From the December 2014 Issue
Meowing can be endearing, but lets face it: When our cats meow to excess, it can sometimes drive us crazy. The same sort of meowing that is not a problem at 6 p.m. can be a huge problem at 4 a.m. when the owner is trying to sleep, says behaviorist Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. What cat owners consider excessive meowing in cats depends largely on what time of day it is.
In our quest to eat healthy food, we often extend that enthusiasm to our cats. We evaluate their diets with the same scrupulous care we give our own, but commercial cat food can still remain somewhat of a mystery. We question if preservatives are safe. Should we avoid genetically modified ingredients? What about artificial coloring?
Of all the animals in shelters, young kittens are usually the most at risk. Theyre fragile, prone to infectious illnesses and have special care needs. While some are placed in foster homes to be hand-raised until they are old enough for adoption, many shelters euthanize them as soon as they are brought in because they dont have the infrastructure or staff to care for them.
Demystifying the ingredients in commercial food is only one step in providing a healthy diet for our cats. The ongoing challenge is preventing the spread of food-borne illness to animals and people in the household. At last count, manufacturers had recalled five of six dog and cat foods this year because of possible contamination with the bacteria salmonella. The sixth recalled food was suspected of containing the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes that can also cause serious infection in humans and animals.
Q. I have two cats, a 15-year-old, 6-pound domestic calico with mid-length hair and a 7-year-old, 8-pound part-Himalayan, also with mid-length hair. Both have developed matted hair on both sides of their hindquarters. I was able to shave the calicos off and the hair grew back OK. The big cat wont let me shave him. What causes these mats?
If you want to understand how your cat can effortlessly leap on counters, you could study takeoff velocity (TOV) and hind-limb length. Or watch Alley, who made the 2015 Guinness World Records as the longest-jumping domestic cat. Her broad jump: six feet, with her TOV from a standstill.