• NZ Booklovers

Cats Work Like This by David St John Thomas & Gareth St John Thomas


David and Gareth St John Thomas bring together a wealth of knowledge and experience in writing about our four legged feline friends. Capturing the elusiveness of the animals that both draw us and frustrate us, they are able to warm the deepest cockles of the heart with a huge selection of photos of gorgeous cats.


Stories, quirks, explanations, and facts fill the printed pages of the book providing the reader with a full range of detail about how cats operate, including some of the more peripheral details such as where the heck they go at night time, and why!


Split into chapters focusing on a specific insight, the book explains in plain and simple language exactly what behaviour and expressions mean for us unknowing humans. For example, the chapter on ‘Sounds’ is incredibly enlightening, delving into the many many noises and sounds emitting from our cat companions. The favoured ‘meow’ having a full range of tonality, if one is so inclined to pay close attention.


Other chapters include feeding, hunting, cat toys, grooming and (a personal favourite) military strategy.


In addition to the thorough explanations, the pictures of a whole range of cats and kittens are sure to be a crowd favourite - certainly the seven year old from our house found them endlessly captivating, it was a mammoth struggle to be able to actually prise the book away from them! One could endlessly ponder what it is about images of cats that have so dominated the world of children (and, indeed, the internet). One statistic suggested that pictures of cats drives 15% of all internet traffic.


There is a fascination with cat books, with new examples seemingly popping up left, right and centre. Yet none of them ever quite get it right. However, this example comes pretty close:


“Cats and books seem to go together. T.S. Eliot put it this way: ‘Books. Cats. Life is good.’ The calmness of reading attracts the kind of people cats can be comfortable with… If a bookstore is so fortunate to have a cat on the premises during operating hours, you can bet that feline is co-owner, manager, security and the abiding conscience of the place.”


It’s the logical and helpful tips and tricks that were most beneficial as a reader of many of these books. There was something new in every chapter for a long term cat owner, something that helped to understand the little critters just a little more than before. It’s been a while since a cat book was able to do that, and therefore there is a strong sense of gratitude!


The cat industry is alive and well, perhaps because they live by their own rules and dance to their own beat. The love of a cat is a mystical and thoroughly enigmatic situation. One that will remain endlessly intriguing.


Reviewer: Chris Reed

Exile Publishing