Jan 20, 2010

The Character of Cats

The Origins, Intelligence, Behavior and Stratagems of Felis silvestris catus
by Stephen Budiansky

I thought I knew quite a bit about cats, until I read this book. The Character of Cats turns a lot of my assumptions about our feline friends right on their heads. Things such as: did the Egyptians really worship cats? did ancient man domesticate the cat, or did cats domesticate themselves? how have cats retained so much of their wild behavior and instincts? are cats really solitary creatures? can you teach a cat to do anything? just how smart are they?

Cats are fascinating animals, but I never realized just how much of an anomaly they are in the animal kingdom until I read this book. It discusses many things about cats; from their evolution, genetics and behavior to how they learn and perceive the world and what exactly many of our long-held assumptions about them are based on. It made me question many of my preconceptions about cats, and in a way that made perfectly logical sense. Wonder why your cat acts the way he does, what makes him tick? This book is a must read!

I borrowed this book from the public library.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 227 pages, 2002

More opinions at: The Stay at Home Bookworm

11 comments:

Chelsea said...

I will say that I'm not a cat person (they just always seem to be less fun to play with than dogs!) but the Character of Cats does kind of make me want to read about them! Who knows, maybe my dislike is just a lack of understanding!

bermudaonion said...

Sounds fascinating! I wonder if there's a book like this on dogs.

Jeane said...

He does! It's called The Truth About Dogs and it's on my bedside table. I'm reading it next!

Sandy Nawrot said...

You could run a full-swing case study at my house, with our five freaky felines. I think my daughter and I would both benefit from and enjoy this one, considering that we are slaves to them at this point in time.

Diane said...

Sounds like a book that would fascinate any cat lover!

TheBlackSheep said...

I need to read this. I'm thinking about getting two new cats to add to my one, old, slightly odd, slightly cranky kitty in the hopes that she'll either become slightly less odd and/or slightly less cranky or just appreciate what she has more. Might be the wrong way of thinking though.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Eva said...

That book sounds so interesting!

Jeane said...

Sandy- five cats, wow. I don't think I could handle that many.

BlackSheep- it all depends on the cat. I've had three (two currently) My grey Asher cat was always aggressive to other cats. My black Irwin cat doesn't like new cats, but gets used to them eventually and tolerates. My little grey kitty Numa is at first wary but then thinks every kitty is her friend and playmate!

Stefanie said...

I love cats and have two. They are so fun to watch. I saw a show on PBS once about cats and it was fascinating. I'll have to check this book out sometime!

Charlene Martel said...

I so need to check out this book. I shall have to go look for it on Friday while out shopping. It looks fantastic and I can never get enough books on cats. I have been reading one called The Cat Whisperer which is pretty decent.
Thanks for the tip on this one Jeane!
Char (tireless servant to 9 cats..lol)

Carol said...

I'm not a cat person, but this does sound fascinating. I may have to pick up The Truth About Dogs instead, though.