The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World

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A New York Times bestseller about how cats conquered the world and our hearts in this “deep and illuminating perspective on our favorite household companion” (Huffington Post).

House cats rule bedrooms and back alleys, deserted Antarctic islands, even cyberspace. And unlike dogs, cats offer humans no practical benefit. The truth is they are sadly incompetent mouse-catchers and now pose a threat to many ecosystems. Yet, we love them still.

In the “eminently readable and gently funny” (Library Journal, starred review) The Lion in the Living Room, Abigail Tucker travels through world history, natural science, and pop culture to meet breeders, activists, and scientists who’ve dedicated their lives to cats. She visits the labs where people sort through feline bones unearthed from the first human settlements, treks through the Floridian wilderness in search of house cats-turned-hunters on the loose, and hangs out with Lil Bub, one of the world’s biggest celebrities—who just happens to be a cat.

“Fascinating” (Richmond Times-Dispatch) and “lighthearted” (The Seattle Times), Tucker shows how these tiny felines have used their relationship with humans to become one of the most powerful animals on the planet. A “lively read that pounces back and forth between evolutionary science and popular culture” (The Baltimore Sun), The Lion in the Living Room suggests that we learn that the appropriate reaction to a house cat, it seems, might not be aww but awe.
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About the author

Abigail Tucker was the first ever staff writer for Smithsonian magazine, where she remains a contributor. She previously wrote for The Baltimore Sun. Her work has been featured in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series. The first word of both of her daughters was “cat.” She is the author of The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World.

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Reviews

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Oct 18, 2016
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781476738253
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Animals / General
Pets / Cats / General
Social Science / Anthropology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Frans de Waal
A New York Times Bestseller: “Astonishing . . . has the makings of a classic—and one fantastic read.”—People

What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future—all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.

People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat? De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal—and human—intelligence.

John Bradshaw
Cats have been popular household pets for thousands of years, and their numbers only continue to rise. Today there are three cats for every dog on the planet, and yet cats remain more mysterious, even to their most adoring owners. Unlike dogs, cats evolved as solitary hunters, and, while many have learned to live alongside humans and even feel affection for us, they still don't quite "get us" the way dogs do, and perhaps they never will. But cats have rich emotional lives that we need to respect and understand if they are to thrive in our company.

In Cat Sense, renowned anthrozoologist John Bradshaw takes us further into the mind of the domestic cat than ever before, using cutting-edge scientific research to dispel the myths and explain the true nature of our feline friends. Tracing the cat's evolution from lone predator to domesticated companion, Bradshaw shows that although cats and humans have been living together for at least eight thousand years, cats remain independent, predatory, and wary of contact with their own kind, qualities that often clash with our modern lifestyles. Cats still have three out of four paws firmly planted in the wild, and within only a few generations can easily revert back to the independent way of life that was the exclusive preserve of their predecessors some 10,000 years ago. Cats are astonishingly flexible, and given the right environment they can adapt to a life of domesticity with their owners-but to continue do so, they will increasingly need our help. If we're to live in harmony with our cats, Bradshaw explains, we first need to understand their inherited quirks: understanding their body language, keeping their environments-however small-sufficiently interesting, and becoming more proactive in managing both their natural hunting instincts and their relationships with other cats.

A must-read for any cat lover, Cat Sense offers humane, penetrating insights about the domestic cat that challenge our most basic assumptions and promise to dramatically improve our pets' lives-and ours.

艾比蓋爾.塔克(Abigail Tucker)
家貓是獅子的表親,是「新萬獸之王」,其數量正在爆炸;

無論溫馴或野性,宅居還是在外遊蕩,

都正逐步主宰自然與城市,文化和潮流趨勢;

就許多層面來看,牠們儼然成為人類的統治者。


事實是,我們對貓情有獨鍾。我們的文化——無論是網路還是實體世界——都被貓「瘋」潮席捲。明星貓咪可以出書、簽訂電影合約、募捐善款,人們搶著在其臉書粉絲專頁按讚,或付費在一群隨意走動的貓之間品味咖啡。我們承認自己愛貓,卻不甚了解牠們最初是如何走進客廳,跳上床鋪。尤其是,我們能從貓身上得到的利益非常少,牠們既不是稱職的警衛,也不會下美味的蛋,更別說成為坐騎。所以,我們到底為什麼養牠們,還養了幾億隻?


這道題目特別刁鑽,因為貓這種備受珍寵的動物,同時也被歸類在世界百大入侵種之列,背負著破壞生態系統、甚至造成部分瀕危動物滅絕的罪名。澳洲科學家形容,流浪貓對當地哺乳動物的危害,更甚於全球暖化或棲地消失。困惑的動物愛好者有時難以抉擇,到底該在罐頭鮭魚淋上法式酸奶油、用湯匙餵給貓咪吃好呢,還是應該鐵了心,永遠不再理牠們?


