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English zoologist and renowned author of The Naked Ape and The Human Zoo, among others, Morris here applies his astute powers of observation and broad knowledge of animal behavior to the subject of those beloved family pets--cats and dogs. In Catwatching and Dogwatching, Morris provides brief and intelligent answers to questions he's been asked over the years regarding the history and domestication of felines and canines, the behavorial idiosyncracies of the two species, and the derivation of such quirky expressions as "It's raining cats and dogs." We learn in Catwatching about this animal's unique rites of courtship, mating, fighting, and territory-marking, and are given insightful answers to such questions as why cats' eyes glow in the dark, why they groom their coats so fastidiously, and why they purr (to express a need for affection, according to Morris, not just to express contentment). In Dogwatching, Morris looks to the wolf pack for explanations of various aspects of dog behavior. Dogs bark, we find out, to warn their packs of danger, put their tails between their legs when frightened to express submission (covering scent glands located beneath the tail in the process), and cheerfully chew slippers, which they view as offerings from big dogs (their human owners). Two books of choice and fascinating tidbits that, together, add considerably to our understanding of household pets.
Pub Date: April 10th, 1987
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1987


NonfictionTHE LIVES OF THE SURREALISTS by Desmond Morris
by Desmond Morris
NonfictionTHE NAKED MAN by Desmond Morris
by Desmond Morris
NonfictionHORSEWATCHING by Desmond Morris
by Desmond Morris