Katharine M. Rogers
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Four thousand years later, the cat continues to charm us. Katharine M. Rogers traces our relationship with this curious creature in Cat, an entertaining look at one of the most popular pets in the world. From the domestic cat’s emergence in ancient Egypt to its enormous popularity in the contemporary United States, Rogers uncovers the feline’s cultural history in all its numerous forms: rat-catcher, witch’s familiar, and even the inscrutable creature that inspired Lewis Carroll and Edgar Allan Poe. As Rogers demonstrates, our fascination with cats lies in their uncanny ability to embody just about any character—from sweet to ferocious, affectionate to independent, eerie to elegant.
Cat will be relished by anyone who appreciates these lovable companions and their amazing ability to bring joy to our lives.
the neck of their prey and sharp claws to grab and position it for the killing bite, as well as to climb. The small cats, which live on small prey, kill it with a very precise bite to the neck, driving their canines in between two vertebrae so that they pierce the spinal cord and thus instantly disable it from coordinating any defence. Cats have nerve endings around their canines so they can sense where to place the teeth and jaw muscles with an exceptionally short contraction time. (Canids, in
it somewheres . . . any kind of marriage / means just one dam kitten after another.’ Sure enough, he left her flat as soon as the kittens arrived; and she has to conclude that companionate marriage is the same thing as ‘old fashioned American / plan three meals a day marriage / with no thursdays off.’ Like any harried mother, feline or human, she tries hard but often unsuccessfully to be selflessly devoted. She cannot resist longing ‘to live my own life’ and protesting that ‘it isnt fair / these
negative, dark, passive one. In both China and Korea, men and dogs are yang, while women and cats are yin.15 Just as in the West, women and cats may be good in their way, but it is a secondary sort of goodness. 5 Cats Appreciated as Individuals Nowadays we are less apt to turn cats into symbols, because we are more apt to see them as individual members of the family. As we have become less comfortable with hierarchical order, we expect cats (as well as dogs) to be equal companions more
explains that her owner, an opera lover, named her for the character in La Bohème. When Nakata apologetically explains that he assigns names to unowned cats because humans need names and dates to remember things by, an elderly black tomcat scoffs that this sounds like a pain; cats don’t need names because, ‘We go by smell, shape, things of this nature.’ Nakata and the cats share a taste for eel, although the old tomcat has had it only once, a long time ago, and Mimi points out that you couldn’t
seriously jeopardized his reputation as an intellectual and man of letters. While de Moncrif’s light-minded book had elicited ridicule that was to haunt him throughout his career, Champfleury’s (Jules Husson’s) serious and rather vacuous Cats of 1868 won a fame it did not deserve, presumably because its time had come. His English contemporary Charles Henry Ross felt he was taking a risk when he published a book about cats, but his Feline Facts and Fancies was enthusiastically received. Now it