In the hugely popular New York Times bestseller, Dogs Never Lie About Love, provocative psychoanalyst Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson brilliantly navigated the inner landscape of “man’s best friend.” Now he delves deep into the secretive, playful world of cats, revealing emotions, debunking myths, and honoring the feline’s evolution from solitary jungle creature to human companion.
Drawing from literature, history, animal behavioral research, and the wonderful true stories of cat experts and cat lovers around the world, Jeffrey Masson vividly explores the delights and mysteries of the feline heart. But at the core of this remarkable book are Masson’s candid, often amusing observations of his own five cats. Their mischievousness, aloofness, and affection provide a way to examine emotions from contentment to jealousy, from anger to love.
Consider the question: Are cats selfish? While human egocentricity is defined by how little a person cares about others, the cat’s narcissism is not like that at all. Cats may appear self-centered, but they watch us all the time, taking us in. They see us; they notice us–a far cry from vanity.
Cats are curious, a trait that rarely kills them. On the contrary, it gives them the chance to assess, in their own idiosyncratic way, whether we are worthy of their attention. Cats are happy to be themselves. What they think of us is a different question entirely. “We need cats to need us,” notes Masson, “It unnerves us that they do not. However, if they do not need us, they nonetheless seem to love us.”
The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats will captivate readers with its surprises and insights, offering a new perspective on the deep connection shared by humans and their feline friends. This is the book that Masson’s many fans and cat lovers everywhere have been waiting for.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Suspense & Thrillers eBook: The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats|
|Release Date: 10-29-2002|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats
Very different from that faithful animal the dog, whose sentiments are all directed to the person of his master, the cat appears only to feel for himself, to live conditionally, only to partake of society that he may abuse it. —Buffon
The frustrated woman in The New Yorker cartoon who asks the cat on her chair, “Am I talking to myself?” expects a laugh because the obvious answer is, “Yes, you are,” since cats have no interest in what we say to them. But is this really so?
Many people are convinced that cats are indifferent to us. Some even go so far as to use the word cold, which is not really descriptive but evaluative. Most cats (of mine, only Minna Girl is a partial exception) will not come when you call them, or rather, they will come sometimes, if they feel like it, and not other times, when presumably they don’t feel like it (unless there are other factors, as yet unknown to us, that decide whether a cat comes or not). This supposed indifference to humans leads some people to conclude that cats are narcissistic—in fact that narcissism is the cat’s defining characteristic. Not only are cats supposed to be narcissistic, they are commonly called haughty, egotistical, egocentric, self-centered, selfish, self-absorbed, egomaniacal, smug, distant, unsociable, and aloof. As for their indifference, the phrase is usually “calculated indifference,” but I doubt anyone would insist that it is calculated at all.
Narcissists lack the capacity to think about other people, to take the needs of others into consideration, to subordinate their own wishes to those of someone else. They are entirely self-involved. When I was...