On Cats

On Cats

Book - 2008
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Baker & Taylor
An unsentimental study of the relationship between humans and cats offers insight into the Nobel Prize-winning writer's own life with her feline companions and is comprised of collections from Particularly Cats and Rufus the Survivor as well as the memoir The Old Age of El Magnifico. 25,000 first printing.


Doris Lessing's love affair with cats began at a young age, when she became intrigued with the semiferal creatures on the African farm where she grew up. Her fascination with the handsome, domesticated creatures that have shared her flats and her life in London remained undiminished, and grew into real love with the awkwardly lovable El Magnifico, the last cat to share her home.

On Cats is a celebrated classic, a memoir in which we meet the cats that have slunk and bullied and charmed their way into Doris Lessing's life. She tells their stories—their exploits, rivalries, terrors, affections, ancient gestures, and learned behaviors—with vivid simplicity. And she tells the story of herself in relation to cats: the way animals affect her and she them, and the communication that grows possible between them—a language of gesture and mood and desire as eloquent as the spoken word. No other writer conveys so truthfully the real interdependence of humans and cats or convinces us with such stunning recognition of the reasons why cats really matter.

& Taylor

Features the author's memoir on the cats in her life, including collections from the author's previously published works, "Particularly Cats," "Rufus the Survivor," and "The Old Age of El Magnifico."

Publisher: New York : Harpercollins, 2008
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780061672248
Branch Call Number: 636.8 L565o
Characteristics: 245 p. ; 17 cm
Additional Contributors: Lessing, Doris 1919-2013 Particularly cats


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Jul 25, 2018

I am a cat lover, and I have read other books by Lessing, but I didn't like this one. I couldn't ignore her matter-of-fact reports that apparently no one where she was living would get their cats neutered or spayed. Their female cats were coming into heat 5 or 6 times a year, getting pregnant each time, and giving birth to several kittens with each pregnancy. There was, of course, the expected unfortunate result for songbirds. As well, many of the unwanted cats wound up feral, starving, and sick. It was too disturbing for me. About 2/3 of the way through the book I stopped reading.

Cdnbookworm Apr 26, 2013

This book is a gem, written by the Nobel Prize winning author on the cats in her life, from her childhood in Africa, to her life in England. She gives the reader a true sense of each cat's personality, showing her careful observance of their behaviour and how they interact both with other creatures and with herself and the other people in her life. The cats are the stars here though, and one comes to know and love each cat as its story is told, and I found myself also reflecting on the cats in my own life and their quirks and behaviour.
A wonderful book for anyone who loves cats.


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