One thing that makes cats such fascinating creatures is that even after milllions of years of evolution, our little hauspanthers are still only a whisker away from their wild ancestors. In The Cat’s Meow: How Cats Evolved from the Savannah to Your Sofa, evolutionary biologist and cat lover Jonathan B. Losos takes an in depth look at the evolution of the domesticated house cat and explores the science behind what this evolution means for the future of both cats and humans.
From the publisher:
Do lions and tigers meow? If not, why not? Why does my cat leave a dead mouse at my feet (or on my pillow)? Is a pet ocelot a bad idea? When and why did the cat make its real leap off the African plain? What’s with all those cats in Egyptian hieroglyphics? In a genial voice, casually deciphering complex science and history with many examples from his own research and multi-cat household, Losos explores how selection, both natural and artificial, over the last several millennia has shaped the contemporary cat, with new breeds vastly different in anatomy and behavior from their ancestral stock. Yet the cat, ever a predator, still seems only one paw out of the wild, and readily reverts to its feral ways as it occupies new lands around the world.
Featuring charming illustrations by David Tuss, this book is not a quick read. Every page is packed with fascinating information, and much of it is very science focused, but Losos does a great job explaining the science without dumbing it down. He also includes personal anecdotes of the cats who have shared his life, which brings levity to what is quite a dense read.
It took me a while to get through this book, and I was ready to throw in the towel a few times, but the information presented is just so captivating, I’m glad I hung in there and finished it.
The Cat’s Meow is available from Amazon.
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