The best books for serious thinkers about cats and dogs

Who am I?

I am, first and foremost, a lover of cats and dogs. I have been fascinated by these animals ever since I was a child. Where did they come from? Why are we so strongly bonded to them? What is the future of our relationship? These are questions I have asked myself for decades, and which I finally answer in Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs. I bring to this book not only my lifelong love of these animals, but a deep-thinker’s exploration of history, law, and science. 

I wrote...

Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs

By David Grimm,

Book cover of Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs

What is my book about?

Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs is the critically acclaimed book by award-winning science writer, David Grimm, a deputy news editor at Science. How did dogs and cats evolve from wild animals to beloved companions? What road have they taken from gods to devils and back again over the course of human history?

What’s really going on inside of their heads? What legal and societal revolutions have transformed them into the most valued and protected animals on the planet? And what is the future of our relationship with these creatures? You’ll learn the answers to all of this and more in a book The New York Times calls, “An engaging account of how dogs and cats came to be our best friends.”

The books I picked & why

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Pets in America

By Katherine C. Grier,

Book cover of Pets in America: A History

Why this book?

This book was one of my primary go-to’s when I was writing my own book, Citizen Canine. It’s an in-depth exploration of the changing status of cats and dogs throughout American history, and it’s fascinating. Chock-full of photos and great anecdotes, it’s a must for anyone who wants to take a deep dive into the American history of pets. 

The Cat in Ancient Egypt

By Jaromir Malek,

Book cover of The Cat in Ancient Egypt

Why this book?

This is a great coffee table book. Tons of lovely pictures and illustrations. A must for any cat lover who wants to get a better sense of the role—and place—of cats in Ancient Egypt. I still look at it from time to time because I enjoy the pictures so much. 

Classical Cats

By Donald W. Engels,

Book cover of Classical Cats: The Rise and Fall of the Sacred Cat

Why this book?

This book is full of amazing, surprising, and sometimes heartbreaking stories of how the status of cats changed during the Middle Ages. I learned a ton from this book. Even if you think you know everything about cats, you’re bound to be surprised by many of the stories here. A must-read for cat lovers and history buffs.


By Allen Anderson, Linda Anderson,

Book cover of Rescued: Saving Animals from Disaster: Life-Changing Stories and Practical Suggestions

Why this book?

Hurricane Katrina was one of the most transformative events in our relationship with cats and dogs. This book charts some of the incredible rescues that took place in the aftermath of this epic disaster. Heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure, it will inspire those who care about animals to care even more—and perhaps even volunteer themselves.

For the Prevention of Cruelty

By Diane L. Beers,

Book cover of For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States

Why this book?

For those who want to learn more about the meaning and history of animal rights, this is one of the most informative books I’ve read on the rise of the American animal welfare and animal rights movements. Even if you don’t agree with everything in these pages, you’ll come away with a new appreciation of the struggles to protect dogs, cats, and other animals in our modern society.

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