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Because the Cat Purrs: How We Relate to Other Species and Why it Matters
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Because the Cat Purrs: How We Relate to Other Species and Why it Matters

3.02  ·  Rating details ·  42 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
"A new book by Janet Lembke is always a cause for celebration."—Sue Hubbell We share our lives, for better or worse, with a multitude of animals, white-tailed deer and white-tailed eagles, hens and wrens, frogs and guppies, and, last but hardly least, bugs and bacteria. For the most part, we drift along separately, with neither man nor animal affecting the other's way of l ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 17th 2008 by Skyhorse Publishing (first published May 1st 2008)
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The subtitle of this book, "How We Relate to Other Species and Why It Matters," misled me. I anticipated a broad spectrum book about human-animal relations, perhaps discussing specific instances with particular animals but only as they relate back to the larger whole. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised by being completely off the mark. This is a charming tale of fourteen (and a few more) species that the author has related with during the course of her daily life. The book is laced with inter ...more
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, animals
When I pick up a book called Because the Cat Purrs which has an adorable, fuzzy blue-eyed kitten on the cover I expect a feel good account of animals and the humans who love them. When I read an encounter between a vehicle and a deer where the driver puts the unconscious animal in the back seat I assume she is seeking help, but let me quote from the book: "He came to with a great flailing of hooves... Fortunately---or unfortunately, depending on the point of view---she and her husband were able ...more
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
There's some interesting information in here, but the author is so irrepressibly cute about constructing sentences that it's a chore to tease it out. Here's a random paragraph:

"Two questions regarding chickens crop up persistently: Why did the chicken cross the road? And, which came first, the chicken or the egg? One reasonable answer to the second is: the dinosaur came first. And the dinosaur was, like the feathered versions produced by evolution, an egg-laying creature. As for the first questi
Nov 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2008
I saw this book at the library and the cute fuzzy kitty made me pick it up. I'm such a sucker for cute kitty things so the book designer totally got me on this one.

I thought the book would deal more with why our relationships to animals matter but it was an enjoyable book nonetheless. I learned a lot about the different animals and plants we are aware of in our everyday lives from cats, deer, birds, slugs and snails, bugs, mice, maple trees and intestinal beings. Being a vegetarian some of the
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, animals
An interesting premise, but I disagree with the execution. The author sprinkled in some interesting facts, but wandered from history to personal anecdotes to breeding habits without really bringing me along. She's a little too self-indulgent in her writing style -- at one point, discussing E. coli, she launched into a description of a pediatrician who studied it, and exclaimed: "...and his whiskers, oh, his whiskers!" I couldn't care less; get back to the E. coli, please.

Judgments on whether our
Jul 11, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is an interesting set of essays detailing the complexities of human-animal behavior and interactions. The subjects of the essays range from groundhogs, carpenter bees, white-tail deer, chickens, turtles, and, of course, the purring cats. The author's inclusion of writings from authors in ancient Greece and Rome (translated by herself) indicates her other passion, along with a gardening obsession. Some of the stories will stay with me for a while--the turtle who bumped her shell against ...more
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book; the only criticism I could find is that Ms Lembke seems to be very concerned with the Latin name and the family tree of each animal species. Just my opinion, but I wouldn't have needed that to complete the stories. It made the stories a little tedious in places. Other than that, it was a great book filled with her (and others') interactions with a wide variety of creatures.
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Science-types
Shelves: head-case
Pretty good book. This book about the relationships were share with other organisms (from turtles to beetles to bacteria) is set up with a chapter devoted to each relationship.

The author was able to open my eyes to the ways in which we interact with so many different organisms. Different perceptions were presented through anecdotal stories.

Easy reading that provides insight and an opportunity to learn something new.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
I learned that purring may increase bone density, ease pain, and promote healing in cats. Also, slugs are hermaphrodites (but they mate anyway, and rabbits eat their own poop.

I was dismayed at how often the author referred to killing of the animals she discussed, in some inhuman ways. Why was it necessary? And I did not enjoy the recipe for venison.
Suzanne Auckerman
Mar 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Author lives in or near Staunton. It is a good book, sort of backyard naturalist. I don't know that I agree with everything that she says, but it is a good read. I prefer Virginia Morrell's book on this subject.
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Janet Lembke (2 March 1933 - 3 September 2013), née Janet Nutt, was an American author, essayist, naturalist, translator and scholar. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio during the Great Depression, graduated in 1953 from Middlebury College, Vermont, with a degree in Classics, and her knowledge of the classical Greek and Latin worldview, from Homer to Virgil, informed her life and work. A Certified Vi ...more
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