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.
Praise for In Defence of Dogs:
'The most fantastic book, a revelation' Observer
'Essential reading' Daily Telegraph
'Nothing less than a manifesto for a new understanding' Guardian
'A case grounded in kindness and science ... Authoritative, wise and rather moving' Independent
'A wonderful, reassuring, and encouraging book' Literary Review
'A wonderfully informative, passionate book' Economist
John Bradshaw is a biologist who founded and directs the world-renowned Anthrozoology Institute, based at the University of Bristol. He has been studying the behaviour of domestic cats and their owners for over 25 years, and is the author of many scientific articles, research papers and reviews. He is also the author of the Sunday Times bestseller, In Defence of Dogs.
Bradshaw (Dog Sense), foundation director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol, engagingly synthesizes recent academic research about cats. Chapters covering the origins of cat domestication, feline emotions, and behavior, and the challenges cats face in the future, balance kernels of facts with thoughtful and surprisingly analyses. For example, Bradshaw recounts the evolution from wild cat to domesticated animal: the invention of storage facilities for grain attracted rodent pests, which in turn attracted wild cats, who eventually became reliant on the perpetual food source of rats and mice, and became domesticated over time. Contrary to popular belief, a cat's purr is not a sign of contentment; rather, it is a request for "someone else, whether cat or human, to do something for it," such as prolonging "the circumstances that are making" the cat contented. Bradshaw convincingly argues that cats are not or should not be low-maintenance, and that their reputation for being so is a barrier to their owners spending the time needed to train them. Readable, practical, and original, this is likely to become the go-to book for understanding cat behavior.