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Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed Paperback – 7 Aug 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241960452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241960455
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Thoughtful, useful and utterly absorbing . . . What this book does is give us a better understanding of the way cats perceive the world; and so how we might better accommodate ourselves to them (Nick Lezard, Paperback of the Week Guardian)

A mind-altering book ... What makes Bradshaw's book so valuable is his positive thinking. How can we make the cat less anxious? How can we help? (Lynne Truss The Times)

Exceptionally thorough ... Bradshaw's concern and love for cats shines through ... 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 as well as Cat Sense (Tom Cox Observer)

Bradshaw wants us to be better owners, and draws on the latest research - much of it is his own - into feline behaviour to show us how ... He offers admirably pragmatic solutions ... An entertaining book, written in a relaxed style (James McConnachie Sunday 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 (New York Times)

A fascinating book every cat owner should read (Irish Times)

Witty, surprising writing ... There is his delight in detail, a talent for dismantling myths, but most importantly an ability to build a coherent and entertaining theory from an apparent contradiction that all cat-lovers will recognise: we seek to understand cats even though it is our lack of understanding that makes us love them (Herald)

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By jaffareadstoo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Like all cats lovers I am constantly on the lookout for a definitive book which contains everything I need to know about the enigmatic creature who shares my home.

John Bradshaw's interesting and entertaining book goes a long way to satisfy my curiosity and has some really interesting snippets of information. The book is divided into well ordered chapters which cover cats in all walks of life, from the feral hordes who have to scavenge for survival, through to the pampered and cosseted world of the adored domestic feline.
The chapters are many and varied and begin by covering the history of the cat and cat archaeology before going into more specific detail about the domestication of the cat and the way in which we humans fit into the cat's world. There are also some lovely black and white drawings interspersed amongst the narrative and lots of useful diagrams and charts.

The author has a real fondness for the feline and has used his skill and knowledge to good effect and has produced a book which is entertaining but which is also informative and a real delight to read.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Bradshaw starts his story of the domesticated cat by taking us back to 10,000 or so years ago, explaining that probably the relationship between man and cat began when humans started to store food, thus requiring rodent control. He discusses the ongoing genetic links between domestic and wild cats and suggests what steps may have taken place over the history of the cat to lead to today's level of domestication. He regularly informs us that his views are often no more than educated guesswork, since far less research has been done on the cat than the dog.

In the last few chapters, Bradshaw discusses the place of the domestic cat in today's world, suggesting that the cat will have to change if it wishes to survive in an increasingly urbanised society where many people see cats as wildlife-murdering pests. He points out that most pet cats, especially males, are neutered before breeding (with the exception of pedigrees) and that this may have the unintended consequence of demand for kittens being met by rescued feral litters or by mating between wild males and domestic unneutered females. He proposes that in fact cats should be bred carefully for personality and trained to live happily, either as indoor cats or as non-hunting outdoor cats. He makes valid points about the lack of territory available to each cat in an overcrowded world and about the increased levels of anxiety this can cause.

While there is a lot of interesting stuff in here, there are a couple of things that prevent me wholeheartedly recommending the book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. D. Holley TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Now at last I have a slightly better idea of what's going on in Amelie's mind!

This is a good review of cats from a scientific point of view. The genetic and historic information was fascinating. I was especially intrigued by the difference in the degree of domestication in cats compared to other domesticated animals. The fact that 85% of cats in the west still choose their own mates is quite a revelation.

We also get insights into the dramatic sex, violence and politics in our cat's lives which all are far away from the part we normally see. There is much more to that cat curled up in front of the fire than you realise.

All this is useful in helping us to be a meaningful companion for our cats and to provide a good home for them.

I have only two small reservations. The book is slightly repetitive. And the chapter on thoughts and feelings reads as if the author is terrified of the anthropocentric thought police. Actions which are considered as involving thought, consciousness and planning in a human are sometimes here spoken of as if coming from a mindless machine when cat does the same.

Overall, highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vivek Tejuja on 16 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover
There is always this sort of competition between dog and cat lovers. Who are better creatures? What are their characteristics and how sometimes they grow to define their owners is also very interesting to note. We want to know more about the pets we own and yet somehow we do not have the time to get to know more about them and why they behave the way they do.

"Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed" by John Bradshaw is an insightful book into cats and how they have come to me from ages ago. Cats have always been under-researched. This topic has always intrigued me (though I am a dog-lover throughout) and I have always wanted to know more about these enigmatic creatures and their behaviour. "Cat Sense" is also not surprisingly a BBC series, which must be watched after you finish reading this wondrous book.

"Cat Sense" speaks of cats right from the beginning. From the history of domestication of cats, to how their senses are different and what makes them act the way they do, to drawing on the social life of cats - which to me was the most interesting part in the entire book.

What John also does is let some mysteries about cats be and not delve too much into them. Bradshaw also tackles his subject as being a certified Anthrozoologist for over thirty years. He writes sharply and draws from his experience with cats which adds that much needed personal touch to the book.

The snippets of information and trivia are worth noting more so if you are a cat lover. Bradshaw also touches on the most misconceived notion of cats being selfish creatures and demystifies it for the reader. I have a lot of friends who are cat lovers and I know for one that I would be telling them to read this book, which they will cherish and love as much as I did.
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