Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed by John Bradshaw; The Big New Yorker Book of Cats by Anthony Lane (foreword) - review by Sam Leith

Sam Leith

Pussies Galore

Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed

By

Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 306pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Big New Yorker Book of Cats

By

William Heinemann 329pp £30 order from our bookshop
 

Feline enigma? You betcha. Every cat owner is kept guessing. Why does she insist on drinking from the water glass by my bed rather than her own bowl? How does she know to disappear when she’s due a visit to the vet? Did that fun-size bit of offal on my pillow belong to a mouse or a shrew? Where’s that smell of pee coming from? If John Bradshaw’s new book doesn’t entirely penetrate the feline mystery – it has nothing to say on the last two matters, for instance – it does at least shine a beam of light on the question of what is going on in those furry little heads. Not all that much is often the answer. 

Cat Sense is an amiable and interesting round-up of the history and science of the domestic moggy, from its first appearance in prehistory to the latest behavioural and genetic discoveries. Wild cats first slunk into the human story around 10,000 BC, when man started to harvest and store grain. The

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