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Reader Reviews

"Whether you own a cat, are thinking about getting one, or grieving the loss of one, this book will offer you comfort, wisdom, and not a little emotional wallop."

 

"A thorough, well-researched and sensitive book, with much rarely seen research and anecdotal information, including its focus on the distinction between domesticating and befriending a nonhuman creature."

 

"I loved this book. It's jampacked with facts and a beautiful story."

 

"This book charmed me in ways I hadn't dreamed of. Probably because the science is juxtaposed with the author's own cat and his relationship with her, it made everything much more intimate. His research and description of the feral cats of Rome is fascinating and very relevant to the issues of feral cats in America and how we deal with them. The book is well researched, covering most topics of interest to those of us who love cats, but is never dry."

 

"I couldn't imagine a more informative and emotionally stirring book about cats, and possibly even about animals in general."

 

"If anyone loves cats as I do...this book is a MUST READ: It is one of the most beautifully (and informative) books I have ever read on the four-legged members of our families....This book was not only incredibly informative....it was heartwarming and simply beautiful. If you love cats - you wanna read this."

 

"Gave me new ideas for communicating with kitten. And made me regret not knowing some of this before. Clinical research information woven with personal anecdotes. I cried when Augusta died and author apologized for not knowing more. Sincere author with believable stories of his journey with Augusta."

 

"Beautifully written by someone who really 'gets' cats."

 

"Tom did lengthy and wonderful research on why cats are the magical creatures they are. I cried when he shared how it felt to put Augusta to sleep and felt incredible joy when he found and adopted Isabel. He describes so well the indescribable love shared by the cat and his human. If you've ever loved a cat this book is a must read for you."

 

"Being a cat lover all of my life, I really enjoyed the insight that this book provided. This book is well written and I liked that much of it was a love letter to the author's cat, Augusta, who arrived as a kitten one cold day in winter when the author lived in Montana. The book also provides terrific information about the psychology and biology of cats both domestic and those in feral colonies. He makes the reader think about the needs of a cat and what owners need to insure to make the cat's life a good one. There was much in this book that made me smile like when he discussed how his cat and his wife "mastering the art of the slow turn in bed at night" so as not to disturb the cat sleeping in the fold of one's legs. This is something that I grew to love and now miss that our Lily is gone. At times I found myself in tears as the author explained signs to look for when your cat be very sick since cats do an excellent job hiding illness (we missed many of the early signs ourselves). He describes the euthanasia process and his decision to have his 15 year old beloved cat, Augusta put to sleep. This part was tough to read about for me since it was just (7) weeks ago that we had our sweet Lily put to sleep but, I was also appreciated reading about how the grieving process for a beloved pet is very normal and that it takes months and sometimes longer to heal (I still feel our sweet girl's presence everywhere and hardly a day goes by when I don't tear up at some point thinking about her). I really enjoyed this book overall, very readable, even the research and scientific material was interesting and not dry in the least."

 

"Own a cat? Interested in cats or wonder what makes them tick? Then, this wonderful book is for you. It's personal, behavioral, scientific, with natural history thrown in. But it's NOT academic at all. I couldn't put it down. 'Inner Life' will have you saying, 'I didn't know that.' And,'Really.' It turns out most experts have gotten it wrong about cats, including how to take care of them, how to socialize kittens (begin at two weeks), how to read their ears, whiskers, tails, and a whole lot more. You'll love it. I did!"

