Summer 2013 Magazine

Books in Brief

Marc Bekoff, The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprints, New World Library, 2010, 260pp., $14.95.

This call to action by a leading expert on animal emotions shows that improving our treatment of animals means re-thinking our daily decisions and expanding our compassion footprint. He demonstrates that animals experience a range of emotions, including empathy and compassion, and that they know right from wrong. Bekoff's six reasons for changing the way we treat animals, whether they are in factory farms, circuses, labs or the wilderness, are driven by moral imperatives and environmental realities.

Wendy Christensen, Outsmarting Cats: How to Persuade the Feline in Your Life to Do What You Want, Lyons Press, 2013, 392pp, $16.95

Christensen, an award-winning writer and illustrator, approaches feline behavior problems with practicality, empathy and humor. Her advice is always right on and she is good at explaining why cats do what they do. This book was originally published in 2004 but has been totally updated. It now includes new information on how decoding the feline genome is already helping cats, extensive research on at-home health care for cats, including senior cats, preventing and dealing with feline obesity, how you can use social media to help cats and scientific research on how cats really drink. This is a book that should be on any cat caretaker's bookshelf. You'll use it often.

David Dosa, M.D., Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat, Hyperion, 2010, 228pp., $14.00.

You may have heard of Oscar, the cat who only spends time with people who are about to die and eases the dying through this transition. Reading this engaging story makes you understand how Oscar comforts the dying and their families alike. Oscar ministers to patients who are in end-stage dementia at Steere House. No one understands how the cat senses when a person needs him but he knows. He does not leave the person until the funeral director arrives. Dr. Dosa is a geriatrician with an aversion to cats but over time he came to respect what Oscar did. While he couldn't prove scientifically how Oscar knew which patient was about to die, he concedes that there is something special about Oscar.

Kevin Korner, Rocky's Rough Ride, The Peppertree Press, 2012, 114pp, $9.95

Ready for a catventure? Then try keeping up with Rocky and his friends in this humorous story of five gay men and their cats. Rocky goes from a hardscrabble life in the alley to one where he flies across the ocean in a private jet. Miss Mallow, the reigning cat show diva, spoils her chance of delivering a top-notch, purebred litter when she makes a side trip to the alley. All the various kittens, Buster, Scooter, Caeser, Cleocatra and Mr. Pantherny - add extra spice to the events. If that weren't enough, there is an exploding cake in a mobster's car, the attempted theft of Pompeian antiquities and a benefit for La Scala Opera House that goes horribly wrong. This is a fun book any cat lover will enjoy. It is quick paced and the antics will have the reader laughing out loud.

Clea Simon, Cats Can't Shoot, Poisoned Pen Press, 2012, 250pp, $14.95

Pru Marlowe, the intrepid cat psychic and animal behaviorist is furious when she gets a call about a cat shooting. She doesn't tolerate animal cruelty and she is determined to care for the cat. Imagine her surprise when she learns the cat is being accused of shooting, and killing, her owner with an antique dueling pistol. Pru and her feline sidekick, Wallis, are on the trail of the killer. Pru, who "hears" the thoughts of her clients, is stumped when the white Persian refuses to talk so Pru must learn the truth from other critters. This pet noir is a fun, quirky read.

Alana Stevenson, Training Your Dog the Humane Way, New World Library, 256pp., $14.95.

Animal behaviorist and dog trainer Alana Stevenson gives dog owners a simple, accessible guide to the most effective positive dog training techniques. She presents easy to follow advice for training dogs polite manners and how to solve common behavior problems. Some of the subjects she covers are house-soiling, play-biting, separation anxiety, fear of strangers, aggression and lunging while on a leash. Readers will learn that kindness and good leadership are the best training tools. Stevenson is an expert in animal behavior. She is a professional dog and cat behaviorist, humane dog trainer, and animal massage therapist.

Allia Zobel Nolan, Dog Confessions: Shocking Tales Straight from the Doghouse, Harvest House Publishers, 2012, 64pp, $9.99.

Allia Zobel Nolan, I'd Rather Be a Cat, Harvest House Publishers, 2012, 64pp, $9.99.

These two funny books combine adorable pictures with prescient statements that let you in on a dog's darkest sins and a cat's reasons for feeling just a bit superior. The pictures alone would make the books worth having but throw in Nolan's humor and you have a great gift book - or books - for every animal lover.


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