Secrets of the Cat: Its Lore, Legend, and Lives
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What is really going on behind those luminous feline eyes?
Affectionate yet aloof, intelligent and inquisitive yet dangerously careless, the more-or-less domesticated house cat intrigues us as no other animal can. Now Barbara Holland offers cat lovers a fascinating, funny, and refreshingly candid look at their feline companions: their history, lore, and secrets, and their complicated relations with people and with each other.
Secrets of the Cat is a lively appreciation of cats as we know and love them, with witty analysis and fresh observations about felines both high and low. Here are Winston Churchill’s ginger tom, who attended cabinet meetings; Teddy Roosevelt’s cat, Slippers, who came to dinner; and even the author’s own George II, who was bitten by a mouse and adopted by a blue jay. Barbara Holland’s warm, vivid speculations on cats’ lives and times—on their social, psychic, and mythological legacy, and their impenetrable mysteries—will give readers a delightful cat’s-eye view of the world.
company, and by the middle of the eighteenth century Christopher Smart could write: For I will consider my cat Jeoffry. For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him. For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life. For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him. For he is of the tribe of Tiger. For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger. For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent,
passed soundlessly through the air, and Butcher, his whiskers full of dust-mice, obeyed. Persians are fond of their homes and defend them, don’t pine for adventure, and make good apartment cats. The usual confusion obscures their roots. For a long time, “Angora” was considered a rather ignorant synonym for Persian, but current thinking holds them to be two separate cats, and the Turkish Angora one of the oldest recognized natural breeds, the name being a corruption of “Ankhara,” and once the
American roofs, there are around 70 million homeless, living hard, and the shelters kill over 5 million every year. It’s irresponsible of the cats to keep adding to this tragedy, and irresponsible of us to let them. “Neutering” is an unfortunate word. To neuter is to make neutral, to send to the sidelines, to make pale and wishy-washy, to negate, disarm, remove from the game. It sounds as if our bright, brisk cat were about to fade into a shadowy half-life more vegetable than animal. And even
unclimb a tree three times, infinitely patient, before the kitten understood. If we insist on keeping the kittens until their education is complete, we have that much more time to watch kittens. This is entertainment of a high order, witty, charming, and sophisticated; comic routines refined for thousands of years, dancing Geminis of stagecraft, masters and mistresses of the “Oops, where did I put it? Oh, there it is!” spin, vertical leap of pretended astonishment, king-of-the-mountain, mistaken
in the Blue Ridge Mountains with, at the moment, only two cats. Visit www.AuthorTracker.com for exclusive information on your favorite HarperCollins author. Copyright A hardcover edition of this book was published in 1988 by Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc. under the title The Name of the Cat, and a trade paperback edition in 1989 and mass market edition in 1994 by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. SECRETS OF THE CAT. Copyright © 1988 by Barbara Holland. All rights