The Secret Language of Cats: How to Understand Your Cat for a Better, Happier Relationship

Susanne Schötz, trans. from the Swedish by Peter Kuras. Hanover Square, $22.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-335-01389-7
Those who love cats will also adore this book from phonetics professor Schötz. She insists that cats possess their own language (of sorts) and that, with self-awareness and patience, owners can discern some of what their pets are “saying.” For example, her cat Vimsan, after receiving a bowl of food, responds “brrrt,” for “thank you.” Her cat Rocky, also during food prep, “lifts himself up with his front paws against my knees, where he drawls a me-aw, which I take to mean, ‘Oh that smells good, I want some too!’ ” Shötz shares a serious discussion of her academic specialty, dispelling any notion that the book’s premise is sheer fancy. To that end, she provides a chart of the various consonants she’s observed cats making—approximants, fricatives, and laterals, for example—while readily conceding the inherent limits to human comprehension; “cats do not have a language that works like a human language” and “we cannot look something up in Cat.” Still, chances are good that this lively title will help cat lovers achieve a surprising and animating level of understanding with their house pet. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2018
Release date: 11/06/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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