The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took over the World

Cats are one of those creatures that people either love or hate; there is no middle ground. In The Lion in the Living Room, Abigail Tucker takes readers on an alluring, funny and informative romp through the domestication and history of the cat. "Worldwide, house cats already outnumber dogs, their great rival for our affections, by as many as three to one.... Wild and tame, homebound and footloose.... In many ways, they rule us," writes Tucker. So why do we go to such lengths to keep a pet that's been "classified as one of the world's 100 Worst Invasive Species?"

In accessible language, Tucker explores this mystery in depth, examining the connections humans have had with felines since ancient Egypt. Famous for their hunting abilities, cats were prized companions on long sea voyages, where they took care of the ever-present rat and mouse populations. Yet they became the hunted when they invaded the Pacific islands, including Australia, where the government is now providing research money for the discovery of an effective cat poison. Funny cat videos and photos pop up on social media on a daily basis, providing humorous relief for thousands. On the other hand, felines are also the only known host of the Toxoplasma parasite, which forms untreatable cysts in animal and human brain and muscle tissue and can be fatal. Although cats are a strange blend of good and bad, Tucker does an excellent job of providing facts so readers can make their own assessments. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer
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