Speaking Volumes: Discover more about feline friends at library

Special to the HeraldApril 6, 2014 

I've never been a "cat person." I admire the enthusiasm of dogs. Dogs think a trip in the car is a carnival ride, but for cats, it's the equivalent of a hostage situation. I always viewed dogs as cool roommates and cats as eccentric house guests. But when my brother passed away last year, I adopted his big orange cat. This cat of undetermined age and very peculiar habits is named Karma. He is the first cat I have ever had in my home. And surprisingly, I really like him; I just don't always understand him. Luckily, the library is a good source for informative and enjoyable material on a subject I never thought I'd be researching -- cats.

For a fascinating look at the history and psychology of the cat, check out "Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet" by renowned anthrozoologist, John Bradshaw. The book explains that although cats evolved from solitary hunters to our domesticated companions, they are not that far removed from their wild ancestors that lived thousands of years ago. This book unraveled many cat mysteries for me including why cats do not like the pads of their feet touched. (I learned that the hard way.)

If you'd like to read some real-life cat stories, I suggest "A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life." It's the true story of London street musician, James Bowen, and the unique bond he formed with an injured homeless cat.

If you enjoy eBooks, look for OverDrive on the library's home page and download "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" by Vicki Myron. As a kitten, Dewey was left in a library book drop on a snowy evening in Spencer, Iowa. Dewey became a resident of the library and a celebrity around the globe. He was even featured in a Japanese documentary.

"Life & Love of Cats" by Lewis Blackwell is an absolutely stunning collection of photographs of cats, both domestic and wild, by some of the world's top photographers. The accompanying text is divided into nine themes representing the mythical nine lives of a cat. The book begins, "In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods. They have not forgotten this."

If you like to pamper your cat, check out the recently published "Treats for your Cat" with photography by Jane Burton. This book features dozens of ideas for feline furnishings from beds to privacy screens, as well as gourmet recipes like Mackerel Magic and Kipper Supreme. There's even a list of home "spa treatments" like massage and aromatherapy.

The library also has many books available on cat health, some even specifically for aging cats.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Mary Lysaght is the Assistant Supervisor of the Rocky Bluff Library.

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