I have a problem I don't think I've ever seen in your column. I am a beagle, and ever since I was a puppy I haven't felt very doglike. I dislike fetching or playing with the frisbee, I despise going hunting with humans, I'm not interested in hanging with other dogs and sniffing their behinds, and I can find no earthly reason to wag my tail. In fact, I am much more comfortable in the company of cats. I've even gone so far as to try to imitate them, which includes licking my fur, playing with string, and trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to climb trees. Once when I tried to purr, the humans thought I was sick and took me to the vet. What am I to do?
Trapped in a Dog's Body
For those who do not feel they belong to their species, life can be trying. Your problem is not dissimilar to German Shepherds who want to be Poodles or Siamese who believe they are Tabbies, except that your condition is far more serious. Your letter does not specify whether your human companions preferred the company of cats to dogs when you were young, which could have given you an inferiority complex. No matter what the cause, you should seek therapy as soon as possible.
I am a long haired cat and my fur mats up like you wouldn't believe so that there are big ugly clumps of fur strategically placed over my body. When my human gets done using the scissors on me the results are just as bad. What should I do?
Matted in Denver
You neglected to tell me whether you are an indoor or outdoor cat. Sometimes that makes all the difference in the world. If you're an outdoor cat, many cats find that "wild, outdoorsy" look quite sexy. Fluffy has a friend who certainly does. However, if you live indoors, there are numerous fur care products that can help. Ask your salon professional.
Every two weeks I go to Petsmart to get my fur done. How much should I tip the stylist?
Nothing. You're a cat. Just purr.
I am so sick with grief I can barely write this letter. I just lost the last of my litter to the wheels of a Buick. Now I have no children left. All five are gone, three to automobile accidents, and two because they liked to curl up in warm engine compartments. And I can't have any more kittens! Farmer Bob took care of that last month. Fluffy, if you can, tell every mother out there to keep her children away from warm engines and roadways.
Anguished in Iowa
My heart goes out to you. I had a cousin who lost many a kitten to a Ford V-8. Eventually most of her fur fell out and she became a catnip addict. When I last heard from her, there was talk about putting her to sleep. Before this happens to you, get help from a qualified therapist. Please.
And for you other mothers out there, I cannot stress enough the importance of education. Even if you don't live on a farm, with all its inherent dangers, there are fast cars, boys with M-80's, and drunken macho humans with guns who are pathologically malevolent toward felines. You must warn your kittens about talking to strangers, as well as teach them to look both ways before crossing the street. If you don't believe me, read the next letter.
I was play with my friends out back of the barn when a drunken redneck came up to us with an enticing piece of chicken. Naturally, Skeeter and I made for the tall weeds (because we didn't like the smell of him), but Puffball was too taken with the chicken to notice. When she reached the redneck, he grabbed her and twisted her neck, chuckling with glee as he did it. Then he ate the chicken himself. I'm now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and in therapy, but I still have terrible dreams. How can humans do this?
Some cats just don't use the brains they were born with. It's sad to see it when their lives end in such a senseless manner, but as I keep telling my readers, it's a dangerous world out there. There are psychopathic humans out there, as Fluffy well knows. I have been accosted on many occasions, and if it weren't for my superior skills at running, hiding, and climbing, I'd be a goner for sure. The most frightening incident occurred a few years ago before I got my radio show, when an irate drunken farmer came at me with a pump action shotgun. Fortunately I smelled danger and was able to duck into a crawl space until he lost interest. We should always remain vigilant to the fact that the world can be a dangerous place.
This may seem like a trivial problem to you, but I just moved into a new house in a nice neighborhood and I want to do a lot of entertaining. However, I am at a loss to what's proper and what is not. Perhaps you can help.
