The Lion in the Living Room

The Lion in the Living Room

How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
7
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"By turns funny and disturbing, The Lion in the Living Room is full of surprises. Like all the best nonfiction, it will make you think twice about the world around you." --Elizabeth Kolbert, bestselling author of The Sixth Extinction

"Dig deep into the history, biology, and science of house cats in this charming, highly informative read that explains how cats came to rule." -- B&N Reads

"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." -- Library Journal (starred review)

A lively adventure through history, natural science, and pop culture in search of how cats conquered the world, the Internet, and our hearts.

House cats rule back alleys, deserted Antarctic islands, and our bedrooms. Clearly, they own the Internet, where a viral cat video can easily be viewed upwards of ten million times. But how did cats accomplish global domination? Unlike dogs, they offer humans no practical benefit. The truth is they are sadly incompetent rat-catchers and pose a threat to many ecosystems. Yet, we love them still.

To better understand these furry strangers in our midst, Abby Tucker travels to meet the breeders, activists, and scientists who've dedicated their lives to cats. She visits the labs where people sort through feline bones unearthed from the first human settlements, treks through the Floridian wilderness in search of house cats on the loose, and hangs out with Lil Bub, one of the world's biggest feline celebrities.

Witty, intelligent, and always curious, Tucker shows how these tiny creatures have used their relationship with humans to become one of the most powerful animals on the planet. The appropriate reaction to a cuddly kitten, it seems, might not be aww but awe.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada OCT 2016
ISBN: 9781476738239
Branch Call Number: 636.8 TUC

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AL_LESLEY Aug 06, 2017

Part educational treatise on the domestication of cats, cat disease, and cat species and part ode to our inexplicable love for them, this book was downright interesting and not at all a silly cuddly kitty book like some may mistake it for.

PimaLib_NormS Jun 01, 2017

I had certain expectations of what I thought “The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World” by Abigail Tucker would be. I thought it might be full of cute, heart-warming anecdotes about the special relationship between humans and felines. Actually it is more of a scientific, historical treatise on how cats have evolved to their current exalted position in modern society. Apparently, from a scientific standpoint, there is not much difference between house cats of today and their wild, undomesticated ancestors from thousands of years ago. I am not a science denier, but I would rather keep science out of it and not think of our cats, Lucy and Chester, as relentless hypercarnivores that will kill and eat just about anything. I don’t want to believe that our cats do not really love us, that they see us merely as food dispensers, back scratchers, and toy providers. I am not questioning the veracity of Abigail Tucker’s excellent work. I had certain expectations, and that’s on me. But, I prefer not to think that our Lucy and Chester could be anything other than the wonderful companions they are. So, if you are looking for a book full of cute, heart-warming cat stories, look elsewhere. But if you want to know the science behind the grand ascension of cats to the top of the pet world, this is the book for you.

Cynthia_N May 22, 2017

Great information! I really liked the last few sections which talked about internet cats (General Meow, Harrison the hipster cat) and newer breeds such as the Lykoi (werewolf cat) and the Brooklyn Wooley. I had my computer out and was searching all of them!

m
miaone
Apr 18, 2017

A wonderful, science-based book about how house cats evolved to live with us humans. I am finding it fascinating and unputdownable. The author (clearly a house cat lover) is answering questions I have long wondered about: how did house cats break away from wild cats and start hanging about in human dwellings? I've long noticed that cats don't contribute anything that could have a price put on it, contrasted with many dogs who render all sorts of services to us. Cats just eat our food and lie about looking beautiful. Apparently, though, that is enough for them to work their way firmly into our hearts, even when our heads know better. We make excuses for them by claiming that they catch mice and rats. Turns out, most don't ever do that. We are aware that house cats and feral cats cause unimaginable environmental damage in eating endangered birds and certain kinds of threatened mice. We know that millions of innocent kittens and cats are put to death every year because there are so many more of them than there are empty spaces in our homes for them. Yet many people still don't get their cats spayed/neutered. It's not the cats' fault; they are just doing what comes naturally. The problem is people. We have the ability to solve the problem, and we just won't do it. And we will suffer the consequences along with the rest of the world.

t
TBrien
Feb 13, 2017

Gave it 2.5 stars too. As a reader, it eventually felt like a chore and a waste of time. As for the author, it seemed like a lost opportunity to write a more engaging book about cats. This book was often dry and repetitive and not very scintillating.

j
jeffreyochsner
Jan 07, 2017

I thought it would be a book that celebrates cats, and I was all set to celebrate cats! Instead, this book is a description of all sorts of negative things about cats. There is a chapter about how the populations of wild cats (both large and small) have been decimated the world over, because they eat exclusively meat and they need a large habitat to find enough food to survive. There is a chapter about how house cats hunt and drive other species to extinction (people are especially rabid about this in Australia). On the other hand, the author says that cats are not nearly as good at keeping rats and mice under control as their reputations would have you believe.

There is a chapter about how hopeless it is to think that we will ever get feral cats under control; no matter how many cats we trap, neuter/spay and return, others will keep breeding forever. There is a chapter about how unnatural it is for cats to live indoors with people in small spaces and never get to go outside. (The author makes the point that cats frequently live in homes with more than one cat, while dogs are often the only pet. Dogs are more suited to living with other dogs, while cats really want to be the only cat.) There is a chapter about diseases transmitted to humans by cats, and what those diseases can do to our brains (bad things). There is even a chapter about how cats and kittens have taken over the internet.

On the whole, this book is not enjoyable and is really rather depressing.

d2013 Nov 20, 2016

A great read and interesting look on cats and their evolution through history. Quite easy to understand how these little furry creatures became domesticated.

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