Review: Cat Sense

Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your PetCat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This ARC was generously donated by Basic Books Group.

Cat Sense is an all-encompassing book about the domestic cat. The first few chapters describe the history of cats and their domestication. John Bradshaw then discusses some of his research with the modern, domesticated cat. The final chapters discusses how cats are seen in contemporary society and some of his concerns about how cats are treated (i.e., spaying and neutering cats).

Let's discuss each of these sections in turn. I really enjoyed the chapters on the history of cats. It is something that is rarely discussed in history textbooks, and I found it quite interesting. The chapters on the authors experiments and observations of cats were intriguing; however, I wish he had provided more detail on the experiments themselves. It was frustrating not to have a full picture of the experimental procedures. I am a researchers by trade, so this concern may not be a problem for others. The last few chapters, especially the final chapter were intriguing to read, because he focused his discussion on some controversial ideas. Primarily, he discussed how he dislikes spaying and neutering, because it prevents certain genes from becoming dominant in the cat populations. Specifically, he notes that well-adjusted cats that like to be around humans get spayed and neutered by angry, feral cats that never get trapped (for TNR programs) continue to procreate. His ideas are definitely intriguing.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. I learned a lot about cats that I would not have learned elsewhere. The book is a bit dense at times, so I recommend reading it in doses. It also doesn't hurt that the book is not too long (< 400 pages). One concern I have about this book is that the author did not report all of his references. He stated that he only put some of the references in the notes section at the end of the book. I find this problematic, because the reader cannot go and check his sources. I understand that the everyday reader may not want all the references, but I think the reader should be able to fact check if interested. Hopefully, the author will list the references online at some point.

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