A CAT'S BODY by Joanna Cole


Email this review


Continuing the superior series that has so far considered the frog's, horse's, and snake's bodies as evolutionary adaptations determined by their wild origins, Cole and Wexler now take up the cat, whose nature and body are still geared to hunt. Thus for example the cat's strong muscles allow it to ""slink rapidly,"" ""pounce like lightning"" with precise accuracy, and stalk in ""slow motion."" The eyes, facing forward, are a predator's eyes; the ears can hear high-pitched squeaks and turn to pinpoint sound (a photo sequence shows ""how one ear swivels to pick up a sound to the right and rear of the cat""); and so on for its teeth, paws, flexible spine, and other organs. In passing Cole points out that cats, built to hunt low to the ground, don't really kill as many birds as some people believe. A few mysteries remain: scientists still don't know why cats ""sleep away two-thirds of their life,"" or just how they maintain the steady tone of their purr. Wexler's photos make the visible features clear and find ways to show the less evident: one close-up shows human fingers holding a piece of shed underfur against a cat's visible outer coat. As usual, trim and to the point.

Pub Date: April 7th, 1982
Publisher: Morrow