Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Pets
  3. Cats

Cats finally make sense

See also

Finally! A book that discusses cats in all their reality.

Non-fiction books about cats as cats are rare. Books investing cats with all the imagination and mysticism of their writers (and readers) are far more common. Readers are reminded, again and again, that cats were worshiped in Ancient Egypt, forgetting (or ignoring) that cat worship was apparently accompanied by the equivalent of kitty mills.

John Bradshaw of Cat Sense doesn't forget. He has as much besotted admiration for cats as any devoted cat owner. However, his admiration (and faint anthropomorphizing) is accompanied by solid research and an acknowledgment of cats as animals, not mini-people.

The most astonishing aspect of Cat Sense is how little research cats have evoked over the years. So many respectful cat owners: surely, they have performed interviews, hired investigators, utilized GPS tracking, and analyzed eating behavior (speaking as one of the obsessed, Nita Heerk can give you a fairly accurate run-down of her cats' potty habits)! Where has all this research gone? Why isn't there more?

Bradshaw reminds readers that cats have lived nearly parallel existences to humans until just recently (i.e., the twentieth and twenty-first centuries). Dogs have interacted directly with humans for much longer; consequently, dogs have not only evolved to "read" human behavior, humans have expended much time and energy trying to understand dogs.

Cats will have their day! Bradshaw, a professor at the University of Bristol, has performed observational research on cats with his students. For Cat Sense, he also tracked down reputable research. Such research is sparse and rarely includes large sample sizes. Even with these limitations, the information reveals fascinating insight into cat perception, behavior, training, and grooming, specifically allogrooming.

Nita Heerk, for instance, was pleased to learn that allogrooming--one cat licking another--can be a sign both of affection and domination. Her younger cat Bob often demonstrates allogrooming with her older cat, Aurora. Aurora tolerates, even seems to enjoy the grooming until she decides, "Enough is enough!" and delivers a swat.

Bradshaw's book is well worth a read. It is slow in parts, and some chapters may interest certain readers more than others: Do you like genetic histories? Do you prefer discussions of indoor versus outdoor lifestyles? Are you worried about the future of cats as pets? Do you want to know what your cats think of you? Bradshaw gives you all this and more.

Cat Sense is available at Portland Public Library and through MaineCat.

Portland Public Library

5 Monument Square

Portland, Maine 04101




  • Dead babies found
    Seven dead babies were found in Utah resident Megan Huntsman's old home
    Shocking Discovery
  • Kendall Jenner
    Get the Coachella looks: Kendall Jenner’s nose ring, green hair and edgy nails
    Coachella Look
  • Dog's Easter basket
    How to fill your dog’s Easter basket with the perfect toys
    Easter Basket
  • Rabbit owners
    Bringing home the bunny: Important information for rabbit owners
    7 Photos
  • Haunted island
    The world’s most haunted island may soon be the most haunted luxury resort
    Haunted Resort
  • Sunken ferry
    Search continues for missing passengers after a ferry sinks off the South Korean coast
    Sunken Ferry

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!