While general readers should find this volume's colorful illustrations and handsome layout appealing, they may be put off by zoological and behavioral science jargon in its initial essays on cat evolution and adaptation. Readers who stick with the book will reach more accessible sections describing individual species and the efforts being made to rescue them from extinction. Thirty-eight contributing editors from around the world have written informative chapters about cat species, about the image of cats perpetuated in the art and culture of various civilizations, about cats' survival in zoos and in the wild, and about the outlook for preserving threatened species. Public and secondary school libraries will find this book a useful reference source as some of the chapters provide quick, accessible information about the appearance, habitat, and behavior of lions, pumas, bobcats, and other big cats. The essays make this volume a nice addition to circulating collections, as well.-- Laurie Tynan, Montgomery Cty.-Norristown P.L., Pa.
YA-- Don't dismiss this as simply another beautiful, well-photographed coffee table book; it has much to offer YAs. The first section discusses cats in relation to evolution and biology and includes a half page of facts on each species. The next part delves more deeply into a dozen of the best-known felines in both text and large pictures. The last third discusses the animal's role in society and relationship with humans. One interesting chapter involves the place of cats in art. Sidebars highlight related facts. The index is detailed and includes cross references. An up-to-date and comprehensive work, this covers a wide variety of topics from in vitro fertilization to folk medicine. --Gary Fillmore, Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
A lavish, global look at the biology, breeding habits, natural enemies, and other aspects of the behavior of all 37 species of living cats, including the common housecat, as well as the historic and present relationship between cats and people. The 200 color photographs and illustrations include an original painting of each species together with individual maps showing the most recent distribution of all the species. For a general audience of cat lovers and nature lovers. 93/4x121/2". Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)