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Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed [Hardcover]

John Bradshaw
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Aug 2013

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.


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Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed + In Defence of Dogs
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (15 Aug 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1846145945
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846145940
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

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 (Observer Tom Cox)

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)

Biologist and animal-behaviour expert John Bradshaw's book [is] friendly and engaging, has helpful tips for cat owners, and is packed with excellent cat facts (Steven Poole Guardian)

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 (The Herald)

[Praise for In Defence of Dogs]: The most fantastic book, a revelation (Observer)

Essential reading (Daily Telegraph)

A case grounded in kindness and science ... Authoritative, wise and rather moving (Independent)

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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight to read... 29 Aug 2013
By jaffareadstoo TOP 500 REVIEWER
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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stepford Cats... 11 Sep 2013
By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a cat thinks 10 Oct 2013
By M. D. Holley TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Full of information but a bit wordy.... 15 Sep 2013
By Sam
Format:Kindle Edition
As much as I love cats, I'm not normally a fan of books about cats. They tend to be way too cosy for my taste, and too full of home-spun wisdom, which I am not a fan of at all. But I was excited to read Cat Sense as it promised to be a scientific portrayal of cats, written by author who works in feline science and based on proper research. Divided into three parts, Cat Sense covers the history of cats and their domestication, scientific explanations for their behaviour and challenges faced by cats as they live in great numbers alongside humans.

The first part of the book, which was a history of cats and their relationship with humans, was completely fascinating. There was quite a lot of information on genetics, the ancestors of modern day pet cats and the genetic relationship between domestic and wild cats (not as far apart as you would think!). I genuinely found this interesting, especially when Bradshaw discussed the genes responsible for cat colouring and markings. I had no idea that blotched tabbies (like Joseph, but you can't see his blotches in the picture above), which are so common in the UK, are rare in other parts of the world. It's also interesting how some features, such as white paws, have survived because we like them, even though they are counter-productive to the cat's role as a hunter.

After the history, Bradshaw moved on to the science behind cat behaviour, which took up the bulk of the book. A lot of the information won't be new to anyone who has owned a cat or even observed one, but it was interesting to read about the studies that scientists have carried out. The section I most enjoyed dealt with the way cats think, their emotions and their personalities.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good with information. Found it good to understand.
Published 1 day ago by julie anne godwin
4.0 out of 5 stars Terribly terribly detailed - a slog to get through this ...
Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed:

Terribly terribly detailed - a slog to get through this very knowledgeable book.

Rita Craft, London
Published 2 days ago by RITA CRAFT
3.0 out of 5 stars good
Book arrived in good time and well packed daughter liked the book - she's a big cat fan and was really pleased with it
Published 1 month ago by K. A. PATTERSON
4.0 out of 5 stars Would probably be better as a book than on Kindle
Lots of interesting stuff about cats as you might expect, though there did seem to be a lot of repetition of the same facts in the earlier chapters. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Renée Kemp Hopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
I recommend this book to any cat behaviour lovers out there, he has some great points and the way it is written is so good I cant put it down, so very interesting! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kittykat
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for cat lovers.
This is a really informative and interesting book. It helped me understand why my cats do some of the strange things they do!
Published 2 months ago by Tim Youlden
4.0 out of 5 stars Cat Sense
I choose this rating instead of 5 because there is only a limited amount of knowledge known about cats, as J Bradshaw explains. Read more
Published 4 months ago by P. Sheahan
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive book on cats
The book is excellent. I work in cat welfare and found it contributed to my knowledge. I would recommend to anyone who is a cat lover or who works with cats.
Published 4 months ago by Mary Keenan
5.0 out of 5 stars book
this is a very good book and the things Cats get up to
It kept every one interested
over the Holidays
Published 4 months ago by Joanne Barry
4.0 out of 5 stars Met specification
Entertaining, informative,contained a lot of previously unknown (to me) knowledge. All round, a good read - particularly if you are a cat tragi.
Published 4 months ago by Mr. Brian A. Openshaw
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