Barbara J. King

Friday Animal Blog

The Friday Animal Blog is on brief hiatus as I recover from oral surgery.

April 2, 2010

Earlier this week, Gray had multiple teeth extracted by our veterinarian. Gray’s an ex-feral who now inhabits our master bedroom and bathroom. Because he’s FIV positive, and has a lot of secondary infections, we need to keep him away from our other cats. Our vet felt he’d feel better, and eat better too, if some of his less-than-healthy teeth were removed.

For years, Gray had a pretty tough life, living outdoors at a public boat landing, and struggling with the results of his FIV. He has it easier now.

He’s been a fighter all along—in the sense that he has a healthy vital spirit. He’s always gentle with us, and endures with grace our treating his condition. A loud purr follows anything we do for him. I think he’s so happy to be safe, warm, and well-fed, that a little discomfort in the name of better health just doesn’t get him down.

So it’s not going too far to say I take inspiration from Gray this week!

Selected Works

Why are animals so irresistible to us? Why do we live with and care so deeply about them? From the famous "art caves" of ice-age Europe, to the ancient villages where animals were first domesticated, to stories of apes, whales, dogs, and cats doing fascinating things today, King weaves together a scenario about the animal-human bond that encompasses our past, present and future.
Can scientists discover a prehistory of religion just as they have traced the evolution of technology, language, and art? What does compassion in chimpanzees, or burial patterns in our human ancestors and Neanderthals, tell us about the origins of religion? In Evolving God, named a Top Ten Religion Book for 2007 by the American Library Association, Barbara King explores these questions.
How do chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas-- the African apes -- communicate using body postures and gestures? Using her many years of experience studying these apes, Barbara King answers this question in a book that offers a new perspective on the evolution of language.