New kid on the block
Fluffy does a lot of entertaining too, and whenever I'm stumped I turn to the Meowtha Stewart Book of Entertaining. It's chock full of helpful hints for every occasion, such as keeping little potpurries around the house filled with your scent in order to make your guests feel welcome. However, Fluffy knows a few things not covered in Meowtha's book. Always have plenty of Pounce and toys available for your guests, and keep the water dishes filled. And if you're serving catnip, always, I repeat, always have a designated driver.
I am a male mixed-breed cat who is in love with a lovely Persian kitty who doesn't even know I exist. If I could only get her out of the house, I could sing to her the love songs that are deep within my heart, but she won't even look out the window when I'm there, much less meet me out by the fence. I've even left semi-disemboweled sparrows out on her doorstep to show my true love for her, but she turns up her nose in the air. There are times I think she's playing hard to get, but my co-workers in the rodent control industry tell me she thinks she's too good for the likes of a working stiff like me. Tell me Fluffy, do I have a chance?
Heartbroken in Hoboken
This looks like Romeo and Juliet all over again. If you really want to get depressed you should rent that video. It's the love story between two members of warring families, the Meowtagues and Catulets which ends ultimately in the lovers' tragic deaths. Don't let this happen to you! Any cat that would turnaway a freshly killed sparrow probably isn't worth your devotion!
I've been reading your column for many, many years. Your advice to us felines is always short, good, and to the point. About 10 years ago, you ran a short poem about kicking those "sticking ones rear in the air when scratched" reflexes. I seem to have missplaced it. Can you run it again?
Cookies and Cream
Dear Cookies and Cream,
My research staff had a little trouble with your request, but after much gnashing of fangs they finally located the column to which you refer. When your human reaches down to pet you, simply recite this little ditty to yourself:
When being scratched upon the back
Be careful that you take this tack
Don't wave your hiney in the air
So folks can see your derriere
Around April of 1997 I was vising a fellow feline from the neighborhood and her human roomates started asking me to stay over for a couple of days. The problem is when I go back home, my humans seem really distraught but excited to see me. So I stay a couple days at each house because I don't want any hurt feelings. I feel like I'm leading a double life...Do you have any suggestions?
You don't mention your age, but Fluffy is going to assume that you are relatively young and still struggling with issues of dependence and that sometimes overwhelming temptation to succumb to a regrettable trait which all we felines share, curiosity. While Fluffy sees nothing inherently wrong with cats cultivating lots of human friends who will give them treats and a place to sleep, bear in mind that your primary humans are the ones who provide your healthcare benefits, and you are right to consider their feelings and sensitivities, however silly. And also, Fluffy has heard more than one anecdote from cats who have been held captive by unscrupulous humans, (just because they offer Tuna does not mean they can be trusted), and one particularly sad story where a cat returned home after several weeks of summer vacation only to find his humans had moved to another state without him when he couldn't be reached. While this lifestyle has been successful for some cats, it is not without its dangers, so be judicious.
Lately I have found myself feeling very anxious because I keep thinking I've forgotten to cover up in my litterbox. Sometimes I have to go back numerous times to check. Also, I find myself worrying more and more about cleanliness and spend many hours each day performing tasks of personal hygiene. These activities are beginningto interfere with other demands on my time and attention. What's wrong with me?
You are displaying some of the symptoms of FOCD (Feline Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). This is a condition best treated by a professional. Great strides have been made controlling the symptoms, and with medication (Purrzac) and therapy, there is no reason to feel that you cannot get these impulses under control. Talk with your veterinarian.
What makes you think you're so smart???
My very high SAT scores.
Yes, unless you can find enough ways to annoy the new man in her life (and your home) so that he will want a divorce. Try hawking up a furball in his slipper, for example. Use your own imagination. After all, you are a CAT!
Boy am I steamed! I went to the Vet two days ago, and, well, to put it as politely as I can, Something's Missing! Not only have I been cranky and miserable, but all my friends I've talked to say that when the intitial pain goes away I won't ever feel that spark of passion again. Let me tell you, this is going to put more than a crimp in my social life. I'm so mad I've got half a mind to claw up the good sofa. What makes people think they can get away with this, and can it be reversed?
