I'm going almost the full five stars on this because it's the best cat book I've read to date. I've not read a ton, to be honest, but McNamee manages to capture both the science and the essence of the relationship between a cat and its owner. He is undoubtedly a man coming at the subject with heartfelt appreciation and love for our feline overlords and his advice is rational, sound and passionate.
I learned a lot from this book. I never knew that the sticking out of the tongue was a sign of friendship and acceptance; I always thought Easter-cat just left her tongue sticking out sometimes. The front leg stretch isn't really a stretch, so much as it's a gesture of acceptance and friendship. McNamee has me a little stressed out about Easter-cat's insistence on only eating dry food. Small things like that, as well as much bigger issues like separation anxiety have given me much to think about.
McNamee also talks about a lot of very sticky issues, especially regarding breeding, the cat's need to hunt, and the feral population problem that plagues communities around the world. His overview of how Italy - specifically Rome - is tackling the issue is an inspiration, if not a complete solution. I think he does a phenomenal job bringing home the basic idea that cats (and any pet for that matter) are not merely personal possessions or accessories; they are living creatures with as much right to quality of life and dignity as we might and arrogant humans so.
This book is a weaving of science and personal anecdotes about the author's cat, Augusta. Those personal parts are brilliant, and sometimes nail-biting. Full disclosure: I flat-out skipped chapter 7 on sickness and death. I'm a sissy, and the first 6 chapters convinced me that McNamee was going to write chapter 7 with at least as much passion and heartfelt sincerity and there aren't enough tissues in the world to get me through that chapter.
I knocked off half a star because some figures at the start seemed to fantastical to be true, and though there is a notes section at the back, those figures weren't cited, leaving me and others feeling distrustful of the data. Otherwise, I thought this was a brilliantly written, fantastic resource for anybody who wants to be a better cat slave.