Greetings and Purrs

Welcome to the premiere issue of The Cat Health Mewsletter, created by veterinarian Dr. Christianne Schelling, a pioneer of the latest approaches to healthy feline lifestyles.

Cats are endlessly complex, fascinating, and mysterious. Thanks to these qualities, the Mewsletter will never run out of topics and articles relevant to you and your kitties. We will write forever!

Actually, the Mewsletter will regularly provide you with useful articles on subjects such as: understanding the importance of playing with your cat, solving behavior problems, humanely managing your cat's fine cutlery (aka, her claws), inspiring perfect litter box attendance, dealing with holidays, and keeping your cat happy, healthy, and safe throughout a long, robust life.

The Mewsletter will also report the product reviews of
“Fancy,” the Mewsletter office cat, and her staff. We'll feature it all—the good, the bad, and the hard-to-categorize: What did Fancy like? What did she totally ignore? You need to know and your cat will thank you with nonstop kneading of her paws!

All of our articles will be human-friendly: no unintelligible jargon. So read on, and let the purring begin!

Dr. Christianne Schelling

Is your cat overweight or just “big boned?” There’s a simple way to tell. Sit your cat on his haunches so that his body is vertical to the floor. An apron of skin that hangs below the abdomen is an indication that it’s not just the bones that are big. It’s the equivalent of a pot belly in humans. You should be able to feel the cat’s ribs by running your hands along his sides.

Obesity in domesticated cats is a common problem. One cause may be that we get fulfillment from feeding our cats, so we overdo it. Once kitty knows you're a pushover, he'll fine-tune his approach to get food out of you. You know the drill – plaintive meow, pleading eyes, forlornly looking at the empty food bowl. Here are some possible solutions to being wimpy in this manner:

  • Prefer to hang out with kitty in rooms other than the one with his food bowl. Out of sight, out of mind.

  • If you have a habit of loving kitty with food, try a play session instead. Kitty may just be looking for attention. After a round of fun, calorie-burning play, you can reward kitty with a treat or two, to simulate eating the caught prey.

  • Consider a food ball, a toy that deposits kibble as kitty pushes it around. The idea is that he gets some exercise while eating. Note that this is, at best, a partial solution; kitty can easily eat more calories than he uses up in rolling the ball around, and the food ball is not a substitute for a more relaxing meal at the food bowl.

  • Motivation: Extra weight can increase your cat's chances of arthritis and other diseases, and decrease his quality of life.

Be sure to take your cat in for regular veterinary checkups. The veterinarian will take kitty's weight and may discuss weight management issues and strategies with you based on your cat's unique situation. Before embarking on any weight loss program for your cat, consult with your veterinarian. Important: No crash diets. Cats should only lose weight in a slow, steady manner. (This article on the liver explains how drastic cutbacks in kitty's calories can damage that vital organ.)

Order Soft Paws now!

Do You Sing to Your Cats?

If so, why? What is it about our cats that makes us improvise nursery rhymes, or take a Frank Sinatra tune and substitute kitty's name in it?
 Do we think the melodic tone of a song is
  more pleasing to kitty? Do our cats just
   inspire us to be silly? Let us know which
   real or made-up songs you sing to your
  cats – and what they think of them.

 Contact us at:

With some preparation and adroit accommodation of kitty's nocturnal needs, you can enjoy this blissful sleep

There is almost nothing more soothing at the end of a long day then to turn out the lights, climb into bed, and settle in to a deep snooze with your trusty feline friend – the master sleeper. Until he wakes up three hours later and wants to play or be fed, or executes a full body wash inches from your face.

If you're reading this and it’s 1am, and you’re up because you had to give kitty a snack, you’ll probably be interested in this article: How to Train Your Cat to Let You Sleep Sometimes

Onions and shallots are good for humans, not for cats

Onions – and anything in the onion family, such as garlic, scallions, chives, and leeks – are dangerous for cats; they can cause a form of anemia. While your cat is unlikely to intentionally ingest a piece of onion that falls on the floor, she may accidentally consume it when washing, if it sticks to her paws. So be sure to clean up after chopping onions for your marinara sauce.

Similarly, onion powder is an ingredient in many processed foods for humans, including baby food. These foods can be toxic to cats. (There are many other human foods that should not be given to cats. An upcoming Mewsletter article will have a full report.)

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World’s Tiniest Cat Quiz

How many housecats (cats living in human families) are there in the United States?

In 2004, the latest year for which there are figures, there were 90.5 million cats living with us in our homes. The number is almost certainly higher now, as it climbs each year.

In case you’re wondering, that works out to about 25,000 households scooping the litter box every second.

Give it up for Fancy

We want your feedback! What would you like to see in the Mewsletter? What changes would you recommend? Is the Mewsletter too short? Too long? Do you mind the play on words? Please be honest – you won't hurt our feelings. And even if you do, we won't hold it against you.

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