Jul 21, 2014

The Life and Love of Cats

by Lewis Blackwell

This is a gorgeous book. A must-have for any cat lover. It is full of stunning photographs- larger than life-size- celebrating feline grace and mystery. The striking images are interspersed with quotes on cats, and a number of essays by the author on different aspects of cats and their relationship with humans. Very thoughtful and insightful. Blackwell muses on why we find cats so appealing and irresistible (quoting the number of google results for cat compared to dog to assert their greater popularity), even scrutinizing the many websites where people share photos of cats (and attribute human thoughts to their behaviors). He examines how cats and people have come together historically- sometimes merely tolerated but more often inspiring such passion as to be revered or heavily persecuted. Looks into some pervasive myths regarding cats' abilities and how they probably arose, the reasons why cats have not evolved such diverse shapes like dog breeds (why was the munchkin cat not mentioned?); the mixing of domestic cats and wildcats, the affect cats have on our moods, and much more. I was surprised to read about how cats' body parts have been used in folkloric medicine in historical times. I was dismayed to read about the Paris cat massacre of 1730. I came away with a short list of more titles on cats, and inspiration to search the internet to learn more about domestic/wild crosses. But most of all I kept returning to the book just to look at the pictures. I had never seen such a closeup of a cat's tongue before, showing the barbels that make it raspy. The many images of cats in front of or outside of windows, looking through, infused with contemplation, are lovely. Overall it was just delightful.
These are some of my favorite images from the book:
This cat's eyes are my absolute favorite color:
This cat looks like one that used to hang around an apartment I lived in for a brief time in southern California. It was very friendly and purred like mad whenever I held it. I asked around; none of the neighbors admitted to owning the cat. My roommate urged me to take the cat home on the plane with me! but I couldn't think how that was possible (I was moving back to my parents' house soon):
So elegant:
So strange and curious:
I love the smoky dark color and burnished gold eyes:
Beautiful. I borrowed this book from the public library.

Rating: 5/5      216 pages, 2012

more opinions:
The Secret Writer
Texas a Cat in Austin

2 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Oh my, that does look beautiful!

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

What gorgeous pictures!