "On physiology, Bradshaw goes well beyond charming did-you-knows to provide insights that could transform the average cat owner's understanding of their pet... After reading Cat Sense, you will never look at your cat in the same way again." Shelf Awareness for Readers "Using research, his background in anthrozoology and his personal experiences with cats, Bradshaw has written a scientific book that remains easily accessible to any cat owner. He admits up front there is still plenty to learn about the domestic cat, but Cat Sense is a solid starting point and a must for present owners and potential owners alike. Readers will be more aware of their companions' behaviors and what those behaviors mean in terms of the human-cat relationship, thereby creating a richer, more fulfilling connection for each." Natural History "[Bradshaw] offers plenty of insights into what makes your tabby purr and how those insights can make a difference in your domestic life... The understanding you gain should make for a happier cat-human household." Cat Talk "Bradshaw deftly weaves together history, science, cat lore and some interesting predictions on the future evolution of cats as pets and members of human households... Well-written and as readable as many novels, with graphs, illustrations, photos and boxed vignettes throughout, Cat Sense is a serious look at the science of our feline companions that most cat lovers, owners and breeders will find both educational and enjoyable. It is far more than the typical 'cat book.'" Literary Review, UK "If John Bradshaw's new book doesn't entirely penetrate the feline does at least shine a beam of light on the question of what is going on in those furry little heads. Not all that much is often the answer. Cat Sense is an amiable and interesting round-up of the history and science of the domestic moggy, from its first appearance in prehistory to the latest behavioural and genetic discoveries." Writer's Voice "Cat Sense goes a long way toward educating humans about their feline companions so that we can continue to enjoy them -- and, perhaps more importantly, make them happier to be around us." Booklist, Starred Review "This fascinating book will be a bible for cat owners." Modern Cat "[I]nsightful... Using cutting-edge research, Bradshaw takes us into the mysterious mind of the domestic cat, explaining the cat's nature and needs, and, in doing, so deepens our understanding of our wild housemates and improves our relationships with them." Global Animal "[A] go-to cat guide in one easy read... For cat lovers, this book gives a vital look into the perspective of the cat... The insight this book provides will not only help cat companions better understand their pet, it will allow them to create an ideal living situation for their cat. Keeping your cat happy and stress-free will ensure a comfortable home for everyone." Cat Wisdom 101 "Cat Sense paves the way for the greatest gift we can give our cats: learning what makes them tick... Cat Sense, a well-researched reference book (chock-full of lovely illustrations) delves into fascinating insights into the feline mind and their physical evolution to the present day... No one book encompasses all aspects of cats but Cat Sense is a valuable resource with plenty of food for thought about cats today and their future as a species." Globe and Mail "In his wide-ranging new book, Cat Sense, English anthrozoologist John Bradshaw calls on all his scientific resources to interpret our enigmatic felines for the 21st century -- a restrictive era far removed from the predatory instincts of these not-quite-domesticated animals." Library Journal "With more than 30 years of experience studying animal behavior, [Bradshaw] is able to convey valuable information to cat owners, regardless of their experience with the species, that will assist them in providing the stable physical environment that cats crave, as well as promoting the healthiest of relationships between cat and owner... [E]nlightening." Publishers Weekly "[Bradshaw] engagingly synthesizes recent academic research about cats... Readable, practical, and original, this is likely to become the go-to book for understanding cat behavior." Kirkus "A useful guide to help cat lovers better understand their elusive pets." Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep and The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats "This fascinating book is one of the finest ever written about cats. There was hardly a page where I did not learn something new, and John Bradshaw's many practical suggestions are truly excellent. Any cat lover is bound to discover in it much that is useful, interesting, and entertaining." Alexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know and On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes "John Bradshaw knows cats. Cat Sense brims with many details sure to engage owners and animal lovers alike--and possibly even felines." Tracie Hotchner, author of The Cat Bible and host/ producer of Dog Talk (and Kitties, Too!) on NPR and Cat Crazy and Cat Chat & Dog Talk on the Radio Pet Lady Network "Cat Sense makes sense of cats for us from an entirely fresh perspective, using a combination of history, science, logic, and a heartfelt compassion, certainly inspired by his own lovely kitty, Splodge. John Bradshaw has given us all the gift of being able to truly comprehend our pussycats and offer them the unselfish and satisfying life we have never quite known how to do until this book opened our eyes." Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard To Think Straight About Animals "Based on rock solid science, Cat Sense is a beautifully written whirlwind tour of all things feline--from the influence of ancient Egyptian funeral rites on the behavior of modern cats to practical tips on how to keep an indoor cat happy. I am so glad I read this book... and so is my cat Tilly!"
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About John Bradshaw

John Bradshaw is Foundation Director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol. Author of the New York Times bestseller Dog Sense, which won an Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal, he lives in Southampton, England.
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Rating details

2,709 ratings
3.49 out of 5 stars
5 17% (451)
4 33% (892)
3 37% (989)
2 11% (291)
1 3% (86)
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