ASK DR. SCHELLING
The time your cat spends outside can increase the risk of flea and tick
infestation on your kitty and in your home.
Cats who are indoor-only but live with a dog who comes and goes freely are at risk also. To learn about the signs of an infection and measures you can take to control fleas and ticks, read my in-depth article, DANGER OF TICKS AND FLEAS FOR CATS.
I need help reading my cat's tail language. For instance, when I invite
Kitty (that's actually her name) to join me on the couch, her tail
twitches a bit, but that's about it. Five minutes later, she jumps
on the couch, happy and purring. Interpreter, please!
– Learning to speak "cat"
Cats' tails tell many tales. Here's a summary of what our various tail positions and movements mean:
Straight up or slightly curved forward – content.
Arched forward above our bodies — a happy greeting.
Behind us, with a slight twitch — thinking, deciding, possibly getting annoyed; sometimes the tail twitches as we're preparing for a major pounce.
Behind us, twitching more deliberately, usually in a wider arc — annoyed, frustrated or angry.
Puffed out — threatened, possibly feeling aggressive.
Tucked in near the hind legs — anxious and worried.
The above descriptions are generally for when we're standing or sitting upright. When we're sleeping, the tail could be just about anywhere. When we're dreaming, the tail might twitch because of something exciting happening in the dream.
Caveat: These tale language principles hold true for most cats, most of the time. But you may find the occasional cat who, for example, holds his tail at half-mast even when perfectly content, or uses her tail movements in unique ways to express moods, or perhaps commands to her humans.
Oh, one last thing. The five minute delay after your invitation? That's just to let you know that while Kitty doesn't obey commands, she does respectfully take your request under advisement.
Got a question for Fancy? Her email is
: Today's demanding kitty wants a grooming package that can handle the nuances and complexities of modern feline fur management. Yes, we generally do an impressive job of cleaning our coats, but we can have bad fur days just like you. Also, we like to delegate some maintenance jobs to humans. So we need a tool that can give us gentle massages, remove gunk and work out the kinks, and be comfortable for you to use. This tool has arrived—it's the Bamboo Cat Slicker Brush and Combs. The two combs take care of the detailing and flea-checking, and the reversible brush gets rid of excess fur and stimulates and soothes our magnificent outer layer. Use this purrsonal care item every day and I bet you and your exquisitely coiffed kitty will enjoy many productive grooming sessions followed by blissful catnaps.
FLING-AMA-STRING: The first time my human hung the Fling-Ama-String on the doorknob and turned it on, I was mesmerized and mystified for a moment. I had never seen anything quite like it. Then I sprang into action. I jumped. And pawed. And snatched. And grabbed. And won! What fun! The string – my nemesis – appears and disappears quickly. But I, the master kitty, am too clever for it, as I can anticipate when it will be most vulnerable to my full-on claw and tooth attack. The Fling-Ama-String includes a high-speed option for advanced hunters who want to take the game to the next level. For more sedate or older cats, the human can start and stop the device so that even the most mellow cat can join in the playfulness.
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If you're reading this, you're probably
an ailurophile. Ailurophile means one
who loves cats.
Copyright © 2007-2009 The Cat Health Mewsletter Dr. Christianne Schelling All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian.