Monday, 29 April 2013

Review: 'Cat Breeds of the World' by Desmond Morris

Cat Breeds of the World by Desmond Morris, 1999, Viking, $19.95, hardbound, 256 pages. Category/Genre: reference. Cover: Striking. Where we got it: bought it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble. 

This is one of the first books we ever owned on cat breeds, and it still stands out as an exceptional book. One note we may make as to improvements that could be made: there aren't any pictures of the coat colours and patterns, which we would very much like to see. 

That being said, the book is remarkable, not only in its beautiful colour photographs, but in its information on cats in general and the different breeds in particular. The information on cats as a species is found in the introduction, which is 20 pages long and includes topics such as 'Breed Popularity,' 'Cat Shows,' 'Abnormal Breeds,' and 'Feline Anatomy.' For ourselves, some of the more intriguing information comes under the heading 'Feline Anatomy'; here is where we learn that the majority of blue-eyed white cats are genetically deaf due to a malformation in the inner ear (cats who have one blue eye are deaf only in one ear); that cats' third eyelid is called the haw; and that whiskers are not only feelers, but act as air-current detectors. 

After the introduction come the chapters on specific breeds. Here we are treated not only to pictures of felines representing each breed, but to facts and folklore on the breeds. A brief description of appearance is given, personality is evaluated, and the colour forms which are acceptable for each breed are noted. Also listed are breed clubs. 

If you like this one, try: Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds by J. Anne Helgren. 

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