University of Chicago Press, September 2014. 280 pages, hardcover, 137 colour plates, 34 black and white photos, 1 black and white illustration, black and white distribution maps
Sunquist, Fiona, Mel Sunquist, Terry Whittaker.
From the ancient Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet, to the prophet Muhammad’s favorite cat, Muezza, and our contemporary obsession with online cat videos, felines have long held a place of honor in their human counterparts’ homes and cultures. But the domestic cat is just one of many feline species, and in The Wild Cat Book cat experts Fiona and Mel Sunquist introduce us to the full panoply of the purring, roaring feline tribe. Illustrated throughout with Terry Whittaker’s spectacular color photographs as well as unique photos from biologists in the field – some the only known images of the species pictured – The Wild Cat Book not only tantalizes with the beauty of cats, but also serves as a valuable and accessible reference on cat behavior and conservation. Comprehensive entries for each of the thirty-seven cat species include color distribution maps and up-to-date information related to the species’ IUCN conservation and management statuses, while informative sidebars reveal why male lions have manes (and why dark manes are sexiest), how cats see with their whiskers, the truth behind our obsession with white lions and tigers, and why cats can’t be vegetarians.
The Wild Cat Book also highlights the grave threats faced by the world’s wild cats – from habitat destruction to human persecution. From the extraordinary acrobatics of the arboreal margay, able to cling to a tree branch by a single paw thanks to its unusually flexible ankles, to modern declines in African lion populations, The Wild Cat Book is an instructive and revealing ode to felines of every size and color. Combining science, behavioral observations, and stunning photography, this book will captivate cat fanciers the world over.