Our relationship is less about ownership than aiding and abetting.here 's the one-sentence summary of th nove: cats own us.that 's basically what you will take away from a ook, but you hould read it reall, because it is a highly entertaining study that combines science, history, and cultural analysis to examine how cats managed to insinuate themselves into our homes ( and our HEARTS!) and why we let them stay there, in what is pretty much a one-sided relationship in which they tolerate us ( on th ood day), while contributing nothing but their cuteness.
What is their secret? in th memoi, she explores our relationship with this enigmatic and beloved beastie through the entirety of our overlapping existences, and eminds us of what we all already know, but do not speak about: that cats are highly adaptive opportunistic hypercarnivores who have done little for us in practical terms since introducing our species to meat in the wayback, when carnivorous kangaroos and " jumbo otters " roamed the earth, when our scavenging ancestors came upon the picked-over remains of the kills of giant cats and said- " hmmm- this looks tasty! " of course, these same giant cats were also using us as a source of delicious meat, dragging us into caves, devouring us in trees, caching our eviscerated corpses in their lairs, so it 's a fairly tainted legacy.
she traces the history of the domesticated cat back to the lybica, a middle eastern wild cat which all the world 's 600 million housecats call great-grandaddy: she talks about the cat 's dispersement throughout the world, as people brought them to continents without indigenous cat species- on ships, for their reputation as rat-catchers, by christian missionaries hoping to charm the natives with these little wide-eyed cuties, pampered and toted around in bags by victorian fancy-people, and the effect this cat-diaspora had on environments unprepared for a creature requiring massive quantities of meat relative to their size to live; three times as much protein as dogs.
she claims that their …raw cuteness combined with innate boldness, helps explain how the cat got a paw in the door when so many other species stayed out in the cold, as she iscusses their similarity in appearance to human babies, unlike most other domesticated animals, which is what got them into our homes, and the additional element of manipulation cats employed: …through a combination of evolved behavior and natural good looks, house cats exerted a kind of subtle control over us.
house cats have learned this about us, and have adapted accordingly: …not only do pet cats meow more often- and more sweetly- than feral and wild cats, but within a given household, a cat devises a unique language of meows to instruct its owner.and- damn- we are so easily manipulated: With our hypercommunicative hardwiring, humans are prime targets for such exploitation., so …within our earshot, many cats apparently rejigger their purposeless purr to include a barely audible, very annoying, and insistent signal, a cry- usually for food- that resembles a baby 's wail, and studies show that cats may have modulated their vocalizations over time to mimic the cry more precisely.clever beasties….
dogs also depend almost entirely on garbage, which cats, while certainly enjoying a nice, easy meal of trash, can also do without, going off the grid and subsisting on their own kills.cats adapt easily to the urban wild, and if we all up and died, they 'd just shrug it off and delicately step over our remains on their pat to th new adventure.making armies of cats along the way.because they are damn good at breeding: By one calculation, a pair of cats could produce 354,294 descendants in five week, if all survived.
In real life, five cats introduced to forbidding Marion Island ( permanently snow-capped and actively volcanic, it 's always a feline paradise) bore more than 2,000 surviving descendants within 25 years.this combination of breeding and hunting has become a real problem to conservationists in certain parts of he world, most notably australia, which is home to 3 million pet cats and 18 million feral cats.
i did n't think so.my anti-bird stance is well-documented, so i 'm applauding all the little kitties doing what nature enabled them to do: In 2013, federal scientists released a report suggesting that America 's cats- both pets and strays- kill some 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds per year, making them the leading human-related cause of avian deaths.that 's more like cat-related causes, if you sk me, but i suppose humans are culpable for enabling the little monsters.but how can you fault an animal for cleverness? On the island of Kauai, the Newell 's shearwater has a mothlike relationship with city lights and.
Good Samaritans are encouraged to collect birds and deliver them to aid stations, but cats have learned to wait beneath the lights.sounds to me like those birdies need to adapt better.
so tasty looking! also at risk is the key largo wood rat which conservationists in florida tried to steer away from extinction, making cute cozy little sanctuaries for them where they could happily ( and slowly) breed, and hen releasing the fattened-up population back into the wild, straight into the teet of cats.hypercarnivores gon na hypercarnivate.there 's so much ground covered in the novel, and it 's all entertaining as hell, eve the chapter on the history of cat shows and breeding, which started with the victorians and their pet pageants: The nineteenth-century British sought to impose order on the whole world, and thi new discipline of natural history embodied this ideal- men subduing the chaos of nature through science, even as they simultaneously hunted down the most disruptive beasts in the wild.
The Victorians dearly loved to rank and classify domestic animals, from puppies to pigeons, just as they liked to rank and classify all living things.but cats proved to be problematic creatures to classify, and thi results of their " nocturnal and rambling habits " ( i.e.
perhap better: Amid so many desperate attempts to draw distinctions among ordinary house cats, perhaps it 's no surprise that one early cat show was won by a ring-tailed lemur, a small primate that was much closer in kin to a cat show 's human judge than to its meowing contestants.and why did no one tell me that people were now breeding werewolf cats?? i will need one of thes, pronto.and what book about cats would be incomplet without a chapter evoted to internet cats, entitled Nine Likes, in which one encounters this regrettable pun: Instead of mice, they survive on mouse clicks.because the internet is nothing but porn and cats at this point.When Sir Tim Berners-Lee, often called " the ather of the Internet, " was asked recently what aspect of modern web usage most surprised him, he eplied: " Kittens. " and no one appreciates this feline takeover more than me!