Missing a Couple of Things in Tennessee
Listen Buster, if all you can think about is the crimp it puts in your social life, neutering isn't the only thing the Vet should have done to you. Do you realize how many unwanted kittens there are in the world thanks to Toms like you? You should be ashamed of yourself, and thankful that you aren't able to run out on another litter of offspring. If you want to hear about a real problem, read the next letter.
Ever since I was declawed I'm not the self assured cat I used to be. I feel so helpless, especially when Rex (not his real name) growls at me. I used to be able to put him in his place with a rake of my claws on his nose, but now I'm reduced to climbing on the refrigerator and cowering. What can I do?
Declawing is an issued encountered by many of my readers. Unfortunately, your problem is compounded by the fact that your household includes the aforementioned Rex, which could prove quite dangerous to you. Normally, I'd advise you to leave that situation, but if you can't find a home that is free of Rex and others of his ilk, my advice is for you to try Lee's Press on Claws. They come in a variety of fashion lengths and colors, and can be used to deter Rex from his cruel abuse.
I am a single, short-hair female in my fours who can't seem to find a date. I live in the suburbs, so there's no shortage of males, and I know my appearance isn't a turnoff. I wash myself regularly and eat those little biscuits that are supposed to keep my teeth clean and my fur nice and shiny. What am I doing wrong?
Perplexed in St. Louis
Mabye you aren't doing anything wrong. Sometimes it's not your fault at all, and all you need to do is keep trying. But if I were you, I'd take a good look in the mirror (without submitting to the urge to bat at your reflection) and see if you're doing everything you possible can to be all the cat you can be. If you still can't seem to find that someone special, send for my pamphlet, "Fluffy's Dating Tips."
There's a five dollar bet riding on this. I say dry food is better for you. My husband says that canned is better. Who's right?
My boyfriend licks himself in public. It doesn't matter where we are or who we are with, whenever he gets the urge, he just lifts his hind leg and goes at it with his tongue. What can I do?
Mortified in Memphis
This is a problem that is not uncommon. Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about it if he doesn't respond to gentle prodding. If you intend to stay with your boyfriend, you will probably have to live with it. As the old saying goes, you can clean his fur, but you can't take him out.
I've been reading your column for years and I have never seen a problem like this before. Whenever I'm in the middle of something important, such as a job interview or big date, I always seem to get a furball and spend embarrassing moments coughing and hacking until I leave a little mess on the carpet. What causes this problem and can I find help for it?
What you are suffering from is known in the veterinary circles as physiomatic stress response syndrome. You have been conditioned to cough up furballs as a means to remove your focus from important events. You should seek therapy to eliminate this problem, as well as try some relaxation techniques an hour before your date or interview in order to relieve any anxieties.
Why do cats have nine lives and dogs have only one?
We need 'em.
Are you single?
Fluffy, Ruler of All Usenet
While I am very flattered, I want you to know that my staff withheld your letter from me for several months, because the last time I received one expressing romantic interest, I disappeared for a three week fling. But alas, to answer your question, I am a widow. My fourth husband, Boris, died tragically several years ago in an unfortunate skiing accident. Thank you for your interest, but I'm afraid no one could ever take his place. But I'll keep you in mind for my next life.
I am a ten yr old male cat living in a house hold with three other kitties. one of them being another male. I'm not sure if this is normal behavior or not, but he has been trying to have 'relations' w/ me for over two months now. My human tries to stop him, but he won't leave me alone. We are both neutered and he doesn't try this with the two females in the house. Please help!!
This is a difficult situation, since it seems that since you must live together, you don't want to hurt his feelings. Try letting him know gently, but firmly that you are not interested. If he still doesn't get the message, slap him firmly up the side of the head.
