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an essay into felinity





Imagine a cat who mastered more tricks than a highly trained dog, covered up cans of food he did not want before they were opened and could  delicately touch a tiny finger-spun top repeatedly without stopping it.  Han-chan was such a cat. His memory, preserved in notes and sketches, inspired an authority on stereotypes of national character and translator of Edo era Japanese poetry to essay out of his fields and into felinity. 

Sample chapters: The animal that kneads the world. / Conversing with cats: easier in Japanese? / Smiling with closed eyes, or far from Ecotopia. /Are cats the most or least false animal? / Beauty:  Is it relative or . . . the cat? / A little red mouse or, are we keeping the right pet? / The third-generation tanuki a new theory of domestication.


Questions born of observation include   Could behavior altered in mid-action, usually explained as saving face or covering up weakness, not be more like improvisation that, retrospectively, makes melodic sense of what would be wrong notes by offsetting or dream-style logic that, ever present, keeps the flow from breaking?  Do cats avoid trauma by convincing themselves a bad experience was a nightmare, keeping hope alive until they can cope? If related cats demonstrate their social nature by showing off their catches, sleeping together in the cold and behaving themselves, could the image of the so-called solitary cat not be the product of an unnatural upbringing, and no more typically feline than a feral child is typically human?




Those who read and enjoyed the cat chapter in Vicki Hearne's Adam's Task, likewise in Konrad Lorenz's The Dog and the books by Barbara Holland and Leonard Michaels, respectively, The Secrets of the Cat and A Cat, probably should check out this book.  Others who like or dislike it please let the author know -- write a review and he (I) will find it -- for this is his first book largely about his own experience and observations and has no idea whether they interest others! Please let me know what passages you like and I will introduce them as samples on this page.
Samples of text and artwork in the book will be posted later!   Meanwhile, you can see all of it at Google Books.