We celebrate and promote cat adoption in June every year because this is the month that marks the beginning of kitten season, a time when litters of kittens are born and often end up in shelters looking for their forever homes. Cats are so often misunderstood, seen as aloof loners who just want you to fill their food bowl and then disappear. This could not be further from the truth! Cats can be incredibly social, with each other, dogs, and their people. They are fascinating creatures with a love language all their own, something that is explored in depth by psychologist and award winning blogger and writer, Zazie Todd, in her new book, Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy.
Zazie is one of my favorite writers in the world of animals and pet behavior. She makes learning about the behavior of companion animals fun, using personal examples from her own pets, as well as current scientific research. In her previous book, she explored the world of dogs and dog behavior, this time around she turns her focus to our feline companions. While your dog may be delighted with a new bone or toy you just purchased for them, your cat isn’t as easy to impress. Making your cat happy is more about determining what matters most to them (e.g. snacks, toys, catnip, time outside to explore, etc.) and finding a way to give them what they desire.
The best part about Purr is that it’s broken down chronologically from kittenhood to senior cats, with specific chapters on grooming, feeding, and entertaining your feline companions. My favorite chapters, of course, are those related to the training and behavior of cats. Zazie gives you all the tools you need to be a better observer of your cat and help you figure out what they need to thrive. Everything she suggests is backed by scientific research and all of the links to the research mentioned in each chapter can be found in the appendix if you want to explore further, or read the research yourself. And every chapter ends with a section on how you can apply the science behind what you learned in your own home, making implementation of the information in this book so easy to do!
Purr is for any cat lover, whether you’ve lived with them your whole life, or you just got a kitten. This is a book that can be read and enjoyed by middle school aged kids through adults, and reading chapters with your younger children would be a great way to introduce them to the science of animal behavior. I’ve bought several copies myself to give as gifts and encourage you to do the same, especially if you know someone celebrating Adopt a Cat Month this June by bringing home a new feline friend.