Because the Cat Purrs: How We Relate to Other Species and Why It Matters

Janet Lembke, Author . Skyhorse $22.95 (209p) ISBN 978-1-60239-235-9

The moral that natural historian Lembke (From Grass to Gardens ) has learned from her observation of cat life—“All purrs are not the same”—evokes the three main themes of this short, sweet book: the complexities of animal and human behavior, the interactions between owner and pet and what modern civilization owes its domesticated and wild animals. What makes the book work is the author’s ability to simplify complex topics such as the human genome project while presenting, in depth, the fascinating worlds of less complicated subjects: groundhogs, cottontail rabbits, carpenter bees, chickens, turtles, snails and, of course, cats. She also features a range of fascinating fellow animal lovers, such as Tommie, a “totally enamored turtle fan” who runs a one-man turtle rescue squad. Lembke provides careful observations of disparate elements of the natural world and convincingly argues that while there is “no basic difference” between human and animal capacities for suffering and pleasure, human beings are different in one important way. We have “the ability to reflect on what we do, the power to act humanely.” (May)

Reviewed on: 03/17/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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