Book update and a little about cats and Earth


As many of you know, I’m working on an ebook, 50 Facts About Cats (and Where They Come From).

Well, I finished the writing of it today!!!!

There is still work to do, of course, but I hope to have it up on Amazon within the next two weeks. Yes, faithful readers, goodies are planned for you!

Cats and the Earth

Lately it has just been cats and volcanoes here, with the occasional news from space, but I know that some people who are drawn here by the volcano and other geology stuff wonder why there are so many cat posts; and cat people wonder why there is so much geology.

Now that this blog is doing so well, I do have to work out its focus more, but it is about Earth–a big place. Probably I will spin off the archives of the better posts on various topics as web pages on particular subjects.

How did cats get into it? Well, about four years ago I decided to write a book about cat evolution, with emphasis on the paleontology. Fossils fit into a geology blog very nicely. It seemed like a chocolate/peanut butter thing.

However, upon doing some reading at the University of Oregon’s library and also at OSU’s Valley Library, I was just gobsmacked at what has gone on over Earth’s history in the past 65 million years of carnivore and cat evolution. All that has had its effects on cats, certainly, but in trying to figure everything out, I became better acquainted with fossil cats and cat-like predators and discovered their story is quite a saga, too.

It was too much for one book, especially one’s first.

Someone suggested a series, and I figured it would be good to start with house cats–the cat family (and its fossil relatives) all have the same general body plan and everyone is familiar with Fluffy, so it’s a good place to begin a series. Also, it’s good practice for writing before I get into the more complicated zoological and geoscience business.

Or so I thought. Actually writing is hard, no matter what your topic. I have learned so much, and I think my blogging reflects that over the last year or so. This work on cat books is having a beneficial effect on all my writing.

So, anyway, now the plan is for an ebook series of 50 essays (not a listicle) each on:

  • House cats
  • The cat family
  • Sabertoothed cats
  • Nimravids (am going to have to work on this title some–these cat-like sabertoothed predators that were actually probably caniforms are fascinating, but no one has heard of them; may work the Order Carnivora and its origins into this, but not to worry–this one is far in the future

Meanwhile, Popocatepetl keeps everyone on edge, down in Mexico, and the Sunday Morning Volcano is fun. Over the next two weeks (or however long it takes to get the book out), I won’t be doing much here except live-blogging Popocatepetl (see link at top of page). There is a Feline Friday post scheduled for tomorrow, and a Morning Volcano post this Sunday, but otherwise things are going to quiet down as I finish this up.

Thank you so much for following and reading this blog, and thus encouraging me to continue writing about things that I love.


Featured image: Jo-Knopf, at Pixabay Public domain.



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Book Preview: A cat’s world is centered around territory.


Getting territory and holding onto it stresses any cat. They may seem laid back and care-free, but millions of years of evolution have hardwired into all cats the need for their own space.

This even shows up indoors. In multiple-cat households, for instance, the best of feline buddies still spend as much time as possible out of each other’s line of sight, even when just a few feet apart. They also respect one another’s favorite sleeping spots or other core areas (or else!).

What is a domestic cat’s territory like outside?

Short answer: It’s very similar to any cat territory, but it doesn’t correspond to the owner’s property.

Details: Congratulations! You’ve just moved into a quiet suburban neighborhood with lots of fenced-in back yards that contain sheds, trees, and other artificial and natural structures that add three dimensions (and more potential territory) to a cat’s world.

As you and your kitty relax by the window, you note three other cats out there: a white one two yards down, sitting high up on a shed roof; a ginger cat walking along the fence across the alley; and a furry melange of calico spots that just ducked under the laurel bush in your new back yard–ah! there it goes up a tree. What a large, healthy-looking cat!

Good! you say to yourself. With all these neighbors, Fluffy won’t be lonely while I’m at work.

Meanwhile, Fluffy is seriously considering switching over to 100% indoor living. Enormous Spots out there obviously owns the back yard; all the other cats must be faced, too. Continue reading