The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats Review
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A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not. --- Ernest Hemingway

I confess to being a recovering cat book addict. The books on cat care and cat novels I bought for myself; the ones on cat humor and coffee table cat books were gifts. So I promised myself years ago: no more. But The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats: A Journey into the Feline Heart caught my eye in a gift shop because it was so different from the others. Today, its dog-eared for a reason: its wonderful.

Author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson is a former psychoanalyst and lover of animals of many kinds; his pets include chickens, rats, dogs, and rabbits. This work is the result of his lifelong study of feline behavior and his observations of the five cats that he and his wife and son adopted while living along the ocean shore near Auckland, New Zealand.

  
 
Masson identifies nine emotions that he attributes to cats: narcissism, love, contentment, attachment, jealousy, fear, anger, curiosity, and playfulness. He devotes a full chapter to each topic. The book includes extensive information on the science of feline behavior, but its far more than that; the book includes literary references, history, and cultural stories about these creatures.

The essence of the book, however, is the tales that he interweaves about his own cats, whose names and personalities are unique and delightful: Minnalouche, the ocicat (whose markings resemble an ocelot); Miki, a three-month-old orange and white kitten, whose features are a little unusual and thus was hard to adopt out; Moko, Mikis best friend, a half Burmese and half Siamese, tattooed-looking kitten, whose name means tattoo in Maori; Megalamandira, a Bengal, descended from Asian leopard cats; and Yossie, a large stray in need of a lot of affection. He has not only observed them in his home, but he also takes them for walks in the jungle and along the ocean shore. And, because of their age, gender, temperament, and species differences, he has an abundance of wrestling and purring and napping and pouncing behavior to track!

I found this book fascinating and as accurate as any could be, given that we cant truly know the mind of a cat. But my cats have always been direct in expressing their feelings, unlike humans. I believe its because they are generally quite certain about their place in their world: its theirsor at least they think its supposed to be. And they enjoy it, explore it, learn to be cautious about the dangers in it, master it, relax in it, and sleep in it better than almost any other animal Ive known. And since were a part of their world, if we appreciate them, they enjoy us, too, and they love to have us along on their journey.

So Id encourage any cat lover to curl up next to your favorite feline friend with this delightful book.

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