The Cats of Lamu

Overview

Four or five thousand years ago, African wild cats were domesticated by the Egyptians. Several hundred years and many cat generations later, the wild animal gradually evolved into the domestic cat as we now know it. Today's many varieties of house cats differ noticeably from their Egyptian ancestors, and the cats of present-day Cairo look the same as cats from everywhere else. But not far from Egypt is an island where a unique group of cats resembles those of the ancients. They are remarkable in their social ...

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1998-05-01 Paperback New NEW-IT IS BRAND NEW-clean text, tight binding, It is free from any foreign markings.

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Overview

Four or five thousand years ago, African wild cats were domesticated by the Egyptians. Several hundred years and many cat generations later, the wild animal gradually evolved into the domestic cat as we now know it. Today's many varieties of house cats differ noticeably from their Egyptian ancestors, and the cats of present-day Cairo look the same as cats from everywhere else. But not far from Egypt is an island where a unique group of cats resembles those of the ancients. They are remarkable in their social organizations and in their place within a human culture. On the Lamu archipelago, off the coast of Kenya, the cats of the pharaohs may still survive. The Cats of Lamu is a window into a timeless world where cats and people live together - independently and beneficially - in the land where their ancestors thrived. Jack Couffer studies his subjects as a naturalist, coming to know individual cats and the inner workings of their 'prides,' as he aptly calls their family groups. Following the cats around the beach as they wait for the fishing boats to come in, and snooping around backyard gardens to trail them on nightly excursions, Couffer gains rare insight into cat behavior - as well as a reputation among his neighbors as an eccentric. His enchanting book documents the lives and relationships of these special cats in gorgeous photographs and lively text. (9 X 9, 168 pages, color photos, b&w photos, map)

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A whimsical and surprisingly winning study of the cats indigenous to the Lamu Archipelago, a series of small islands off the coast of Kenya. Couffer (Bat Bomb: World War II's Secret Weapon, etc.) argues that, due to their likely long isolation on the islands, these distinctivc-looking cats may be the closest living representatives of the wild breed that the Egyptians first domesticated some 4,000 years ago. That isn't established here with any certainty, though it is true that the flocks of cats that haunt the beaches of the islands, waiting for the local fishing fleets to return, and that inhabit the islands mangrove swamps, do share with the cats represented in ancient Egypt a distinctive blend of long legs, a slim body, a long neck and a small head. Couffer, to the bafflement of Lamu's Muslim population, spent his days closely following the extended groups of cats (he calls them "prides") around, and he describes their intelligence and self-sufficiency with vigor and affection. His photographs capture with clarity and a sharp eye both the lives of these multicolored felines and the traditional rhythms and details of Lamu's human inhabitants. (100 color and b&w photos)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558216754
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.03 (w) x 9.07 (h) x 0.53 (d)

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