268 pages, 137 colour plates, 34 b/w photos, 1 b/w illustration, b/w distribution maps
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, The Wild Cat Book will captivate cat fanciers the world over.
"Domestic cats are family members in millions of homes. To what extent do they still reflect their wild ancestors, species that range in size from the majestic tiger to the diminutive sand cat? Read The Wild Cat Book and find out. It is the most authoritative source on every kind of cat."
- George B. Schaller, Panthera and the Wildlife Conservation Society, author of The Serengeti Lion: A Study of Predator-Prey Relations
"A beautifully illustrated and eminently readable book, The Wild Cat Book by Fiona and Mel Sunquist is the best primer out there to delve into the evolution, survival, and status of the world's wild cats. Presenting the species according to their ancestral history, or lineages, the Sunquists share their extensive knowledge and experience to open up the remarkable and diverse world of cats in an interesting yet substantive manner. It is the rare book that could be used both as bedtime reading for a child, as well as a reference volume for a college student. This is such a book."
- Alan Rabinowitz, CEO of Panthera, author of Life in the Valley of Death: The Fight to Save Tigers in a Land of Guns, Gold, and Greed
"Wild Cats of the World had been the sanctuary's favorite resource book for all things feline, but after reading The Wild Cat Book by Fiona and Mel Sunquist, I know we have a new favorite resource. The images are so stunning that it was hard to put the book down, but where it really stands out, from all other books about exotic cat species, is in the depth of research and thought that went into covering such issues as white lions, white tigers, ligers, and hybrids. This is a book that we will use and enjoy for years to come."
- Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
"The cats of the world are among the most captivating and charismatic of all creatures. From the mighty lion to the diminutive sand cat, each possesses the feline attributes of stealth, grace, and beauty. This marvelous book showcases the world's cats in all their compelling diversity."
- Simon King (www.simonkingwildlife.com), naturalist, broadcaster, and author
"While there are many books about cats, none are like this book. The Wild Cat Book is a pleasure to read. The authors' enthusiasm and passion for cats comes through in almost every paragraph, and the book should appeal to the largest possible cross section of people. Enhanced with geographic distribution maps and many photographs, The Wild Cat Book is a comprehensive, interesting, enjoyable, and current review of all that we know about members of the great family of cats, the Felidae."
- James G. Sanderson, Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation, coauthor of Small Wild Cats: The Animal Answer Guide
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Fiona Sunquist is a science writer, photographer, and for fifteen years was a roving editor for International Wildlife Magazine. Mel Sunquist is professor emeritus in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Together they are the authors of Florida: The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide, Tiger Moon: Tracking the Great Cats in Nepal, and Wild Cats of the World, the latter two published by the University of Chicago Press. They live in Melrose, FL.
Terry Whittaker is a UK-based photographer specializing in wildlife conservation and the environment. He lives in Folkestone, Kent.