Book Review: How Do Cats Do That?

How Do Cats Do That?:  Discover How Cats Do The Amazing Things They Do, by Peter Scottsdale

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Books Go Social/Net Gallery.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

While I do not consider myself a cat person, or indeed a pet person of any kind so far in my life, I do at least have some curiosity about cats and the way that they are viewed [1].  This book, it should be noted, does not answer all of one’s questions at cats, as it is only 50 pages long and most of those pages are mostly empty, but while some of us have questions about the process of domestication as well as the limits of adaptation that cats have that this book does not in any way answer, this book does at least provide just-so stories for the kinds of questions that many people would have about cats.  Perhaps most touchingly, the author offers the opinion that cats do not look down upon humans as they are reputed to do but rather consider human beings to be in a role similar to that of a mother.  By and large I found the writing to be infused with a genuine love for cats, and even if I’m not a cat person that counts for a good deal.

In terms of its contents, this book offers very direct and straightforward answers to a series of questions that involve cats and why and how they do what they do.  The author answers a variety of questions, each with the question marked at the top and ending with a statement like “And that’s how cats ______.”  This pattern is kept up through out the entire book, giving it a sense of consistency.  The following questions were answered:  How do cats communicate?  How do cats purr?  How do cats show love?  How do cats jump so high?  How do cats’ tails work?  How do cats use their whiskers?  How do cats’ nails get so sharp?  How do cats wash themselves?  How do cats see?  How do cats identify their owners?  How do cats view their owners?  How do cats play?  How do cats adapt?  How do cats fight?  How do cats protect themselves?  How do cats hunt?  How do cats pee?  How do cats spray?  How do cats mate?  How do cats give birth?  How do cats age?  How do cats keep warm?  How do cats cool down?  How do cats sleep?  How do cats drink water?  How do cats eat?  How do cats react to catnip?  How do cats land on their feet?  How do cats find their way home?  How do cats show pain?  How do cats get worms?  How do cats get ringworm?  How do cats get fleas and ticks?  How do cats get ear mites?  The book ends with a thanks to the reader.

While this is certainly an enjoyable book to read, it is not a perfect book.  For one, the book is hung up on questions of how, but not much detail is provided in most cases.  Many of the questions are answered with a short paragraph and there is a definite shortage of drawings or illustrations or detailed explanations of, for example, the bone and muscular structure that was created in cats that allow them to jump so high.  Likewise, it would appear that the author’s methodological naturalism, which is not something that I particularly enjoy seeing in books, prevents him from asking questions of why.  Purpose questions are far more thought-provoking and deep than mere questions on mechanism, particularly when those questions are not answered with more than a brief note in many cases.  Yet there is still much in this book to enjoy and appreciate despite its limitations and the shortcomings of its approach to questions of adaptation and development, and it is obvious in reading this book that the author has a great love for cats, something that is useful when writing a book about them, or reading a book about them, for that matter.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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1 Response to Book Review: How Do Cats Do That?

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Mark Twain For Cat Lovers | Edge Induced Cohesion

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