Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Catwatching” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  549 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A cat book unlike any other: a fresh, fact-filled look at their affections, their aggressions, and their life cycles. Morris explains your cat's most curious habits. Companion volume to Dogwatching. Line art throughout.
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published January 3rd 1988 by Crown Pub (first published 1986)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,067)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
As a cat lover and owner, I have several books in my library devoted to either the care of these enigmatic animals, or to their history and distributions in the world. Desmond Morris is a noted anthropologist, who has penned this neat little book devoted to the life and behaviors of the domesticated cat. He has answered many questions which are common and some one may not have thought about.

For example:Why does a cat trample on your lap with its front paws?
Why does a cat wag its tail?
Why does
Sarah Sammis
It was a good introduction to cats but as a long time cat lover most of the facts in the book I already knew. I had hoped for something a little more academic or something that went into greater depth on the social interactions of those colonies of semi-feral cats. I know Morris has taken part in those studies but Catwatching doesn't touch on it (except briefly in the introduction). The illustrations though are wonderful.
An older book, lots of these facts I sort of knew - possbily from reading it when we got our first kitty in the early 1980s - but lots of things I'd forgotten or didn't know about at all - like that flipping play that cats do when they toss a toy in the air actually comes from their latent fishing abilities, or that American cats pluck their caught birds in a very different technique to those from the 'old world'. All fascinating, small chunks of cat knowledge from a man who spent a lot of time ...more
Street Sharks
Oct 25, 2011 Street Sharks is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
trying to get in these mother fuckers' heads YA HEARD?
Julie Rylie
I pretentiously started to read this book thinking I knew everything I needed to know about cats but of course I was wrong, and the curious stuff I could learn, are the following:

- Cats scratch on sofas/ carpets, chairs bla bla to strip off the old worn-out claw shealths to reveal the new claws beneath;

- If a cat rolls over on his belly for you he is saying "I trust you enough to adopt this vulnerable posture in your presence";

- Feces burying is the act of a subordinate cat, fearul of it's socia
Oops...forgot to rate this one I finished a week or so ago. So far not up to my usual reading pace. Too much dang life happening and not necessarily the good kind. So it was nice to read this short little book answering all the questions you've always had about cats and then some!! Turns out they are way smarter than dogs...we knew that, ahem, but also have suffered unnecessarily. Amazing facts even dog lovers should read! Recommend. But probably hard to find. BTW he also has a "Dogwatching" edi ...more
If you are a cat person, this is an enjoyable book to read. It helps you understand why your cat does what it does. Some of it seemed a bit speculative, but the speculations made sense. I skipped chapters on the bits of our cat's life that she never enjoyed because we had her spayed. But it's a quick read and divided into useful sections like a large FAQ.
Bookworm Amir
This book was great to learn more about the itsy-bitsy's of cat behaviour which, as a cat owning family, we thought we knew much but this book expanded our knowledge.

Everything from why does it purr, why do they come to our laps, what's with the playing and flipping of the ball, why can they seem to be 'cruel' when they've caught prey, and to their courtship and (crazy) mating acts, the history of their domestication and lots, lots more.

Just as we read books on people's body language, this is t
There's not much you can say about this book that the subtitle 'The Essential Guide to Cat Behaviour' doesn't tell you. It's a fascinating read for cat lovers. You may know some of the reasons behind some of your cat's behaviour. There's bound to be the answer to more than question you've had at the back of your mind for years though.

I flew through this in a couple of hours. It's a pretty short book with no flannel. Just explanations for why cats do what they do.

It's a pretty old book. So I'm un
One thing is for sure, I have never ever known this much about cats before.

This book has taught me so many things about cats and has corrected many of the things I had thought about cats before I read this book.
For instance, I had always thought cats purred when they were contented
but it turns out it's because it "Signals a friendly social mood."
Now I watch our cat in a whole different way.
Now I watch her and I always know what she is doing and why she is doing it.

It wasn't exactly a book you c
Judy Abbott
Çok rahat okunabilen ve evcil kedimizi yakinen tanımamızı sağlayan bir kitap. Yeni şeyler öğrendim kediler hakkında.

Oct 12, 2013 Inés rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Amantes de los gatos
Shelves: kindle
Libro que encantará a todos los amantes de los gatos.

