Allison's Book Bag

Current Read #45: Two Books about Cats

Posted on: July 26, 2017

How does the cat mind work? And how does a cat owner best engage their feline friend? Two books that I recently read tackle those questions. Thomas McNamee explores the secrets of cats in The Inner Life of Cats and Laura Moss proposes a unique way to help cats live to the fullest in Adventure Cats.

She loved us anyway. What choice did she have? Who else was she going to love? Augusta had love inborn. She had to do something with it.–Inner Lives of Cats

The kitten licked snow from her toes and cried for her mom but no answer came. Instead on a cold wintery morning in Montana, she was rescued by McNamee and his wife. After the kitten was given her full of milk and tuna, her first order of business according to McNamee was to make a mental map of her home. The Inner Lives of Cats weaves science with narrative, as McNamee tells of adopting a black kitten named Augusta and uses research to deepen his understanding of what makes her tick.

McNamee’s search for solid information on cats leads him down many paths and the knowledge he imparts to is eclectic. For example, he shares that cats map their territory through scent and hearing, while also explaining that cats can’t focus very well on close objects even though they see in the dark. In addition, McNamee covers the origins of cats, how they different from dogs in their emotional needs, ways they entertain us, their varied interactions with their humans, and much more

These meticulous details would run the risk of boring the most avid cat lover, except for their being adeptly integrated into a heart-warming tale of how one cat changed one couple. Augusta wiggled her way into the hearts of their local barn cats. She respected the unspoken boundaries between her and their horses. She avoided becoming prey to local predators such as coyote and bear. And she brought happiness and love to her owners, the depths of which remained unrealized until age and sickness took her. The Inner Life of Cats is a fascinating and beautiful tribute to our feline companions.

Basically, I wanted to train her to be a dog. I’ve always been a dog person, but when I moved in with my husband, I had to leave my dog with my mom. It’s a void that I’ve been desperate to fill since.–Adventure Cats

Georgia resident Emily Grant was “a bit of a self-professed cat hater”. But after discovering a five-week-old kitten and her three tiny siblings, Emily knew she simply couldn’t leave them. Although she intended to simply find them homes, by the time the Eevee was three months old, Emily was so attached that she decided to keep Eevee if she’d would take to a harness and leash. Not only was Eevee was comfortable walking on a leash, but the two of them were soon embarking on outdoor adventures. Soon Emily loved seeing Eevee’s “curiosity in action,” and she wanted to take Eevee everywhere and show her everything.

The above story is one Laura Moss’s favorites about adventure cats. What are adventure cats? They’re cats that like to join their owners on paddles, climbs, hikes, or simply strolls around the neighborhood. Moss wrote Adventure Cats to serve as resource for people looking for safe ways to explore the great outdoors with their feline friends and to challenge negative stereotypes about cats with the hope of increasing shelter cat adoptions.

In this comprehensive and colorful guide to helping cat live “their nine lives to the fullest,” Moss covers everything anyone might want to know about how to raise an adventure cat. The introductory chapters cover the feline training and safety measures needed before one embarks on outdoor trips, the middle chapters provide tips for traveling in such locations such as the backwoods, the high seas, and the snowy landscapes, and the concluding chapters detail how one can provide a more enriched life to even the most home-bound cat a more enriched life or cats with special needs. Every section contains illustrative stories. When I finished this book, I had a to-buy list in hand.

The authors of each clearly know and love their subject. Their books will expand your perspective on cats. Inner Life of Cats and Adventure Cats are both welcome additions to my growing collection of cat books.

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