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Cats Are Not Peas: A Calico History of Genetics
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Cats Are Not Peas: A Calico History of Genetics

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  74 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
After she accidentally adopted a calico cat that turned out to be a male, Laura Gould was seized by curiosity. For there to be no male calicos at all would be understandable - it was their extreme rarity that was the puzzle. Gould, an expert in linguistics with no previous training in genetics, decided to learn how this could be. Her researches took her through the great d ...more
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published August 29th 1996 by Copernicus Books (first published August 1996)
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Aug 30, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
The author, Laura Gould, has a male calico cat named George. She knows this is rare because the color genes are sex-linked, so she sets out on her research into male calicos, including paying a lab to map George's karyotype. She provides a nice review of Mendelian genetics--perhaps we learned it in high school then promptly forgot it. But it is not just a study of cat genetics; the science is made more memorable and appealing by being part of the saga of her research and her life with George and ...more
Aug 27, 2013 Sandy rated it it was amazing
good book and easy to read
Mar 23, 2016 Tal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animal-books, other
George, a male calico, was a genetic anomaly, a manifestation of something that isn't supposed to happen, a creature so rare that even most veterinarians have never seen one. His curious existence sparked Laura Gould's long search through the archives of genetics to unearth the charming and valiant roles played by early cat geneticists, as well as cats themselves, in the study of genes and how they work. For everyone with an interest in cats and cat breeding, this is an unforgettable and often h ...more
Jan 09, 2017 Niffer rated it liked it
I had to keep reminding myself as I read this book that it was published in 1996 because as I was reading it I was constantly thinking, "Why is this a book? Why is this not a series of blog posts?"

This book is a curious mix of trying not to go too in depth into genetics (don't want to scare off the science folks), trying to discuss genetics enough so that the science folks will be satisfied, trying to tell funny stories about what the author's cats are doing, and trying to fill an entire book wi
Athena Bingham
Aug 05, 2013 Athena Bingham rated it it was ok
Much more basic book than I had been led to believe. I learned all the things this book taught me in high school. It is also weirdly organized, not charmingly arranged as some people seem to feel. There are some cute stories but this has added nothing to my understanding of cat genetics-and I am a layperson. I gave up halfway through because I was learning nothing new.

Side note: There is a long section (spanning multiple chapters) that is nigh on sycophantic over Mendel, while snidely but subtly
Laura Cushing
Aug 05, 2012 Laura Cushing rated it really liked it
A hard to find book! I had to order a copy on because it is apparently out of print, and Amazon wants a small fortune for theirs. There's also no copy at the library, which is a shame as it's a very interesting book.

I was curious about what made my cats the colors they are- one is a tortoiseshell female, and the other is a orange tabby male. This book takes the case of the author's cat George - a rare calico male - and follows the author's exploration of what genetics made him that way.
The author uses her caleco tom cat (an extremely rare animal) as a starting position for a study of the genetics of inheritance, its history and study.

I really liked the interspersion of everyday life snippets and cameos of her cat George. The day to day diary moments provide light entertainment and break up the serious science enough to counter the potentially dry subject to make a very readable book.

It is a good entry book for anyone interested in the subject, though she does get a bit tangled
Feb 20, 2013 Jonah rated it it was amazing
Genetics thrills me, for no really good reason. A lot of the books that I read about genetics are really sad because they are about families with genetic disorders . So reading Cats Are Not Peas: A Calico History of Genetics by Laura Gould was really nice. The author writes about cat genetics because she had a male calico cat. I will not spoil it for you by telling you how that happened.

This is also the only book I've read that really really talked about mosaic genotypes (not counting barr body
Sep 14, 2007 Angela rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes cats and also wants to learn about genetics
Shelves: science, cats
This is a book about genetics, from the point of view of a cat owner and her rare male calico cat. As the author unravels the mystery of her male calico, the reader learns about the history and science of genetics.

This book is perfect for anyone looking for a beginners approach to genetics and who also likes cats! It's out of print, but very entertaining and worth tracking down.
The whiplash between deep whimsy and in - depth science finally proved too much for me. The book's organization also fought against progression. Perhaps another time, but for now the will to continue reading this has left me.
May 12, 2012 Linn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: want-to-own, ian
I borrowed this book through our library's Interlibrary Loan system and it was worth the wait. A fantastic, entertaining jaunt through the genetics that make up feline coloration, it gave me new appreciation for our own long-haired calico and a greater fondness for all of the color.
May 22, 2009 Sarah rated it did not like it
This reads like a book adapted from blog postings, in that it's amateurly written, meandering and dull. Also, for someone who claims to be an outstanding researcher, she has a poor eye for detail (e.g., referencing Beverly Cleary's character Ramona Beasley?).
Jan 10, 2011 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Excellent review of the genetics and the history of the science coupled with the personality of the calico tom.
Myra rated it it was amazing
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