Why do cats do what they do? Even the most experienced cat owner must sometimes wonder. For answers, check out one of the newest additions to the cat-egory of cat books, John Bradshaw’s Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet.
Described by Amazon as a “must-read for any cat lover” Cat Sense is a comprehensive history of the cat, infused with Bradshaw’s insights based his scientific and behavioral research about the domestic cat. Fascinated by cats since childhood, Bradshaw’s goal is to expand the understanding of our feline companions and improve the quality of human-cat relationships.
Here are some interview highlights from the author’s interview on NPR’s Fresh Air program:
On cats’ social behavior:
“I think cats are much less demonstrative animals than dogs are. It’s kind of not their fault; they evolved from a solitary animal that has never had the need for a sophisticated social repertoire in the way that the dog — having evolved from the wolf — had that ready-made. So their faces are just not terribly expressive, and some people read into that, that they’re kind of cynical and aloof and those sorts of things. But I don’t believe that for a moment. I think cats show, by their behavior, even if it’s a bit more subtle than a dog’s, that they really are fond of their owners.”
On the purpose of purring:
“The purr is popularly thought of as … indicating comfort and contentment. And it can be that, but signals like the purr — because it is a signal, it’s giving out a message and it’s trying to get you to do something. They don’t evolve just to convey emotions, not in the animal world, anyway. What we think cats are doing here is just trying to reassure their person — or [another] cat — who is hearing the purr that they are no threat, and ideally they’d like them to stand still and help them do something. So it starts off with kittens purring to get their mother to lie still while they’re suckling, and it goes on into adulthood. … It’s a signal to the animals, [and] the people around them to pay attention and try to help them.”
For more excerpts, please visit NPR’s website.Tags: book on cats, cat behavior, cat book, cat purring, john bradshaw, purring kittens, why cats purr