Happy Cats favorites
When you’re ready to dive a little deeper into the subject of cats, these books will help. They’re our paws-down favorite sources for reliable cat information.
General cat information
Animals Make Us Human / Dr. Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson
This is a book on domestic animals, but the chapter on felines is invaluable. Grandin brings a unique perspective to her study of cats from her experience as an autistic human. She’s the closest we’ve found to someone who can actually translate the communication of animals.
Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-adjusted Cat / Pam Johnson-Bennett
Johnson-Bennett was one of the first to shift modifying cat behavior to a positive approach. She also focuses on cat territory in a very practical way. Also recommended:
The Cat Who Cried for Help: Attitudes, Emotions and the Psychology of Cats / Dr. Nicholas Dodman
A thorough look into the psychology of cats from a conventional medical perspective. While not particularly receptive to behavior modification techniques, the book is a bit outdated and perhaps Dodman has advanced as clicker training for cats has.
Supercat: Raising the Perfect Feline Companion / Dr. Michael W. Fox
An easily read book to help understand cat behavior from its biological basis, in spite of the author’s tendency to use punishment for “training.” The book is from 1990, so hopefully he’s caught up with the benefits of positive reinforcement by now. Very interesting section on testing your cat’s intelligence.
The Cat Whisperer: the Secret of How to Talk to Your Cat / Claire Bessant
A good basic book on cat behavior and issues, a bit more updated than the Fox book, above, with a distinctly European perspective.
The Domestic Cat: the Biology of Its Behavior / edited by Dennis C. Turner and Patrick Bateson
When you’re ready to delve into the science behind the behavior, this is a great source of data, the basis for much of the layman’s info in the other books.
Feline Behavior: a Guide for Veterinarians / Bonnie V. Beaver
Good hard data on the origins of behavior, but not recommended for its punitive approach to behavior modification.
The Tribe of Tiger: Cats and Their Culture / Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
A heartbreaking comparison of domestic cats with African lions and Colorado mountain lions, showing the biological basis for the social life of cats.
Cat Fancy’s Naughty No More: Change Unwanted Behaviors through Positive Reinforcement / Marilyn Krieger
In spite of the unfortunate name, which might lead you to think that only naughty cats can benefit, this is the best cat training book on the market. The author is a well-known cat behavior consultant, so she knows her stuff. The book is clear, easy to read, has great eye candy and covers any issue you might be having, from counter surfing to scratching to introducing a new cat or kitten. Along the way, of course, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to play with your cat and a clicker.
Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us about All Animals / Karen Pryor
Currently the best text on how clicker training works, from the scientist-trainer who re-introduced it to the pet world. Amazing stories, solid research and clear techniques make this a good clicker training book, for any species, including humans.
Getting Started: Clicker Training for Cats / Karen Pryor
Over a decade old, but still a fairly reliable source for clicker training cats, as long as you insert Target training before teaching how to Sit.
Cat Training in 10 Minutes / Miriam Fields-Babineau
A revealing look into the luring techniques of people who train cats for commercial activities, like movies and television. For the rest of us, however, it’s a good book on what not to do if you want your cat to actually retain what they’ve learned, instead of just learning to follow food around.
Here Kitty, Kitty / Catherine Crawmer
Another book on how to lure, not how to train.