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Our favourite non-fiction books about cats

04th April 2020

  •   Books films and shows
Our favourite non-fiction books about cats

It will come as no surprise that at International Cat Care, we’re crazy about cats. Not only do we fill our working day with them, we like to read about them and watch their exploits on TV and in films in our spare time.

We’ve been compiling a list of our favourites, but as you can probably imagine, it’s a long one. We’ve decided to split it into a few parts, the first of which is a collection of non-fiction books.

If you’re spending longer than usual with your cat at the moment, you might have been puzzled by some of their exploits and behaviour. We’ve recommended some great books below that will help you to better understand them and their wants and needs, some of which were even penned by iCatCare staff!

‘The Trainable Cat’ – Sarah Ellis and John Bradshaw

Dr Sarah Ellis is a feline behaviour specialist and the head of Cat Advocacy here at iCatCare. She holds a PhD in the area of domestic cat welfare and her professional work has mainly concentrated on improving the lives of pet cats. She co-wrote this guide to how we can help cats negotiate the challenges of everyday life with cat expert John Bradshaw

There are a huge range of scenarios that cats can find stressful in day to day living, and this book gives you the guidance to help your cat negotiate everything from introducing new babies and toddlers and settling into a new home to answering to its name and enjoying life alongside humans. The practical applications are huge and helping them to prevent, reduce and eliminate stress-induced behaviours through the methods in this book will hugely benefit their welfare.

‘Cat Confidential’ and ‘The Bluffer’s Guide to Cats’ – Vicky Halls

Vicky Halls is part of our Cat Advocacy team and is the project manager for our Cat Friendly Homing programme. As a Cat Behaviour Counsellor with many years of experience treating problem behaviour in cats in the UK and abroad, her advice is expert and she writes in a way that makes even the complexities of cats easy to understand.

Cat Confidential really is the book your cat would want you to read. It’s a guide to help owners avoid misunderstanding their cats, and in turn, being misunderstood themselves. It explains why behaviours such as soiling the house, picking fights with other cats or destroying furniture occur, and helps you to identify signals from your cat correctly.

The Bluffer’s Guide to Cats is a humorous, but insightful, compendium of information about cats. It’s so wide-reaching that it’s difficult to summarise, but includes everything from their early contact with humans and the reasons they were worshipped by the Egyptians, to ‘catanatomy’ and everything in between. It’s guaranteed to have the two-fold benefits of making you laugh and helping you to sound like an expert on all things cat.

‘The Cat Personality Test’ – Lauren Finka

Just as every person is different, so too is every cat.

Through a series of personality quizzes, you can learn about your cat’s character and whether they’re a Human’s Cat, a Hunter Cat, a Happy Cat, a Cat’s Cat, or something in between. The list of questions will make you consider some aspects of your cat you may not previously have noticed. When you’ve discovered your cat’s personality, there is lots of practical advice for how to meet their specific wants and needs.

‘Cat Sense’ – John Bradshaw

Although cats have reached the position of the most popular pet in the world, even outnumbering dogs, they face a host of different challenges. From being misunderstood and anthropomorphised by their owners, branded a menace to wildlife by conservationists and competing for territory with other cats living in close proximity to them.

John Bradshaw, the director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol, traces their history, good and bad, back through the eight thousand years that cats and humans have lived together. Amazingly, despite this long history, cats have remained remarkably similar to their wild ancestors, far more so than dogs. This can often clash with modern expectations and John Bradshaw dispels common myths and gives some insightful advice as to how we can better understand them in order to improve the lives of cats and those living alongside them.

‘On Cats’ – Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing needs no introduction, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, her work remains popular the world over. Her love of cats began on the African farm where she grew up and continued throughout her life.

Although a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, we’ve included it here because her stories are informed by her long experience of living alongside cats and all her work offers an insight into why cats matter. It’s a wonderful collection of recollections from an expert writer.

‘The Cat: A Natural History’ – Sarah Brown

This book is a bit like a handbook for your cat, is as much as it offers a beautifully illustrated guide to just about everything you’d want to know, from how they communicate, their body functions and the role that their features play, the genetics of coat types, their history and a directory of breeds. There’s a huge amount to be taken from this book, and the large collection of photographs and infographics make it a pleasure to flick through.

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