作者為著名科學記者兼資深貓奴,親身採訪數十位來自各界的學者專家,從加州天然瀝青坑中保存著一萬多年來的大型貓科動物化石談起,層層爬梳家貓與野化貓對於生態環境的威脅、以牠們為宿主的傳染疾病、TNR與安樂死的爭議,以及古埃及迄今的養貓文化、育種與販賣史、現代人貓關係,直到網紅人氣貓如何征服虛擬世界……娓娓道出人貓從敵對到共居屋簷下的奇妙過程。


貓臉之下還有什麼我們不知道的事:


人類從吃素轉為吃肉,可能和貓有關?

我們之所以為貓痴狂,是因為牠們長得像人?

家貓是自己選擇了被馴化?

貓在中世紀是殘酷刑具,二戰後又成了情報金牌特務?

養貓不但無益身心療癒,還可能讓飼主病情加劇?

我們難以抗拒貓的吸引力,全因腦中的某種寄生蟲?

育種者的終極夢想,是培育出外表狂野但內心溫順的大貓?

備受爭議的TNR其實全是「貓囤積症」患者的一廂情願?


【好評推薦】


「充滿驚喜,就如所有暢銷的非虛構文學作品一樣,令人對自身所處的世界反思再三。」

——伊麗莎白.寇伯特Elizabeth Kolbert,《第六次大滅絕:不自然的歷史》作者


「以清晰觀點,解析人類如何與這群毛茸茸的生物共享世界。讀完之後,保證你在未來會對家貓另眼相待。」

——艾琳.派波柏格Irene M. Pepperberg,《你保重,我愛你:我和我的聰明鸚鵡艾利斯》作者


「科幻小說作家總幻想著外星人接管人類世界——只能說太遲了,家貓早已搶先一步,佔據了我們的家和心。本書生動、不失公允地描述牠們如何統御全球。」

——理察.康尼夫Richard Conniff,《失落世界之屋:恐龍、王朝與地球上的生命故事》(House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, & the Story of Life on Earth)作者


「引人入勝、暖心又幽默,窺探家貓的漫長歷史,堪稱必讀之作。無論你是曾經養過貓,或是曾經被貓收服。」

——維吉尼亞.莫雷爾Virginia Morell,《動物心智:我們如何解讀動物的感知》(Animal Wise: How We Know Animals Think and Feel)作者


「幽默、知識含量高,又具深度見解的調查報導,提供全新的視角來看待這個打破自然界馴化常規的天才生物,實屬佳作。特別是當你家客廳也剛好養了頭獅子,絕對必看。」

——布萊恩.黑爾Brian Hare,《天才神犬:狗比你想得更聰明》(The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think)作者


「一趟引人發笑的非凡之旅,讓人得以凝視家貓如何從單打獨鬥的史前食肉動物,一步步邁向虛擬世界的冠軍哏王。這本大心之作同時具備科學佐證,為這群陪伴在人類身旁、最高深莫測的毛茸茸生物,揭開神祕面紗。」

——大衛.艾波斯坦David Epstein,《運動基因:科學剖析傑出運動表現》(The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance)作者 



出版社 紅樹林 (城邦)

Abigail Tucker
«Un libro lleno de sorpresas; hace que mires dos veces el mundo que te rodea». Elizabeth Kolbert, autora de La sexta extinción

Los felinos son criaturas increíbles: comen prácticamente de todo y viven casi en cualquier parte, gobernando por igual dormitorios o islas antárticas desiertas. Pero los gatos nos hacen muy pocos favores a los humanos, sobre todo comparándolos con los perros. Entonces ¿por qué los alimentamos y los acariciamos y nos obsesionamos con ellos en internet? ¿Cómo esos diminutos felinos se han convertido en señores globales?

            Para entender mejor a los peludos desconocidos que viven entre nosotros, la escritora de temas científicos Abigail Tucker investiga cómo los gatos domésticos han utilizado su relación con los humanos para convertirse en uno de los animales más poderosos del planeta. Rastrea su ascenso desde la Prehistoria a la moderna locura por los gatos, se encuentra (y mima) a campeones con pedigrí y a los últimos mutantes, asiste a una convención sobre los derechos felinos y recorre la naturaleza en busca de gatos domésticos huidos.

            Lleno de agudo reporterismo y vivaz ingenio, Un león en el sofá es una aventura a través de la historia, las ciencias naturales y la cultura pop. Es la fascinante historia de cómo los gatos han conquistado el mundo... y el corazón de los humanos.

«Una nueva mirada a la enigmática criatura que desafía las reglas normales de la domesticación al tiempo que una investigación divertida, inteligente y reveladora sobre el genio de los gatos. Un libro maravilloso para quien tenga un león en su sofá».

Brian Hare, autor de Genios. Los perros son más inteligentes de lo que pensamos

 

 

«Un viaje delicioso y amable a través de la historia de la criatura más enigmática del mundo: el gato domesticado. Una lectura obligatoria para cualquiera que alguna vez haya sido dueño, o que haya tenido como dueño, a un felix catus».

Virginia Morell, autora de Animal Wise

 

 

«Un viaje asombroso e hilarante que sigue a los felinos desde que eran carnívoros prehistóricos solitarios hasta llegar a ser los indiscutibles campeones de memes en internet. Tucker ha escrito un libro generoso que también es un estudio científico sobre nuestros más inescrutables compañeros peludos».

David Epstein, autor de El gen deportivo 

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