By Julia Williams
It goes without saying that we all love our pets and they love us back. I don’t think anyone would ever argue about that. Yet we may have a difference of opinion on the appropriate ways to give and receive that love. Some pet owners like to hug their dog or cat, while others say that pets don’t really like or want hugs. (I believe it depends on the pet).
Some people let their pets show their love with copious licks, even smack dab on their mouth. Others, like me, are uncomfortable with the thought of letting a dog or cat’s tongue come into contact with our lips. I do let my cats lick me on my face, but I draw the line at mouth kissing.
Opinions aside, is it really safe to kiss your dog or cat? Are there any health risks to letting your pet give you a wet kiss on your mouth? Considering where dogs and cats often put their mouths, should we be letting them shower us with affectionate licks?
Veterinarian, dog lover and author Dr. Marty Becker admits to kissing his pets, but he also says “I know I probably shouldn’t.” Dr. Becker says veterinarians are divided about the issue of kissing pets. In a veterinary publication, Dr. Christina Winn recommended that vets kiss their clients’ pets as a way to foster better relationships with them (the people, not the pets). Other vets vehemently disagreed, on the grounds that it is actually possible to catch something from kissing your dog or cat. Zoonotic diseases – those that are transmissible from animals to humans – do exist. Nobody disputes that. The difference of opinion is in regard to the risk, i.e., the likelihood of getting a zoonotic disease from kissing your pet.
By Julia Williams
I read a lot of pet blogs and online pet magazines, and whenever I see a photo of a dog and cat snuggling, I have mixed emotions. One the one hand, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I just love seeing these photos because they seem to support what many pet owners have said – that dogs and cats can be best friends.
On the other hand, seeing these heartwarming examples of interspecies friendships often makes me feel a little wistful. You see, I am a diehard cat fan but I also like dogs and have wanted to add a woofie to my furry family for some time. One of the things that stops me – not the only thing, mind you – is my fear that it will upset my three cats and damage the extremely close relationship I have with each of them.
I say this because I know that while many cats and dogs can be great friends, not all dogs and cats will get along, and some may even be arch enemies. It really depends on several factors, including the individual dog, the individual cat, their interaction, and your household dynamics.
By Langley Cornwell
Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS) is an unusual medical condition that affects the brain and causes some very strange symptoms in cats. It can affect felines of all ages, but it is most common in adult cats and the cause is still somewhat of a mystery. Some of the experts suspect that this condition could be caused by seizures, a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder or a type of brain disorder.
Veterinarians describe the condition as a rippling motion that starts at the shoulders of the cat and runs all the way down to its tail, which explains why it’s sometimes called “rippling skin syndrome” or “twitchy cat syndrome.” Hyperesthesia is the word used to describe a heightened sensitivity that affects the senses and in this case, it’s the skin. You can actually see the skin moving in some cats but it can be hard to see in others, depending on the thickness and length of the cat’s fur.
Symptoms of the condition may occur in any breed or sex of cat. Even so, Abyssinians, Siamese, Burmese and Himalayan purebred cats seem to be predisposed to develop hyperesthesia.
FHS symptoms are occasional, so cats may act normally for long periods of time, eating their nutritious CANIDAE cat food and drinking plenty of water, but then an owner will notice some of the following symptoms.
By Julia Williams
You’ve probably heard these stereotypes about our feline friends: black cats are bad luck; tortoiseshell cats have a feisty attitude (“tortitude”); tuxedo cats are very loving; calico cats are always crazy; ginger cats are super friendly; while white cats are aloof or shy.
People (and even some veterinarians) pre-judge cats by the color of their coat all the time, but is there any truth to the stereotypes? Can a cat’s coat color predict behavior and personality?
Plenty of people who share their home with a tortoiseshell will tell you their cat does indeed have that aforementioned tortitude, but I have to wonder how much of that is perception rather than reality. In other words, perhaps they heard about tortitude somewhere along the way, and projected that stereotype onto their cat. If someone has a preconceived notion that all tortoiseshell cats act a certain way, they may subconsciously look for things that substantiate this. Then too, it seems to me that every housecat could be perceived as having a spunky attitude, at least some of the time. That is the nature of a cat, more or less.
“Black cat syndrome” is a somewhat different story. Shelter workers say that black cats typically have a much harder time getting adopted than their more colorful counterparts. Some believe it’s because of the “bad luck” myth and purported association with witches, while others think it has more to do with the fact that darker colored cats are harder to see and observe in the shelter cages.
By Julia Williams
Although I don’t currently have a special “Cat Guy” in my life, I love them all because a) they are fond of felines and b) they’re not afraid to admit it. Some men think it’s not cool or “macho” to love cats because they see felines as feminine creatures. I have many wonderful male friends who love cats, and they would all tell you there is zero truth to that stereotype.
Six of my favorite Cat Guys agreed to be interviewed for this article. They are: Dan Powers, the talented photographer for The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey; Fred, “Pop” to Stunning Cathy Keisha; John, “Dad-Guy” to the Island Cats; Kevin from Animal Shelter Volunteer Life; Scott from the Katnip Lounge; and Terry from Brian’s Home. Enjoy!
What’s the best gift your cat has ever given you?
Dan: We currently have seven cats in our home. The best gift is the absolute unconditional love they give to me and the comfort that comes from that love.
Fred: Her love and companionship when I was home recovering from back surgery.
John: Headbutts. I love when the cats headbutt me.
Kevin: I’m always amazed at how well all of our cats, especially those with whom we have the closest bonds, are able to read human emotions. Unsolicited cat snuggles, purrs and unconditional love are the most wonderful gifts after a tough day.
Scott: Unconditional love.
Terry: Without a doubt, the best gift my cat Brian has given me is that of patience and acceptance. Brian has just the right personality for a multi-cat household. He understands that everyone is different and sometimes it takes a little time for others to find the good in you. He is quick to show kindness, and will give up his treats or playtime if one of his sisters seems more interested. So Brian has taught me how to be patient and has helped me understand that everyone has needs of their own and that helping others is the most important thing you can do.
By Julia Williams
I have been told that my cats are spoiled. I suppose they are, but I don’t really consider that to be a bad thing. Spoiled human children often grow up to become snooty adults that no one wants to be around. Spoiled cats just live their cushy life and enjoy every minute of it. If a cat is able to convince a human that her purpose in life is to satisfy their every desire (no, of course I’m not talking about me), then rah rah for them! However, recently I’ve discovered that in regards to living that aforementioned cushy life, there are other cats who have it far, far better than mine.
Take, for example, the cats of Bob Walker and Frances Mooney. These nine felines definitely hit the cat lottery when they adopted this couple. The lucky kitties have the purrfect home (more on that in a minute). In fact, Bob and Frances call their home “The Cats’ House” because that’s exactly what they believe it to be.
Bob said “One day it finally came to us that we go off to work every day leaving the house to the animals. We realized that possession was nine-tenths of the law, that it was really their house so the least we could do was cater to their whims and desires and make it their house.”
They started with a simple catwalk and “one thing led to the next.” Ha ha! Before they knew it, they had 140 feet of elevated cat paths (the “Cat Highway”) throughout their home, with three different ways for the kitties to get up to the catwalk. One of their early inspirations for the catwalk came from a relative, who had a train track that went around the top of the room. Only instead of a train, Bob and Frances have cats zooming around overhead and through the walls to the next room.