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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Karen L Campbell, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVD (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine)
Description: This is a comprehensive study of the domestic cat, focusing on the areas of feline biology, behavior, health and disease, and nutrition.
Purpose: As the number of cats as pets increases, the interest in this species warrants publication of books dedicated to them. While a single book cannot provide a truly comprehensive study of even the four major topical areas this work focuses on, it does provide an excellent introduction to these subjects.
Audience: The author states that the book is written for readers pursuing or engaged in professions involving cats and also for college students studying the physiology, care, behavior, and nutrition of companion animals. This book excels in the areas in which the author has the most expertise: behavior and nutrition. The book will be of greatest interest to readers seeking to learn more about the history of cats and their behavior.
Features: This book includes a detailed history of the origins and domestication of cats followed by the development of different breeds of cats. Additional chapters are devoted to reproduction, breeding management, and genetics. There is a short chapter on the cat's perception of the world and another on the human-cat relationship. One of the strongest features of this book are four chapters devoted to feline behavior — these chapters include normal behavior and social interactions and also behavior problems and how to approach training of a cat. There are excellent illustrations of feline "body language." The third major subject area in the book is titled health and disease. The six chapters in this section provide superficial overviews of the topics. This is an appropriate level for an introductory course, but it was disappointing to see some inaccurate information (e.g., not all rabies vaccines are intramuscular). The final section of the book includes four chapters on nutrition and nutrition-related disorders. These are again written at a very basic practical level, which is appropriate for an entry level textbook.
Assessment: This is an interesting, well written introductory level book. It will also be of interest to those who want to learn more about the history of the domestication of cats.