Nature – Cats and Dogs

Cats and Dogs
Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts
by Emily Anthes

Consider this: dogs used to be wolves before humans interfered. We use selective breeding techniques to fine-tune our livestock and pets; electronics to fuse animal bodies with machinery; and molecular biology to create mutants and clones. This eye-opening book surveys the brave new world of biotechnology “from petri dish to pet store,” discussing such wonders as cats that glow in the dark (due to an infusion of bioluminescent jellyfish DNA) and spider-goats, genetically modified goats whose milk contains proteins that can be spun into silk. It also delves into ethical concerns surrounding such practices, including (but not limited to) the growing industry dedicated to breeding diseased animals to supply research labs.

Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet
by John Bradshaw

Although dogs are usually awarded the title of “man’s best friend,” housecats outnumber their canine counterparts three to one. But despite their ubiquity in our homes (and on the Internet), what do we really know about our feline friends? Are they truly our friends, or — as some suspect — are they just using us? Aimed at pet parents, British anthrozoologist John Bradshaw’s book examines a range of topics related to cat behavior and traces the evolution of cats from freelance exterminators to household companions. If you’ve ever wanted to know why cats purr, check out this accessible guide. Not a cat person? Bradshaw throws dog lovers a bone in Dog Sense, which covers the science of canines.

The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think
by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods

If your dog won’t fetch, you may approach this book with some skepticism. However, authors Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods argue, dogs are intelligent — in a very specific way. Having co-evolved with humans, dogs are uniquely suited to be our companions: they can interpret our gestures, make inferences about our behavior, and even anticipate our desires. If you enjoyed the exploration of the canine-human bond in Jon Franklin’s The Wolf in the Parlor, you’ll want to read The Genius of Dogs. For more on canine cognition specifically, try ethologist Alexandra Horowitz’s Inside of a Dog.

Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing, and Hope…
by Nick Trout

A staff surgeon at Boston’s Angell Animal Medical Center,experienced vet Nick Trout guides readers through an average day in the life of an animal doctor — a profession that requires practitioners to be “a social worker, a psychologist, a grief counselor, mentor, carpenter, plumber, cosmetologist, athletic coach, magician, grim reaper, and occasionally, guardian angel.” Whether tussling with a 40-lb. cat (aptly) named Chunky Bear or performing surgery on an elderly widower’s beloved dog, Trout describes his encounters with animals and their humans with an appealing mix of humor and heart.

Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend
by John Woestendiek

Would you bring a beloved pet back in the form of a clone? Some people would — and have. As recounted by journalist John Woestendiek, the decade-long journey to fulfill the dream of commercial dog cloning was littered with nightmares — deformities, stillbirths, deaths — thanks cloning companies’ lack of transparency about their progress and methods in a lax regulatory environment. Taking readers behind the scenes of both the scientific process to produce viable clones and the push to market the service to consumers, Woestendiek notes that cloning pets brings us that much closer to human cloning, both scientifically and in terms of increasing social acceptance of the practice.

List created 4/19/16 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Posted in Adult Staff Picks, Reading Lists and tagged , , , , .