Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Research: Catwatching

Another thing I'll be doing in this blog is sharing some of my research with you.  So here's a book that helped me write Varjak Paw: Catwatching, by Desmond Morris.


It was very important to me that the cats in Varjak should be as much like real cats as possible.  So I did a lot of research into cat behaviour and body language, and of all the books I read (there were many!), this one was the most helpful:



Morris really gives you a sense of what it must be like to be a cat, and to experience the world through a cat's senses - most of them much sharper than human senses.  For example, he tells us:

"Humans in the prime of life can hear noises up to about 20,000 cycles per second.  Dogs can manage up to about 35,000 to 40,000 cycles per second, so that they are able to detect sounds that we cannot.  Cats, on the other hand, can hear sounds up to an astonishing 100,000 cycles per second...  This acoustic ability explains why cats sometimes appear to have supernatural powers.  They hear and understand the ultrasonic sounds that precede a noisy activity and respond appropriately before we have even realized that something unusual is going to happen."

The book is packed with this kind of information; Morris answers almost every question you could have about cats, sometimes very surprisingly.  If you enjoyed Varjak Paw, I can highly recommend it!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I did not know what preceded the creation varjak a serious job. You are a true professional!

SF Said said...

Thank you, that's really kind - I do my best!

There were lots of other books and inspirations behind Varjak Paw - I'll be writing about them more in this blog. I'm hoping to post something here most weeks, so come back in a week or two and hopefully there'll be something new to read about!