This bestselling book, translated, adapted and extended from a highly successful Norwegian book, provides a fascinating insight into all aspects of the behavior of domestic cats. It is written to help cat owners, veterinary professionals and others working with cats to better understand cats and thereby enhance their welfare.
- Learn about feline behavior throughout the lifespan, and our role in helping kittens develop into happy, well-balanced adult cats.
- Read about communication in cats, social behavior, free-roaming and hunting behavior, and differences in personality types and breeds.
- Recognize behavior problems and how to prevent or deal with them to enhance a cat's welfare based on insights into learning theory, emotions, and motivations.
- Learn more about who cat owners are, why and how we keep cats. Understand the importance of the human-animal bond and how cats can benefit our own mental and physical health.
- See videos and beautiful color photographs that add to the explanations in the text.
From understanding the behavioral needs of our cats, their motivations, and stresses, this book provides the essential information needed to promote the well-being of cats and the people who care for them.
1: The Origin of Cats – How did the Cat Become Tame and Domesticated?
2: The Development of Kittens, and their Relationship with their Mother and Siblings
3: The Cat’s Personality – Individual Variation and Breed Characteristics
4: The Cat’s Language – Communication
5: Social Behaviour
6: The Cat as a Predator
7: The Cat’s Ability to Navigate
8: Motivation, Behavioural Needs, and Emotions
9: Animal Welfare – How to Ensure the Cat’s Welfare
10: Learning and Training
11: Problem Behaviours
12: People and Cats
13: How Can the Cat Contribute to Better Physical and Psychological Health in Humans?
14: Conclusions: How to Develop a Harmonious, Well-functioning Adult Cat
Bjarne O. Braastad is Professor emeritus of Ethology (behavioral biology) in the Faculty of Biosciences at Norwegian University of Life Sciences, where he worked for 37 years until 2020. He was born on a farm with several animal species, including five cats. For his MSc degree in ethology, he studied homing behavior in cats, while his PhD in neurobiology was on development of visual brain cortex in cats. Since 1979, Bjarne has been working with research and teaching in animal behavior and animal welfare, and during 2001-2015 also on animal-assisted interventions using farm animals for humans with mental diseases (termed Green Care). Bjarne’s research work has comprised most farmed species incl. salmon, and a wide variety of ethological topics like prenatal stress, housing of farm animals, maternal behavior, cognitive neurobiology, and human-animal interactions. Bjarne has supervised a number of master’s projects on cat behavior. He has a keen interest in dissemination of scientific knowledge to animal owners and the general public – in newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, on internet as well as talks at meetings, particularly addressing cat owners. In 2013 he received his university’s Research Dissemination Award for this work. In 1982, he initiated the foundation of The Norwegian Association of Cat Owners. Bjarne has a wife and two sons. The youngest one died at the age of 16 of acute leukemia. This cat book is dedicated to him. Bjarne and his wife are enthusiastic folk dancers, and Bjarne chairs the local folkdance group.
Anne McBride has a Psychology degree and PhD in animal behavior from University College London. She has had a few cat teachers, notably Corky, named for her corkscrew shaped tail that had been broken in several places. A small, black non-pedigree unwanted kitten brought to the vet to be euthanized, where a young Anne was working as a Saturday helper. Instead, Corky found a home for the next 14 years! An Animal Behavior and Training Council Registered Clinical Animal Behaviorist, she has been practicing since 1987, and developed and ran for 20 years the first postgraduate course in this field at the University of Southampton. She continues to teach about Human-Animal Interactions at Southampton, and elsewhere, including teaching some of Bjarne’s students about animal learning and training – with sessions to help them practice their skills by training new behaviors to cows! Her degree, experience as a clinician, and generally of life and people and her strong interest in the "hows and whys" are central to her main goal in life. Namely, to help others become creative, yet critical thinkers in respect of animal (and human) behavior and welfare. Her second goal is to grow older whilst never truly growing up, by continuing to learn, and laugh all the way to the end! As an aside, you will find Anne has books and papers published as Anne McBride, and as E. Anne McBride.
Ruth C. Newberry is a Professor of Ethology in the Faculty of Biosciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Her early years were spent on a farm near Ottawa, which had a resident cat colony. Before the cats were neutered, she saw first-hand the communal nursing of Tinkerbell and her adult daughter, and the comings and goings of the resident tomcat. As a zoology student at the University of Edinburgh, she was encouraged by Jane Goodall’s writings to pursue the study of animal behavior, leading to her PhD research in the Edinburgh Pig Park observing communal nursing in pig nests. After several years investigating chicken behavior at the Agassiz Research Station in British Columbia, she journeyed south to join Washington State University’s colleges of veterinary medicine and agriculture. There, she conducted studies on a wide range of animals including cats. Having finally habituated to cowboy hats in her classroom, the northern lights beckoned once more, this time to Norway. Here, since 2013, her research has focused on methods of environmental enrichment that foster harmonious social development and positive welfare. Ruth is a Past-President and Honorary Fellow of the International Society for Applied Ethology, and a member of several scientific advisory committees on animal welfare. A confirmed cat person meeting the personality traits described in Chapter 12, she has shared her home with a succession of beloved cats, Annapurra Katman, Cinnamon Daintree, Siena Kitkatla to name a few, whose unique personalities have provided inspiration during the writing of this book.
Felis silvestris catus; Cat behavior; Cat Domestication; Ontogeny; Cat Mother-offspring relationship; Cat individuality and personality; Feline Communication Signals; Social behavior in cats; Predatory behavior in cats; Orientation [navigation] behavior; Learning behavior in cats; Feline emotions; Animal welfare; Animal behavioral needs; Behavioral problems in cats; Behavioral disturbances in cats; Human-cat relationship; Animal-assisted interventions; Feline; Feline House-soiling; Feline aggression; Furniture scratching by cats