On Christmas Eve my owner gave me an early Christmas present of catnip. He held the bag to give me a sniff and I went wild! I shoved my face into the bag and pigged out. Before he could get my head out I already ate quite a bit. I'm not too sure but my owner thought I was hallucinating and basically, well, stoned. I was meowing slowly but with a high pitch (which I don't normally do) and I was staring off into space. Was I basically as he put it, "stoned"? Is there any dangerous effects from over-use? Any addiction? Should I be eating it or smelling it? Thanks.
With catnip, as with all things in life, the best approach lies in moderation. As long as you confine your usage to occasional social or recreational use, getting a little "stoned" once in a while never hurt any kitty. Just be careful not to overindulge as a means of tempering your frustrations and running from your problems. That way will only lead you to the Boots Ford clinic, as full-blown catnip addiction is almost impossible to overcome alone. Be moderate!
My human companions, for some bizarre reason, do not eat meat, and yet I dine on the most exquisite cuts of grade-a canned. I'm wondering what prevents them from partaking in the most excellent of cuisines?
Carnivorous in Colorado
Your human companions subscribe to that strange philosophy known as vegetarianism. While it is true that their teeth are not designed for the ripping of raw flesh, their bodies are able to accomodate meat quite well. However, there are some individuals, such as those with whom you share your lodging, who find the eating of meat abhorrent. Do not worry overmuch about it. Strange are the ways of humans. However, if they begin to offer you soy products, your best bet would be to claw your way to the door. They have no right to impose their silly standards on you.
My human sometimes gets really lazy and does not clean out my litterbox as often or as well as my delicate sensitivities demand. I know that she thinks she has a life with other more important things to do, but she doesn't seem to realize that my sense of smell is much more acute than hers, and she won't bother until SHE is offended. What can I do to persuade her to be more considerate of my needs?
Holding my nose in Harrisburg
I can't believe I even have to answer this question. You are far too passive to belong to the feline species. Can you honestly tell me that it hasn't occurred to you to relieve yourself right in front of her bedroom door where she is absolutely assured of stepping in it barefoot? It is a not-too-subtle message that even the most obtuse of humans cannot fail to comprehend. Shame on you!
Why is it that I'm scared of my meowmie's feet? When she walks up to me to pet me, I freak and run. I was a stray who was in a shelter for 4 weeks of my life suffering from a bad cold and a severe eye infection. I now live in a nice cozy apartment with my adopted brother Mookie, who is not afraid of meowmie. Is there anything that can help??? When she is sitting or lying down I'm okay and can curl up with her though. Help!
Sometimes, even though we think we have transcended the traumas of kittenhood, our subconscious minds still plague us with unfounded fears and panic attacks. Perhaps you should consider some therapy for your "inner kitten". If you try this and still have problems, then the answer may lie in a previous life, and I would recommend some past life regression while under hypnosis. I personally had some harrowing traumas in my third and fourth lives, and it was only through reliving them with the aid of hypnosis that I became the centered, confident, deeply spiritual cat that I am now in my seventh life. Also there are a great many support groups that deal with issues pertinent to adult survivors of kitten abuse. Check around.
I have been living happily with my humans for 5 years. I am probably 7-9 years old, and have suddenly been very bothered by my own tail! For several weeks now, I have been pouncing on the pesky thing and causing quite a bit of damage back there. Despite all their poking and snooping, my owner and my vets aren't sure what the problem is and are considering putting me to sleep to put me out of my misery! Though I don't like all these trips back and forth to the vet, or the confinement, sedatives, and other remedies they are using to try to keep me from shredding my tail, I don't think I'm ready to try kitty heaven yet! What can I do?? They're obviously getting desparate!
