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335 - Recommended Reading: Cat Sense


John Bradshaw (Standard British accent)

My name’s John Bradshaw and I’m the author of Cat Sense. Now, Cat Sense is essentially a scientific account of what it’s like to be a cat. So it begins with the cat’s history, how it’s descended from a solitary territorial animal, how it went through the process of domestication over a course of about 10,000 years, and what changes that caused to both the cat’s own social life and of course, most importantly, to its relationship with us, and right towards the end of the book brings that right up to date with how cats have changed over the past 40 or 50 years, and how, I hope and or maybe expect, they’re going to change in the future, but the core of the book is really about what science tells us about what’s going on inside a cat’s head, what it’s like to be a cat, what kind of a world the cat lives in, in terms of what it can detect: for example, not many people realize, I think, that cats are very dependent upon what the world smells like. Most people think that’s what dogs do: well, cats are almost as good as dogs are at doing that, but also what’s going on in terms of the cat’s emotions, as to what kinds of attachments it forms; is it the same as a dog, in terms of the attachments to people? Do cats love us? Those kinds of questions, while they may not sound very scientific, I think are open to scientific explanation, and so that’s one of the things that Cat Sense attempts to do. And it then looks at the cat-human relationship: how that developed, what that actually consists of, how do cats perceive us? Do they think of us as large cats, or are they perhaps seeing us as being some kind of entirely separate species? And how that, again, that might develop as we go into the future.

(John Bradshaw was talking to Mark Worden)