The Cat Expert - Rebecca Watson

It appears that I cannot take something up without buying a book on the subject to tell me how to do it properly. This habit probably makes sense when dealing with e.g. programming languages, but it's got a bit out of hand. Although best learnt by practice, I have how-to guides for judo, climbing, and skiing, amongst others.

We now own a cat, so clearly I had to buy a book. (We're not particularly 'cat people', but we have an oldish house and we're certainly not 'mice people'. The children did adore the cats belonging to friends, so it seemed a good idea, and it's worked out really well.)

This book is from that ubiquitous series that brought you 'The Rose Expert', 'The Lawn Expert', and all those other gardening books. Why they decided to branch out into pets, I don't know, but it got good reviews on Amazon.

It's a colourful, well-illustrated and rather enjoyable (if shortish - 120 pages) book on a subject most people will quite happily get away with not getting a book on! There are some interesting things in there, ranging from the fact that cats shoulder blades are not attached to the rest of their skeleton through a normal joint (thus allowing extra flexibility), through to the (pre)history of cats.

I'd never really thought how key cats must have been to making food storage and agriculture a practicality in the face of vermin. It seems like the veneration of cats in ancient Egypt probably hangs off them being a key technology in early civilisation. The book suggests that the Black Death could partly be traced to the persecution of cats by the Church at the time. That kind of stuff.

One of the things I find most amusing about the book is how dog-eared it has become. I'm a pretty careful reader, but as I said earlier this book is well-illustrated, and is now a firm favourite of our cat-loving Miranda.

Posted 2012-10-12.