Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy

Greystone. May 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781771648141. $26.95. PETS
Behavioral science research has long given lots of attention to dogs, but the field is now beginning to include more feline-focused guidance like this book by psychologist Todd (Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy), which combines a scientific approach with a highly readable style. Todd is known for her own evidence-based animal behavior blog Companion Animal Psychology; she also writes the Fellow Creatures blog for Psychology Today. To those who say “Cats are aloof! Cats are independent!,” Todd responds: “Not always”; like all animals, cats have individual personalities and preferences. Here she explains cat behaviors using clinical and academic research, illustrated by the author’s observation of her own cats. Topics include cats’ desire to hunt and stalk; the meanings of cats’ chirrups, purrs, and meows; and domestic cats’ relationship to the outdoors—all with practical guidance on creating happier, healthier feline environments.
VERDICT Even before they see the title, cat guardians will recognize the question-mark curl of a happy cat’s tail on the cover of Todd’s enjoyable book; it’s suitable for a wide audience, from new pet parents to shelter and veterinary professionals.
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