Cat Culture

Cat Culture

The Social World of A Cat Shelter

Book - 2003
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This work contends that the anti-social cat is a myth; cats form close bonds with humans and with each other. In the potentially chaotic environment of a shelter than houses dozens of uncaged cats, this work reveals a sense of self and the build of a culture - a shared set of rules, roles, and expectations that organizes their world and assimilates newcomers. As volunteers in a local cat shelter for 11 years, Janet and Steven Alger came to realize that despite the frequency of new arrivals and adoptions, the social world of the shelter remained quite stable and pacific. They saw even feral cats adapt to interaction with humans and develop friendships with other cats. They saw established residents take roles as welcomers and rules enforcers. That is, they saw cats taking an active interest in maintaining a community in which they could live together and satisfy their individual needs.
Publisher: Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 2003.
ISBN: 9781566399982
Branch Call Number: 636.8 A395
Characteristics: xvi, 239 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Alger, Steven F. 1941-


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Nov 21, 2014

It was hard to rate this book. The author did a several year study of the cat interactions at a shelter where the cat lived in an open communal space. Many of her observations are interesting and valuable. However I had real issues with the privately-run shelter. The owners did seem good-hearted but there was admitted overcrowding and cleanliness issues which were repeatedly pointed out by city inspectors.

Jul 15, 2011

There is a good chapter on feral cats, for those interested in rescue work. Some insights for prospective cat rescuers, as this takes place in a no-kill rescue that adopts about 250 cats/year. The authors make an interesting case that the feral cats help create stability and peace in the shelter, and that previously owned cats help the ferals become somewhat more trusting of the humans.
This is dry reading, like a thesis, so it isn't for everybody. It may be worth skimming certain chapters.
It is written as a qualitative sociological study, so sociologists might find this particularly interesting.

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