Cats in the Sun

by Hans Silvester. Chronicle, 144 pages. $29.95.
Mr. Silvester, a travel photographer noted for patience as well as skill, must have used all of the former in his study of cats on the Greek islands. Such cats are not household pets, although a few do, by persistent association with particular humans, establish rights to particular doorsteps. The islanders view them rather as independent fellow citizens whose efficiency in rodent control entitles them to respect and support. Mr. Silvester, who evidently enjoyed his reputation as “the fool who runs after the cats,” photographed cats dozing, playing, arguing, politely accepting small tributes, and marching in dignified procession with a prospective source of provender. He filmed one cat airborne between gunwale and quay with a fish in its mouth, another dealing with an uncivil dog. and another working a mouse through twelve amazing shots. These must be the finest pictures ever taken of cats, both for the variety of the actions and for the absence of any attempt by the photographer to make the animals anything but their feline selves. The backgrounds of soft-edged, human-scale island architecture are an additional delight.