A Cat Named Darwin by William Jordan
How a Stray Cat Changed a Man into a Human Being

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Bill Jordan's life changed forever the day a stray cat nesting under his bougainvillea bit him on the hand. A reformed biologist, Jordan had no particular love for animals and felt vaguely contemptuous of those who did — until the cat, beckoning with a wink and a yawn, led him on a journey to exotic lands, strange cultures, and fascinating discoveries. As their bond deepened and the cat's health began to fail, Jordan was forced into a commitment more devoted and sincere than any he had known before.

Puzzling through his own feelings, he came to some remarkable conclusions: that those we love live in the synapses and molecules of memory, and that as long as we exist, they exist as part of our brain. It doesn't matter to our neurons whether the loved one is animal or human; the mechanism is the same. Even so, the two relationships are quite different: A cat is a creature with whom one shares solitude; with a human being, on the other hand, solitude generally means a failed relationship. And while communion with animals is usually considered inferior to communication with human beings, the truth is that the need for companionship is a human trait. In the absence of other companionship, the human mind will grow around any living thing like a vine. Bill Jordan learned that the first time your mind grows around a cat, you don’t realize you have fallen in love until it’s too late.

About William Jordan

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William Jordan is the author of Divorce Among the Gulls: An Uncommon Look at Human Nature (1991). The Washington Post called it "a dazzling range of philosophical speculations about the meaning of life, " and Noel Perrin in the Chicargo Sun-Times described Jordan as "a major new talent," adding, "move over, Stephen Jay Gould. Make way, Barry Lopez. Here comes William Jordan to join you." Jordan has a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of California. He lives in Culver City, California.
Published November 12, 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 208 pages
Genres: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Cat Named Darwin

Kirkus Reviews

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A nature writer's transforming encounter with a stray cat, described in a perfectly pitched account that nicely balances sentiment and science.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Cat Named Darwin: How a Str...

Publishers Weekly

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Cat fanciers will enjoy this memoir by a 45-year-old man who lived alone until his heart was stolen by an orange cat. Jordan, a biologist (Divorce Among the Gulls: An Uncomm

Sep 30 2002 | Read Full Review of A Cat Named Darwin: How a Str...

Publishers Weekly

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He describes how Darwin insinuated himself more deeply into his consciousness until Jordan finally allowed Darwin to sleep in his bed ("Thus Darwin and I became man and cat").

| Read Full Review of A Cat Named Darwin: How a Str...

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