The “Cat Whisperer” Whisperer

Through the Eyes of a CatWorking on final draft of cat book

Through the Eyes of a Cat is the original title Mieshelle Nagelschneider and I picked for the recently-released book The Cat Whisperer:  Why Cats Do What They Do — and How to Get Them to Do What You Want.  By teaching people about the evolution and psychology of cats, or how to see the world through a cat’s eyes, it was our aim to make humans more understanding of and empathetic toward their behavior — and to make them far more loving pet owners.  Following the recent publication of the book by Random House, I’m happy to say the cause of preventing cruelty to cats, and perhaps animals generally, has been advanced.

Cat Whisperer book cover

Mieshelle, Josephine, and two Photoshopped cats

Not Just for Cat Lovers!

In spite of its casual cover, The Cat Whisperer is a serious book; it’s the culmination of a years-long project to build a new business model and media platform to highlight a then-unknown talent, master cat behaviorist Mieshelle Nagelschneider.  The book has proven fascinating even to people who don’t own, or particularly like, cats. (You probably don’t own a shark, alien, or nuclear weapon either, but good stories can be made of them all).  In fact, Random House’s first-year sales estimate at the time we submitted the manuscript, I’m told, was something like 1.2 million copies. If only.

What is Mind-Throwing?  And Why Do Cats Rule the Internet?

The book provides a fascinating look at why these animals fascinate and confound us – after reading it, you may even be better able to get inside cats’ minds and to answer the question, Why are dogs in all the books, yet cats rule the Internet?

I’m particularly proud of the book’s emphasis on the need to understand cat psychology, which is so unlike the domesticated dog’s, so we can reduce cruelty such as unnecessary euthanasia, abandonment, absurdly ineffective punishments, and toe-amputation of our genetically wild Felis silvestris catus friends.  We also give cat owners a thorough series of pointers on when to seek medical help for their cats.

I remain fascinated by the anthropology behind the FREE FIRST CHAPTER‘s discussion of our ancestors’ “mind-throwing”, or speculative tracking of their prey (see the amazing video below), for which I have to thank a brief meeting in Seattle with Christopher McDougall, author of the fascinating Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. Mind-throwing is an ancient hunting technique in which the hunter throws his mind ahead of himself, into that of his respected prey – and you can feel something similar with your own (non-prey) pets, once you learn to see the world through their eyes.

Read the first chapter.

I also think you’ll love the chapter on Mieshelle’s Mowgli-like childhood among the animals.

Learn How to Train Your Kids or Spouse

I promise, after reading the book . . .

  • You’ll be able to prevent almost every cat behavior problem – and solve the rest — before spending thousands of dollars on home repairs, ineffective products, or behaviorists, and certainly before harming your cat.
  • You’ll know exactly what to say when someone brings up euthanasia, the painful toe-amputation called “declawing,” outdoors versus indoors, or whether cats can feel spite (see Chapter 1!).
  • You will understand cats like a Jedi cat master, fall in love with your cats all over again, and be able to tell which cat-sitters are good with your cats and which ones are harmful. But the book’s of interest to more than just cat owners…
  • You will know more about dogs than anyone at the dog park. Yes, we cover dogs.
  • You will understand children better. No, seriously. Also, your spouse. And how to train them.
  • You’ll learn a fascinating history of cats, which are, for all practical purposes, still wild animals, and the implications for cat ownership as well as public policy.  (For example, toe-amputation is an unnecessary cruelty aimed at stopping scratching, and should be illegal).

Humans Deserve My Attention, Too

Get a copy of The Cat Whisperer for yourself and for the animal lover in your life, and support my even bigger writing projects about actual human beings.   

Digital version (most supportive option).  

Deceased trees version.

How to Track and Chase an Animal for 8 Hours

And watch the amazing video on persistence hunting, which is how our ancestors caught meat for all but about 60,000 of the two million years Home Sapiens has been around. Our species has only had tools, and weapons, for about the last 60,000 years.  How did we catch prey before that?  We ran it into exhaustion.  But to do that, a tracker must be a master of discerning where an animal has gone, from tracking a tiring animal even after it has merged back into the herd to throwing one’s own mind up ahead, into the animal one seeks — which is empathy — to predict which way it has gone.  

You can see the last generation of humans to use this technique in the magical film below, from David Attenborough’s 70s-era BBC program, which I discovered only after the book was written.  (If you love the video, you’ll want to own the book).

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