We're all cat experts, but where are the cat PhDs?
May 24, 2016 6:31 AM   Subscribe

I would like to read any great science writing out there on cats -- particularly, that focusing on interspecies communication. But I'll take whatever I can get!

A general sense of what I'm after: If you're not familiar with her work, Patricia McConnell is a retired academic with particular expertise in interspecies communication between humans and dogs. She also writes more accessible books for general audiences, and her prose has a similar warmth informed by vast knowledge that I associate with other great pop science writers such as Jane Goodall, Stephan J. Gould, Oliver Sacks, and Carl Sagan.

I found a 2002 academic title (Cat Culture: The Social World of a Cat Shelter), and I intend to read it, but nothing that's more broad.

Other academic titles on cat behavior would likewise be welcome; barring that I'd even be happy just to read some solid papers. A little esoteric, I know, but I figured if anyone out there could help me subscribe to Cat Facts that actually are facts about cats, they'd be on MeFi.
posted by melissa may to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about general pop-science books, but I DO know that there has been research done on cat personality. See here and here, for example.

And I just found this pop-sci take on the research.

So perhaps if you can't find a single book that addresses behavioural research into cats, then you might start with a few articles like the above and follow a trail of your interests from the references therein.
posted by Halo in reverse at 6:42 AM on May 24, 2016

Best answer: Lund University in Sweden has been in the news recently for their work on cat communication. The relevant lab's project website has links to the peer reviewed publications coming from this research for more in depth reading.
posted by shelleycat at 7:53 AM on May 24, 2016

Try using PubMed as a database for your search: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

This will pull up research papers. Try this broad search on cat psychology. Here's a narrower search that incorporates the idea of social behavior.

You can adjust the filters on the left to get only free full text or whatever you're interested in. Any library should be able to provide access to paid articles through ILL.
posted by LKWorking at 8:32 AM on May 24, 2016

Best answer: Pop science book on all things feline: Cat Sense by John Bradshaw.
posted by Ian Scuffling at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I know some people who do this kind of work. The first three should be open access, the last you will have to buy or get ILL.

Ranging characteristics of the domestic cat.

McDonald, J. L., Maclean, M., Evans, M. R., & Hodgson, D. J. (2015). Reconciling actual and perceived rates of predation by domestic cats. Ecology and evolution, 5(14), 2745-2753.

Rebecca L. Thomas, Mark D. E. Fellowes, Philip J. Baker. Spatio-Temporal Variation in Predation by Urban Domestic Cats (Felis catus) and the Acceptability of Possible Management Actions in the UK.

Woods, M., McDonald, R. A., & Harris, S. (2003). Predation of wildlife by domestic cats Felis catus in Great Britain. Mammal review, 33(2), 174-188.
posted by biffa at 10:47 AM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I got my wee Mefi reminder to update so: all the research cited helped but Ian Scuffling's answer recommending the Bradshaw book really nailed it. I purchased it soon after and read it with keen delight. Accessible, but full of scientifically supported data, it was exactly what I needed. Thanks to all who took the time to answer my question.
posted by melissa may at 11:31 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

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