The Lion in the Living Room – Abigail Tucker

Schlow Library Selection: January 2017: Based on an incredible breadth and depth of resources, Abigail Tucker tells the tale of how our beloved house cats came to be in The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World. Beginning at the beginning, the author–a feline fan herself–reveals how prehistoric cats survived and then evolved into the wild predecessors of the tabbies that cuddle on our laps purring the days away.

It seems that cats have a nearly unlimited ability to adapt to whatever circumstances they find themselves, always landing on their feet. They can hunt their own food (although they would prefer not to), adjust their schedules to suit their prey’s, thrive on just about any diet, live in packs or alone and in even the most inhospitable environments, if they have to.  If they don’t, they become the kings and queens of our castles, because for reasons well-studied but not completely understood, humans happily do cats’ bidding, often without any real benefit to themselves except for the honor of having a bit of wildness in our midst.

Tucker adeptly switches from neatly interwoven historic and scientific research to anecdotes of particular cats she has known and/or loved to the current state of the Cat Lobby and back again, covering just about any facet of cat information you can imagine and back again, all in a snappy prose occasionally with a sandpaper tongue planted firmly in a whiskered cheek. This is a purr-fect book for any cat lover interested in knowing more about the felines in their lives.
-Schlow Library

“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 lively adventure through history, natural science, and pop culture in search of how cats conquered the world, the Internet, and our hearts.

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. She visits the labs where people sort through feline bones unearthed from the first human settlements, treks through the Floridian wilderness in search of house cats on the loose, and hangs out with Lil Bub, one of the world’s biggest feline celebrities.

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.