Monday, July 12, 2010

Jeffrey Masson "The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats"


Another recommendation from DogEar Diary", I enjoyed reading about Masson’s adventures with his five cats.

Trained in psychiatry and a militant vegan Jeffrey Masson always has his own way of telling animal tales. While “The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats” may not shed much light on the behavior of cats, except to reinforce, once again, how deeply alien they are to us humans and simultaneously how fascinating, it is a wonderful read for the scenery alone.

Living on a beach house in New Zealand, surrounded by rain forest with five cats (kittens, really) allowed to fully express their natures, come and go, seek human company when they wish, cavort on the beach…it’s a wonderful holiday book even if it does get one slightly jealous…

Konrad Lorenz once wrote that it’s a magical thing having a cat that you take walks with (more pointedly that allows you to join his walks). For most of us it might be as close to having a connection with a wild animal as it gets…

However, as in “Dogs Never Lie About Love” there was one thing that nagged at me: in the beginning of both books the author seems to “collect” animals from shelter and breeders with the clearly stated purpose of “studying” them. Then in this book we find out that the dogs and cats of “Dogs…” were all given up. While none were abandoned I have to admit I have a problem with this. The author says it was because he and his wife had to move a lot during a couple of years, but it just seems like carelessness from someone who makes a career out of being an animal rights spokesperson…doesn’t it?

2 comments:

Jeane said...

I don't remember that part about him dumping the animals once he was done with his "studies." I had issues with the fact that he let his cats roam free on an island where there were no natural predators until domestic ones were introduced. I don't recall if he talked about his cats hunting? or bringing home dead birds? it's been a while since I read the book.

bookworm (inês) said...

Now that I think about it, he kind of avoids that issue. He says the birds aren't used to predators and that friends of his don't approve of cats roaming free...but he never describes a single event of one of the five cats killing a bird, which I suppose had to happen...Five outdoor cats does seem like an overstatement, but he tells of a neighbour with 120...!