En poco más de cien páginas, el zoólogo y etólogo Desmond Morris responde a las preguntas que siempre hemos podido hacernos sobre nuestras mascotas - ¿cuál es el significado del ronroneo?, ¿por qué tienen las pupilas en forma de raja?, ¿cómo afecta el celo a machos y hembras? - con un lenguaje que todos podemos entender, además de ilustrarnos con una magnífica introducción sobre el papel de nuestro querido amigo en la sociedad desde los albore
David Bonesteel
An interesting and concise explanation of many facets of cat behavior, organized into brief question and answer sections that make for easy reference and quick reading. Desmond Morris illuminates many fascinating aspects of feline hunting and mating behavior, as well as providing insights into their body language. The book may lack some scientific rigor in that Morris sometimes speculates on issues of cat motivation for which he has no experimental or statistical support (or at least none that h ...more
short and sweet, easy to read explanations to cat behaviour. only wish more behaviours were covered.
Me encantan los gatos. Y me gustó que este libro responda las preguntas sobre el comportamiento de ellos.
I learned some of the logic behind cats. This will theoretically help me get along with my cats better. Although I doubt it.
In Catwatching, Morris explains in a question and answer format why cats do the things they do. I think all cat enthusiasts should read it, it's a very interesting book. Although, on the segment of "Why do we speak of someone 'Having Kittens'?" Morris wonders why no other animal usage is used. Maybe at the time the book was written, it wasn't a popular phrase, but I knew of having kittens but it was rarely used. Instead 'having a cow' was more popular. It makes me curious how that one came about ...more
Well written, factually interesting, relevant to my knowledge needs!
Interesting tidbits about cat behavior. Nothing flooring. *shrug*
Desmond Morris is a zoologist who has worked with big cats, and he also admires domesticated cats, having watched them for hours on his boyhood farm. This book about housecats is written in Q&A format, which makes it easy to select the content that interests you. Why do cats bring their prey to humans? Is it really meant as a gift? Why do they want to come inside practically as soon as they go outside? Why do they purr? Each chapter has short, clearly written answers. Recommended for everyon ...more
A nice book for any cat lover. No matter how complete you may think your knowledge of cats to be, there are bound to be a few new facts here to intrigue you. It's also an easy-to-access reference for pretty much any cat lore that you might want to brush up on. But because it is organized with a simple question and answer format, it's not a book that you really want to settle down and enjoy - it's more a book to set next to the crapper, or put on your ereader to pass a few minutes on the bus.
Jim Berkin
A must for everyone owned by their cat, analyzing and explaining various forms of typical cat behavior. Of course, all of us who love cats know that each one of 'em have behaviors that no one can ever explain, such as my cat waking me at 3AM this morning with loud meows, just so she could show me that she wanted to go into the bathroom & jump in the dry tub and start purring. Explain THAT, Desmond Morris!
Angela J Maher
Aug 03, 2011 Angela J Maher rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cat owners
Shelves: cats, non-fiction
Not a big book, but a gem of a book filled with information you don't see elsewhere. Even I learned things from this book, despite having a zoology degree of my own, and having lived in close proximity to my cat for the last decade. This book will renew your appreciation of what wonderful creatures cats are, and you will probably find yourself watching them even more closely.
Oscar Torrado
Un libro bastante interesante para las personas que nunca han tenido un gato pero bastante básico para quienes hemos vivido toda una vida con estos animales como mascotas. Esta lleno de bastantes respuestas a las incógnitas sobre el "extraño" comportamiento de felinos explicados de una forma bastante clara y amena.
An easily read book on what makes a cat tick...or more accurately purr. It's a nice little reference book structured with questions and answers on almost any area of cat behavior. Now I know why my cats leave dead mice on the door step and why they make that weird chattering sound when they watch birds.
Yesim Tin
Özellikle kedi sahipleri fakat aslında herkes mutlaka okumalı
Alena Davis
Jun 04, 2008 Alena Davis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone intrigued by cats.
I love Desmond Morris; he has a really accessible style and he explains things really well. He did not fail me in this brilliant book, which explains many questions related to cat behavior.

I found it easy to read and hard to put down.. I read it in a couple of hours. :)
Clicerio Muñoz
Sencillo, pero interesante. Gran observador Desmond Morris. Los gatos, maravillosas criaturas incomprendidas por muchos de nosotros, y juzgadas injustamente. A fin de cuentas, parte de una naturaleza que sobrepasa nuestra pobre capacidad de entenderla, respetarla y protegerla.
Karen B
I read this when I was younger, after we had recently acquired a kitten! I still have the copy I read all those years ago and still go back to re-read parts. It's such a fascinating study of felines and reveals the reasons behind my cats sometimes strange behaviour!
Excellent read from the master of behavioral descriptions and hypotheses. My only complaint would be that it is too short, and isn't as rigorous as Morris' 'Naked Ape' was about human behavior (blame the q&a format). Still worthwhile
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 35 36 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats: A Journey into the Feline Heart
  • The Tribe of Tiger
  • The Best Cat Ever
  • The Company of Wolves
  • The Cat Who Cried for Help: Attitudes, Emotions, and the Psychology of Cats
  • The Cat Who'll Live Forever: The Final Adventures of Norton, the Perfect Cat, and His Imperfect Human
  • The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats
  • What Is My Cat Thinking?
  • The Cats' House
  • Kitty Cornered: How Frannie and Five Other Incorrigible Cats Seized Control of Our House and Made It Their Home
  • A Spring without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply
  • Cats for Dummies
  • A Snowflake in My Hand
  • Cat vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat
  • Wormwood Forest: A Natural History of Chernobyl
  • Cat Confidential: The Book Your Cat Would Want You to Read
  • National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Western Region (National Audubon Society Field Guide)
  • How to Be a (Bad) Birdwatcher
Desmond John Morris is most famous for his work as a zoologist and ethologist, but is also known as a surrealist artist and author.

More about Desmond Morris...
The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Study of the Urban Animal Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language The Naked Woman: A Study of the Female Body Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behaviour

Share This Book

“...of eighteen kittens reared in the company of rodents, only three became rodent-killers later on. The other fifteen could not be trained to kill later by seeing other cats killing. For them the rodents had become 'family' and were no longer 'prey'. Even the three killers would not attack rodents of the same species as the one with which they were reared.” 2 likes
More quotes…