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Review: Science Comics: Cats, Nature and Nurture

Science Comics: Cats, Nature and Nurture
By Andy Hirsch
All Ages (9-13)
First Second, August 2019

There’s no other animal quite like a cat. Currently, cats are enjoying a surge of popularity, with billions of views of cat videos online, as well as being the most popular household pet (just behind fish). But, as much as we love our four-footed furry friends, they can still seem to be a mystery. Internet cat sensation Bean is her to change all that.

Bean is a calico cat who is being interviewed for the show Star Tales. His story begins as many cats’ origins do: As a stray left outside to fend for himself. As he describes how he survived, we learn about a cat’s diet, their style of hunting, and the senses that help them find and catch prey. We also learn about how wild cats have adapted their environments while domestic cats have had to adapt to living with humans.

The book gets interesting when it starts exploring the nature of cats, and more explicitly, how both nature and nurture can change a domestic cat. When a cat no longer needs to hunt for its own food, it becomes a more social animal. What they hunt is also affected by how they were raised (so no more cat shaming videos when the cat doesn’t cat catch a mouse!). There is a short discussion about DNA and evolution. The DNA strands are shown as yarn, which is both helpful and appropriate to the subject matter. However, it is kept short, and even references the volume Science Comics: Dogs, From Predator to Protector for more details.

The most fascinating question the book looks at is if cats are truly domesticated. While it doesn’t give a definitive answer, it does give some interesting points to consider, including the “yes and no” answers to domestication and a cat’s “cute factor.” It’s hard to deny this last one, considering all the images, sites and videos of cats all over the internet.

Cats: Nature and Nurture is another great entry into the Science Comics series. It shows the sometimes harsh realities cats, both wild and domestic, face in the world. Bean’s origin is one seen more often with cats than any other pet. There is some humor thrown in with the banners that are displayed as part of Bean’s interview, and Bean himself is a natural on screen, as all cats are. If you think you know everything about cats, this book will make you think again.

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Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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