 

"Tom McNamee is one of my favorite writers. His book The Grizzly Bear remains the definitive source for understanding the species, its role in the ecosystem, and the fraught politics that threaten its future. McNamee’s latest book, The Inner Life of Cats, is a fascinating hybrid. The narrative does as the title promises and investigates what cats might be thinking, how we might measure such activity, and how cat awareness or lack thereof reflects on human consciousness. This is scientifically interesting, and also somewhat amusing for anyone who’s looked deep into a kitty’s eyes and wondered about that plaintive 'meow.' McNamee is a fabulous stylist and often funny. His book importantly considers the relative scale of wild-to-domesticated animals in a human-dominated world. Yet he has also provided a manual for developing more responsible and rewarding human-feline relationships. McNamee doesn’t flinch from difficult topics, like feral cat destruction of delicate island ecosystems around the world. His chapter on 'Illness, Aging, and Death' is almost unbearably poignant. This is a book by a man who loves cats, one in particular – Augusta -- whom he lost. And the book ends with a meditation on 'Love.' It makes a full circle around his book, which is yes about cats, but also about life."

 

"McNamee, a wonderful writer and natural storyteller, introduces all kinds of characters who inhabit the world of cats, like Jackson Galaxy, the 'king of cat whisperers' and star of a TV show called 'My Cat From Hell,' and the cat ladies of Rome, who look after somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 feral cats living in the ruins. McNamee also gets deep into an issue that most cat-owners struggle with—whether to let your cat roam outside or keep it indoors—and makes a very, very persuasive case for not feeding the 'unowned' cats that show up in your backyard. The best part of the book, though, is the larger story to which everything else relates: McNamee’s sweet, funny, personal tale of his own two cats, Augusta and Isabel. After reading The Inner Life of Cats, I’ve gone from liking cats to being smitten with them. I’ve given multiple copies of this book of to cat-loving friends, and they’ve all thanked me—for the practical insights, yes, but most of all because it so beautifully shows how life is richer and fuller when it’s shared with a cat."

 

"So much to be said for this informative, touching, and really magnificently lyrical book. It's part memoir (covering the 15 years the author and his cat Augusta shared), part think-piece (covering, in readable prose, the science of cats). But most important to me as a reader is how beautifully Guggenheim-awardee McNamee writes. His sentences move us seamlessly through whatever he's describing, whether it's a Roman cat colony, a few cat-care basics, or, most movingly described, Augusta's decline and demise. Most highly recommended--AND I'M A DOG PERSON. There, I said it."

 

"I've read every cat book I could find and this one surpasses them all. The author successfully combines the story of his cat, Augusta's, life with the best scientific research on cats. The result is an in-depth understanding of the feline nature and what we can do to make their lives the best they can be. This is the book I will be buying for all my cat-owning friends this year."

 

"A brilliant and original analysis of the 'mysterious cat' and the ways in which we interact with our beloved felines."

 

"McNamee provides us with valuable lessons in language, looking and listening, whether we live with cats or not. How do we consider the realms of the self: within ourselves and with and for our cats. They’re all compellingly (and often anxiously) connected.  Engendered by his own 'inner lives' with cats, McNamee's The Inner Life of Cats is a passionate narrative that permits us to tune into the vivacious language of nature...to a unique 'programming' broadcast directly from the mysterious realms of the cat. Voice and listening, human and cat...there is so much love, wisdom and caring in this book."
 

"Probably the best cat book ive ever read. thomas has an incredible insight, which he also seems to have in general (check his other books). im pretty much spock in daily life; driven by reason, not emotion. but mr m had me crying....happy and sad.. above all, mr mcnamee reminds us of what animals REALLY are in our lives. try to imagine life without animals. ive had animals/pets for over 60 years, and this author comes as close as can be to how it feels. read his book..youll fall in and wont climb out til the end..and youll be sad its over."

 

"After reading The Inner Life of Cats, I came away with a much deeper appreciation of both felines and the cat-human relationship. McNamee's approach of combining keen personal observation with up-to-date science gathered from the best researchers makes this a compelling read."

 

"McNamee's canny ear for history, science, anecdote and just plain devotion is what makes The Inner Life of Cats such a good read. And, you don't have to be a cat lover to appreciate the research and color that McNamee employs in the cats of Rome section, a walking tour of another of the splendors of the Eternal City. I recommend The Inner Life of Cats to one and all. A great read."

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