SCIENCES

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

S. & S. Oct. 2016. 256p. notes. ISBN 9781476738239. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476738253. NAT HIST
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OrangeReviewStarEnormously successful from an evolutionary perspective, cats occupy a unique niche in human society and in the popular imagination. Six hundred million cats thrive in our homes, on city streets, and even in the wild. Cats have served as cultural icons and objects of fascination and adoration. Tucker, a contributor to Smithsonian magazine, explores humans' relationship to cats with humor. Effortlessly interweaving research, anecdote, and analysis, she delves into the evolution and domestication of the house cat, the ecological consequences of the worldwide spread of the species, the mysterious and terrifying toxoplasma gondii parasite, and the complexities of the current landscape, including animal rights politics, cat fancier culture, the changing nature of pet ownership, and, of course, Internet popularity.
VERDICT Eminently readable and gently funny, Tucker's blend of pop science and social commentary will appeal to cat lovers as well as a broad general audience with an interest in natural history.

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