Fluffy is always so saddened by stories such as yours. Ordinarily I would suggest some counseling, but your situation obviously requires immediate attention. Fluffy suspects that you probably have some unresolved issues around anger, which you are turning inward. First, you must get a handle on what or who you are really mad at, and then find some ways to release some of that anger so that you can stop taking it out on your tail. Try visualizing the object of your rage, and honestly expressing your feelings, even though they are not there to hear you. (That's probably for the best, anyway). Use phrases like, "When you feed me that awful dry food, I feel like I could climb up and claw your eyes out" (or whatever nasty phrases come to mind). If your anger runs really deep, you might try clawing and biting a pillow or sofa. Even though it sounds silly, give it a try. It might surprise you how much better you'll feel. And do seek out some therapy. As a last resort, consider having your tail removed. To paraphrase humans, there's no point in throwing out the Kitty with the Litter!
Is it OK to run over feline cats with a lawnmover? I do it every sunday
Is it okay to squeeze your "family jewels" with a pair of vice grips?
Ask a stupid question...
I have a personal problem, When I use the litterbox, I do not cover up my
stuff, I scrape the sides and even the foor outside but cant seen to cover it up. My master doesn't understand and calls me stupid, (which does not help my self esteme). I try to cover it up but I just cant. Is there any hope for me. How do I cope with my master calling me stupid?
I have been asked this question before, and what comes to mind is that a part of you is expressing some unconscious hostility and, deep down, you DON"T WANT to cover it up! Do you have some anger at your human that you are afraid to express? Do you secretly enjoy how much this annoys him? I suspect that either this is the case, or that you are just plain not very bright. If it's the latter, then bless your heart, just suck up as much as you possibly can and settle for affection in place of admiration!
i am thinking about adopting a kitten. BUT, i have 10 canaries that i also want to keep. it is possible to teach a kitten to leave my birds alone?
need to know
need to know
You can try. While it is possible to teach a cat to feign indifference while you are watching, as you know, deep down we cats are predators, so as for the ultimate safety of your canaries when your back is turned, Fluffy makes no guarantees. After all, canaries ARE delicious. Sorry!
Are you a male or female? How old are you?
Do you have nine lives?
Are you a cat that can type?
What gang are you in?
My! And I thoughts CATS were supposed to be the curious ones! I am female, I will be 8 on April Fool's day (as you probably know, this makes me middle-aged in cat years), God gave all cats nine lives because he knew we'd need 'em, I am quite proficient at the keyboard provided I keep my claws clipped, and I march to my own drummer and would never consider belonging to a gang as I am far too independent to submit any sort of conformity. I hope this satisfies your curiosity, Jeff.
My master is so inconsiderite
I moved in the joint a coulple of months ago. And you know it's real diffelcult find a good pee-spot around the house. Well I fianlly found the perfect the spot. It's this fuzzy stuff on the floor of his room. Now he expects me to go outside on the cold hard ground.
Owners can be SO selfish. While I'm sure that you can still find places inside to go where the results will remain unnoticed for a while, this practice can be dangerous, should your human stumble upon them later. Perhaps you could bring up the possibility of a litterbox? I know that this isn't as pleasant a facility as shag carpet, but sometimes even we must compromise in order to keep the peace.
My owner is on vacation, I didn't quite get how long he said he was going to be.
I thought he just went to that singles bar down the block. He left me lots of food, probably a weeks worth. I ate all in two scrmpches meals.
Day 3: I'm Hungary!!!
Signed lost in a foodless void!!!
I can only hope that your home is infested with vermin. Your only other alternative is to call 911 should the situation become desperate!
Our Cat is loved and cared for compassionatly, she has her own space, she never goes hungry; yet, she bites me and my family, and is very cruel at times. Other times she seems real nice. What is with this Cat?
There are two plausible explanations for your cat's behavior. One is that she adores you and that these are love bites that you are misinterpretting. The other is that she is just plain, well, a bitch. Let us hope for both your sakes that it's the former.
your so kewl. Your owner is too. Have a nice day :)
Well. Thank yew.
Do you really eat that Entrees Du Chat food?
Uh oh, that embarrassing question about product endorsements. Yes. And Sally Struthers really sends money to those starving kids and Rogaine really grows hair.