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Catwatching: The Essential Guide To Cat Behaviour
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Catwatching: The Essential Guide To Cat Behaviour

(Petwatching)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  889 ratings  ·  82 reviews
The personality of the cat is a fascinating mixture of affection, domesticity and active independence. You may think you know your cat as he purrs in your lap, but come across your pet in the street on a dark night and you might think that Bagpuss suffers from a dual personality.

Every single feline pet carries an inheritance of amazing sensory capacities, vocal utterances,
...more
Paperback, 105 pages
Published February 7th 2002 by Ebury Press (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  889 ratings  ·  82 reviews


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Barbara
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, non-fiction
As a cat lover and owner, I have several books in my library devoted to either the care of these enigmatic animals, 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 a c
...more
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.
Dustin Reade
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i am not joking when i tell you this was one of the most interesting, fun, and compulsively readable books i have ever purchased on a whim from Goodwill.
packed with information, observations, and strange little asides, i completely devoured this book. no joke. dead serious. i know you probably think this is one of those fake reviews people do like where they go on Amazon and claim a gallon of milk saved their marriage, but no. i am totally serious. this book was weirdly awesome.
Bibliovoracious
Nov 06, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After dipping in a couple of times my eyes were tired from rolling - SO anachronistic (scientists cannot allow possibility of animals experiencing feelings or reason), dripping in condescension (for cats and the reader), and far too smugly self-amused (bad jokes).

However, I read the whole thing, and while all of the above is also true, I did learn a couple of things (Hairless Sphynx cats are from CANADA? wtf?! What kind of maladapted accident is THAT?), and there were a few cat funnies too that
...more
Jack Oughton
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A short and surprisingly entertaining read.

Though I do not have a cat, I now know things about cats that I never once knew that I would know :3

 havucumuyedim
Kedilerden nefret ederim ben köpek severim kediler nankör pislikler kediler şöyle kediler böyle diyenler şu kitabı okusalar eminim ki ellerine alıp bu zirzopları sevmeseler bile dünyanın en asil en akıllı hayvanı olan kediye saygı duruşunda bulunurlar. Ama işte ne yazık ki ön yargı ve kalıplaşmış fikirler her konuda olduğu gibi bunda da insana hiç tatmadığı güzellikleri kaybettiriyor. Muazzam güzel bilgilerin insanı okurken gülümsettiği, hayranlık uyandırdığı nefis bir mini ansiklopedi kitap ade ...more
Pınar Aydoğdu
Kedilerinizin anlam veremediğiniz davranışlarını açıklığa kavuşturmak ve kedi aleminin mucizelerini öğrenmek için bu kitabı mutlaka okumalısınız.
Iván Ferreira
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-science
Entretenido libro que resuelve muchas dudas que tenías y otras que no sabías que tenías sobre nuestros mininos favoritos. Recomendado para cualquier persona que posea un felino
Andriy Zinchuk
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THis short book finally brought some peace to my chaotic household. We had two young cats (brothers) who, while lovable and entertaining, were completely out of control and not responding to any of the behavior modification tips I usually used with cats. After being disappointed by at least 5 other cat behavior books, I was skeptical about this one.
Catwatching helped me understand that cats respond to positive reinforcement, punishment will only make them neurotic. Catch them doing the right thi
...more
Street Sharks
Oct 25, 2011 marked it as to-read
trying to get in these mother fuckers' heads YA HEARD?
IrgendwasmitFaber
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ich hätte gerne die Vorzüge dieses Buches gelobt, die dank der Beobachtungsgabe und der empirischen Denkweise des Autors durchaus zu finden sind. Gerne hätte ich meine Kritik darauf beschränkt, das der Autor die notwendige Bekämpfung von Mythen und Aberglauben rund um Katzen in diesem Buch manchmal etwas zu dogmatisch nimmt, z.B. wenn Feuer mit Feuer bekämpft und einem Vorurteil eine (meines Empfindens nach) schwach-populärwissenschaftliche These entgegengestellt wird (z.B. "Kleine Katzenspezies ...more
Robin
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some of the author's explanations for feline behavior appear to be based on conjecture, but who better to speculate than one who has spent time working with and observing wild cats in a zoo setting? This book helped me respect the cat's remarkable instincts and adaptability and to understand how my interactions w/ kitty while well-intentioned are more based on my own needs than hers. The book's question and answer format is accompanied by simple sketches that convey character and speak to the di ...more
Claudio Valverde
Coincido con maragota21 Es interesante, fácil de leer, pero quizas tenía más expecativas ya que Desmond Morris ha sido una eminencia en lo que se refiere a comportamiento tanto animal como humano. De todos modos no está mal.
Averil
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant
ZouZou
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
书是本好书,内容和猫咪的图片都很有意思。只是编辑不行,脚注错了三处。有两个术语的翻译也不太对
Dustin J Allen
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you dig cats... I own this if you wanna borrow it! In some ways it's an 11/10
Vera
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Indispensable para los amantes de los gatos.
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
...more
Richard
This slender book is a quick read, with plenty of "fun facts" about cats. The book was written way back in 1986, by a British author, so it doesn't completely resonate with an American cat owner in 2018. Desmond Morris seems to assume that all cats, including pet cats, spend time outdoors. He doesn't account for the strictly indoor cat. I don't know if that's a U.K. thing, or a 1986 thing, or both. He also mentions several times that a cat who is nine or ten years old is likely near the end of i ...more
John
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
All the essential questions about your cat's behavior are summarized in this excellent feline foray. I got it off the 10 cent rack at the local library near our home. It looked a little thin as it is laid out in a brief chapter format while answering all those pesky questions about the cat. For example: Why does a cat purr? Why does a cat chatter it's teeth when it sees a a bird through the window? Why is a female cat called a queen? Don't be fooled by the format, this is a worthwhile guide for ...more
Bookworm Amir
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Tracy Terry
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A hardback 'coffee-table' sized read of a book published by Edbury Press Ltd in 1994 which as far as I can ascertain is no longer in print though second-hand copies are available. As beautiful to look at as it is interesting to read, if ever there was a book guaranteed to have cat lovers swooning this is it.

A beautifully photographed book which answers many a question posed by cat lovers the world over
(just why are cats attracted to those who 'dislike' them? Do they have ESP and can they predic
...more
María Paz Greene F
Como amante de los animales y, entre ellos, de los gatos, me entretuve mucho. Siempre es entretenido saber cosas nuevas, en especial cuando tienen base científica, y en especial cuando la base es legal y no extraída de cualquier lugar, que a veces es solo una mentirota publicitaria o puramente sensacionalista.

Sin embargo, por eso mismo de ser un amante de los animales, la gran mayoría de las cosas ya las sabía.

Disfruté, en todo caso, como siempre, la prosa de este señor, que escribe tan bien, d
...more
Jasper
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Mary
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
J K
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ana
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This short and fairly interesting read is everything a (new) cat person should know about those magnificent creatures. It's a great entry-level guide through your favourite companion's behaviour. It does as it promises in the introduction, no more, no less. Although I was aware of most of the things presented in the book, new and exciting facts were plentiful. The only thing that bothered me is the fact that even though the author mentions giving cow milk to cats, he never actually warns the rea ...more
Inés
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
David Bonesteel
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jael
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Desmond John Morris is most famous for his work as a zoologist and ethologist, but is also known as a surrealist artist and author.

Other books in the series

Petwatching (3 books)
  • Dogwatching
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“...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.” 4 likes
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