March 1, 2021

Book Review- Engineering For Cats

Engineering for Cats Book Cover Engineering for Cats
Mac Delaney
Workman Publishing
August 21, 2018

There may be 100 million pet cats in this country, but who says that means they’re domesticated? Sure, they clean themselves, use a litter box, and hunt rodents, but cats are also territorial beasts who think furniture is meant for claw sharpening, and that running water is always better than still. In this inventive, surprisingly funny, and highly entertaining and practical book, Mac Delaney addresses the quirks of cat behavior through the mindset of an aerospace engineer (because that’s what he is!)—and gives us 10 projects that solve the most common sources of friction affecting cats and their doting owners. Take that preference for running water. Because cats don’t trust still water (in the wild, a stagnant pool can harbor disease), they’re often dehydrated and cranky. Here’s how to build not one but two different fountains that will provide fresh, moving water. Or another problem: Cats, diminutive in stature, can feel inferior around humans, causing them to act out in negative ways. The solution: Erect a cat shelf on your wall, giving your pet a prime perch and a height advantage. And that furniture scratching problem? Construct the Cat Cave—it has angled surfaces for optimal scratching, a curved top for ergonomic lounging, a carpeted interior for perfect napping, and an escape route out back for emergency exits. For any cat lover with a modicum of DIY skills, here’s a whole new approach to living happily ever after with your pet(s).

Engineering for Cats by Mac Delaney was a real surprise. When I head the title, I thought it was a cute gift book featuring cats illustrating various engineering principles, rather like a math book for cats that might show a cat adding three sardines plus two sardines. Boy, was I wrong. Engineering for Cats is an easy-to-understand book showing people how to build things for cats to use. What kind of things? Well, something as simple as a shelf for your cat, or a scratching post, or, if you’re really ambitious, an exercise wheel. In between these extremes, the author gives you instructions for a water fountain, bunk beds, and a litter box cabinet. (There are ten building projects in all).

At the beginning of each chapter, Delaney rates the difficulty of the project, lists materials and approximate cost, and how long it should take to build. For instance, the water fountain rates as low difficulty, low to medium cost and should take one to two hours. The exercise wheel, on the other hand, has high difficulty, high cost, and will take 10 to 20 hours to make.

The instructions are clear and there are step-by-step pictures to help you construct your project. At the beginning of the book, Delaney goes over some basic construction information to help you understand what you might be doing with each object.

It was fascinating to see how things were put together, and I learned things about construction that I didn’t know. This is the perfect book for the cat person who also likes do-it-yourself projects. Engineering for Cats makes me want to go buy a hammer and saw.

review done exclusively for Pet Radio by:

Susan M. Ewing
Past president, Cat Writers’ Association
Past secretary, Dog Writers Association of America
Award-winning author, 14 animal books
“Cats! Train Your Owner” (Flash Cards)
Numerous magazine articles
Pet columnist

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