The Cat’s Meow

A (Not Too) Natural History

Sweet and fierce, affectionate and independent, mysterious and elegant: cats play many roles in our lives. In a voyage spanning from ancient Egypt to the present day, readers can accompany the author as she explores the world of cats, explaining their evolutionary history, domestication (in the many environments offered by man and nature), physical and behavioural characteristics, sensory and social skills, and emotions. Some cats live freely in urban colonies; others in the countryside, where they keep yards free from mice and rats; others are genuinely feral; still others live in families’ dwellings, where they prey on flies and other insects. The author explains how and why humans’ relationship with cats has changed over time. Feline companions are increasingly widespread in our homes, yet maintain an aura of inscrutability.

Paola Valsecchi teaches Applied Ethology and Vertebrate Evolution at the University of Parma.