The Tribe of Tiger
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The Tribe of Tiger

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  429 ratings  ·  41 reviews
From the plains of Africa to her very own backyard, noted author and anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas explores the world of cats, both large and small in this classic bestseller. Inspired by her own feline's instinct to hunt and supported by her studies abroad, Thomas examines the life actions, as well as the similarities and differences of these majestic creatures...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Gallery Books (first published 1994)
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Dewey by Vicki MyronThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. SeussOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. EliotAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis CarrollInto the Wild by Erin Hunter
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Dewey by Vicki MyronHomer's Odyssey by Gwen CooperOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. EliotInto the Wild by Erin HunterThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
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Community Reviews

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Fen
I'm not sure how to tag this one, since I haven't read it all... I finally decided it wasn't worth taking the time to try to finish it. The book started out pretty well, but it seems like the author couldn't quite make up her mind whether she wanted to write a scientifically based overview of the influence of evolution on the behavior of cats or just showcase her own anecdotal stories of cat behavior.

Obviously, the two could easily go hand in hand, but her "science" often ended up simply being r...more
Rachel
This book was not what I expected. I'd read The Hidden Life of Dogs but knew nothing else about the author. I expected a light, quick read, but this book is much more. The earlier parts about the history, anatomy, and types of cats didn't excite me, but I did learn a lot. And then, who knew? The author is a well-known anthropologist. She spent much of her youth in Africa, with at least one visit decades later. She was there in the 1950s, when people had not encroached much on the wilderness. She...more
Leah Wohl-Pollack
Dec 26, 2007 Leah Wohl-Pollack rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the relationship between wild cats and house cats.
Thomas does a great job of synthesizing her personal experiences as a field anthropologist and cat owner with historical information gathered from various obscure but nevertheless educational sources. I do feel I have a better sense of the culture of my own house cats and how they behave as extensions of their wild ancestors. Her recollections of her work in Africa with hunter-gatherer communities and her interactions with wild lions and tigers put me even more in awe of large wild cats. It sadd...more
Ellen
Dec 04, 2009 Ellen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cat lovers, nature lovers
Shelves: non-fiction
I read much of this book with my two pampered felines curled next to me, which is the best way to experience it (and many things in life), in my opinion. I loved the author's well-rendered anecdotes about the cats in her life, from housecats to pumas to lions. I would have liked to have heard more about domestic cats, but I did enjoy comparing my little lions to the much bigger ones Thomas described. The book was not purely scientific - Thomas made a lot of assumptions and guesses about why cats...more
Nicole
The begining section was very interesting and filled with awesome facts about cats, housecats, or wild cats. The middle section however, was very, very boring. I could care less about that tribe of people and most of it was about lions, and did not relate anything to housecats, which I was most interested in. The ending section slightly made up for it, but it was nothing compared to the first section.
Rebecca
I am getting used to this author's rambling writing style. She is very charming though and I love her mix of personal anecdotes, observations, and hard science weaved throughout her books. From lions, pumas, tigers, bobcats, to domestic cats, I certainly look at my own cats in a different light now. Especially now that I know why they bring me live baby birds and snakes! :-/
LibraryCin
3.75 stars

This book looks at cat behavior, including big and small cats. There is also an extensive section on lions and their culture. There are a lot of anecdotes included in the book.

I quite liked this. Found it interesting, and there were some very nice illustrations. One thing that bothered me was her referring to mates as “husbands” and “wives”, though.
Larrirosser
I love EMT's intense observations and passionate descriptions. Without anthropomophizing, she grants animals (cats, in this case)a wide range of emotions and motivations, and delicately portrays their personal (felinal?) lives.
Karen
Apr 30, 2013 Karen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karen by: Vestermarks
This book is about the culture of cats--big cats as well as house cats, wild cats as well as domesticated cats. The author, who is an anthropologist and has also written books about dog and deer behavior, has many fascinating stories to tell about the behavior of house cats, lions and tigers in the wild and captivity, and American pumas. The book meanders a bit--it doesn't progress toward a central argument so much as give many examples of cats teaching/learning culture from different types of c...more
Jeff
Thomas's book contains plenty of intriguing info for cat lovers. I am definitely a cat lover and i was satisfied with this relatively plain fare.

