A leading animal welfare expert and author of the book Cat Sense will explore feline behaviour at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival this weekend.
John Bradshaw, visiting fellow and honorary director of the Anthrozoology Institute in the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol, will discuss the mind of the domestic cat at a talk on Saturday, June 7.
Dr Bradshaw will dispel myths and explain what’s going on inside a cat’s head, as well as decoding a cat’s body language and describing their wild-inherited quirks.
Following last year’s BBC Two Horizon programme The Secret Life of the Cat, Dr Bradshaw will also be taking part in a discussion with tracking expert Alan Wilson and series producer Nicola Cook.
Dr Bradshaw said: “Unlike dogs, cats evolved as solitary hunters, and, while many have learned to live alongside humans and even feel affection for us, they still don’t quite “get us” the way dogs do, and perhaps they never will.
“But cats have rich emotional lives we need to respect and understand if they are to thrive in our company.”
In Cat Sense, Dr Bradshaw uses scientific research to explain the true nature of the cat.
Tracing the cat’s evolution from lone predator to domesticated companion, he shows that although cats and humans have been living together for at least 8,000 years, cats remain independent, predatory, and wary of contact with their own kind, qualities that often clash with today’s modern lifestyles.
Dr Bradshaw believes if people are to live in harmony with cats, they first need to understand their inherited quirks and body language – however small – and become more proactive in managing both their natural hunting instincts and their relationships with other cats.
Dr Bradshaw’s presentation will take place at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival on Saturday at 6pm in the EDF Energy Arena, Imperial Square, Cheltenham. Tickets, booked in advance, are £10 or £9 concessions.
The Secret Life of the Cat with Dr John Bradshaw, Professor Alan Wilson and Nicola Cook, will also take place on Saturday at 11.30am in the BBC Science Zone, Imperial Gardens, Cheltenham.
The talk is free and seats will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.