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House cats rule back alleys, deserted Antarctic islands, and our bedrooms. Clearly, they own the Internet, where a viral cat video can easily be viewed upwards of ten million times. But how did cats accomplish global domination? Unlike dogs, they offer humans no practical benefit. The truth is they are sadly incompetent rat-catchers and pose a threat to many ecosystems. Yet, we love them still. To better understand these furry strangers in our midst, Abby Tucker travels to meet the breeders, activists, and scientists who've dedicated their lives to cats. Witty, intelligent, and always curious, Tucker shows how these tiny creatures have used their relationship with humans to become one of the most powerful animals on the planet. The appropriate reaction to a cuddly kitten, it seems, might not be aww but awe.
Abigail Tucker was the first ever staff writer for Smithsonian magazine, where she remains a contributor. She previously wrote for The Baltimore Sun. Her work has been featured in the Best American Nature and Science Writing. The first word of both of her daughters was "cat".
"By turns funny and disturbing, The Lion in the Living Room is full of surprises. Like all the best nonfiction, it will make you think twice about the world around you."
– Elizabeth Kolbert, bestselling author of The Sixth Extinction
"Dig deep into the history, biology, and science of house cats in this charming, highly informative read that explains how cats came to rule."
– B&N Reads
"Eminently readable and gently funny, Tucker's blend of pop science and social commentary will appeal to cat lovers as well as a broad general audience with an interest in natural history."
– Library Journal (starred review)
"A thoughtful look at the illogical human love of felines."
– Publishers Weekly
"[An] intriguing history [...] Read this entertaining book and you will be convinced that house cats are 'the most transformative invaders the world has ever seen.'"
– Kirkus Reviews
"Fascinating [...] Cat lovers, keep watching those cute cat videos online, but back it up with this very serious look at what makes Tabby tick."
"A delightful and warmhearted romp through the history of the world's most puzzling creature: The domesticated cat. A must-read for anyone who has ever owned – or been owned – by Felis catus."
– Virginia Morell, bestselling author of Animal Wise: How We Know Animals Think and Feel
"A fresh look at the sphinx-like creature that defies the normal rules of domestication. Abigail Tucker does a humorous, intelligent, and insightful investigation into the genius of cats. A truly wonderful book – and a must read for anyone with a lion in their living room."
– Dr. Brian Hare, bestselling author of The Genius of Dogs, and Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University
"Abigail Tucker provides a clear and detailed view of the facts surrounding the furry felines that share our world. She engages her reader, whether she is discussing the history of the possible ways that cats entered our lives to sounding a warning about the types of selective breeding programs that could endanger the health and well-being of feline companion animals. After reading this book, no one will ever look at a cat the same way."
– Irene Pepperberg, bestselling author of Alex and Me
"From mummification to catification, from cat cafes to feline etiquette manuals to the earliest cat shows at the Crystal Palace, Abigail Tucker's enlightening Lion in the Living Room explores the deep history of the connection between cats of all sizes and colors and the humans who adore them."
– Wendy Williams, bestselling author of The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion
"The Lion in the Living Room is a remarkable and hilarious journey that tracks cats from solitary, prehistoric carnivores to undisputed world champions of Internet memes. (Sorry, dogs and human babies.) Tucker has written a big-hearted book that's also a deep science dive into our most inscrutable furry companions. You can't help but LOL."
– David Epstein, bestselling author of The Sports Gene
"Science fiction writers fantasize about aliens taking over our world. Too late. House cats have already occupied our homes and our hearts, and hunted their way through ecosystems everywhere. The Lion in the Living Room delivers a rich and balanced account of feline world dominion, from their role as agents of species extinction to their "I Can Haz Cheeseburger" triumph on the Internet. You will never look at the beast in your living room the same way again."
– Richard Conniff, author of House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and the Story of Life on Earth
"I recommend this book for cat lovers, cat haters, and anyone curious to learn how these inscrutable creatures crept out of the Fertile Crescent and clawed their way into our hearts. I'll never look at my own fluffy little killing machine in quite the same way again."
– Mara Grunbaum, author of WTF, Evolution?!
"This book confirmed something I always knew about cats: they're the ones in charge of our relationship. And that's not the toxoplasmosis talking."
– Jim Tews, author of Felines of New York