Her writing style almost surely won't wow anybody, though in the final section of this book (pp 228-234) she exhibits high quality work previously unimaginable and she provides some text worth stopping to admire. If you don't read anything else in this book, give the last 5 pages a gander. (To apply Robert Frost's poetry-as-tennis metaphor, maybe Thomas...more
George Ilsley
Interesting in places. Covers wild cats in Africa as well as house cats. Thomas does have some empathy blind spots. Her love for nature seems at times to start and stop with cats. When describing the hunting habits of her house cats, she mentions all the prey they bring into the house -- mice, voles, chipmunks, bats, birds, snakes (which are then discarded); however, there is no hint of concern for the wildlife which is being indiscriminately slaughtered by her pets. On the other hand, she is co...more
Awallens
From the plains of Africa to her very own backyard, noted author and anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas explores the world of cats, both large and
small in this classic bestseller. Inspired by her own feline's instinct to hunt and supported by her studies abroad, Thomas examines the life actions,
as well as the similarities and differences of these majestic creatures. Lions, tigers, pumas and housecats: Her observations shed light on their social
lives, thought processes, eating habits, and c...more
Pat
Elizabeth Thomas acute observations of felines of every size and stripe adds much to our knowledge of feline behavior. A must for any serious cat lover who wants to better understand how cats think.

Ms. Thomas received a great deal of criticism for this book from professional animal behaviorists since her lifetime of observations and interactions with cats large and small as an anthropologist were not credited as valuable.

However, as a vet tech and cat consultant I found her ideas corresponded...more
Danielle
Interesting observations on the wild cat populations. 2 and 1/2 stars would have been enough but went up to 3 instead of down to 2.
Kaethe
Yes, crazy cat lady does love to read about the cats, both big and small. Thomas writes well, and engagingly.
Michael
A mostly personal observation on the real nature of cats, big and small, from a woman with a marvelous insight into their idiosyncratic yet most logical natures. Beginning with her associations and experiences with African lions and continuing through observations of mountain lions and house cats, she relates the feline nature and historical association with man from a truly unique perspective.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and gained an insight to cats which I hadn't appreciated before.
Margaret
Jun 10, 2012 Margaret added it
Shelves: 2012
Interesting reading - there were some things I knew about cats but I learned a lot more. Liked reading her observations about wild cat behavior in the Bushman desert home in Africa. Also like how she related and compared wild cat behavior with domestic housecats - there are more similarities than you would think. The last chapters regarding zoo cats and circus cats were also informative.

I read this book in memory of my friend Holly Marie Hill - it was on her TBR list.
Anna
Aug 19, 2008 Anna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: nonfic
A look into the minds of cats, big and small--with an acknowledgement that cats are inherently too alien to ever fully understand. It opens with a story about the author's 7 pound cat stalking a full grown deer...his size making absolutely no difference in what the cat thought possible. Filled with anecdotal stories along with cat facts, this is a great read for folks who like cats and even folks who don't.
Maria Grazia
"La tribù della tigre" viene considerato un testo fondamentale da parte di chi studia l'etologia felina, e in effetti lo è, anche se, dal punto di vista della mia più che ventennale convivenza con una comunità di gatti non indifferente (oggi sono 16, ma sono stati anche di più), trovo non cindivisibili alcune osservazioni
Betsy
Couldn't finish this book. It was not what I was expecting. It seems to be more about big cats than housecats. Also writing is somewhat scattered; doesn't seem to follow a progression that made sense to me. And when she started talking about how and why lions in Africa declined, it got too depressing for me.
Mina
My roommate suggested I read this book after I got my cat Caspian. Although it was a facinating read it didn't quite go into a lot of depth concerning urban housecats. Still, a good overview of the nature of the species as a whole, not to mention some really beautiful descriptions of African lions.
Aspasia
Thomas is an anthropologist who used her field studies in Africa and at home to write this book about the culture of lions and housecats. The last third of the book is almost exclusively about pumas which I found fascinating.
Maija
This is actually my second time through. I first read this as a teenager and liked it. It is a very good look at cat behavior, both domestic and wild cats. The style is casual and there are lots of good anecdotes.
Emily Sours
Jul 23, 2008 Emily Sours rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: science
a few research studies scattered in the text, but mainly anecdotal stories about wild and domestic cats. check out the bibliography for more factual writing. also features sketchy scientific ideas written as truths.
Carr3ie
I started this book a few years back and never finished it. I'm not usually a nonfiction reader, but I thought I'd take some time to better understand the creatures who outnumber the humans in this household.
Miranda
This author is very talented at describing the emotional landscape of non-human animals. A pleasure read, for sure, but one that is worth a few hours of your time if you are a feline aficionado.
Beth
it took me a while to get into this as the author/narrator does not have a real inviting voice, but it was interesting and there were some fun "I can relate to that" cat stories.
Bibliomantic
Often informative, but at times the author takes such flights of fancy that one isn't quite sure what is grounded in science and what is pure imagination.
Hazel
A great read with many interesting stories. Great insight into the behavior and social aspects of many members of the cat family.
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Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is the author of The Harmless People, a non fiction work about the Kung Bushmen of southwestern Africa, and of Reindeer Moon, a novel about the paleolithic hunter gatherers of Siberia, both of which were tremendous international successes. She lives in New Hampshire.
More about Elizabeth Marshall Thomas...
The Hidden Life Of Dogs Reindeer Moon (Reindeer Moon, #1) The Social Lives of Dogs The Harmless People The Old Way: A Story of the First People

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