EDITOR’S MEWSINGS: It's amazing we managed to stay awake while putting together this issue, what with all the articles on sleeping... Although cats would be the first to tell you that getting some extra Z's is quite a productive use of time. In fact, studies show that consistently depriving ourselves of enough sleep can have serious effects on our health. Perhaps making sleep a priority is another valuable life lesson we can (and should) learn from our cats. In this issue we're also reminded that cats teach us, in their own way, that play and savoring tasty treats are important, too! For these reasons - and many more - we're thankful.

HOLIDAY SAFETY: We want this time of year to be peaceful, happy, and heartwarming for everybody - including kitties. Some up-front safety
precautions and planning will help ensure that there are no cat-related
mishaps. Thanksgiving in particular can be fraught with dangers for cats: rich, tempting, plentiful, unsafe foods; guests who don't know anything about cats; toxic plants and insecticide-covered flowers. But it's amazing how much a
modest amount of preventive and ongoing safety measures can help the
holiday be pleasant and worry-free for all the species in your home.

     So this Thanksgiving, don't just indulge in extra pie; indulge in extra safety steps for your feline cutie pie.


Let's not leave out our cats in all the holiday feast activities! While we humans are indulging in our favorite holiday dishes, our kitties can chow down on a special homemade holiday treat as well. These "Holy Mackerel" Treats will be sure to please even the most finicky felines.

"Holy Mackerel" Treats

1/2 cup canned mackerel -- drained, crumbled
1 cup whole grain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or bacon grease
1 egg -- beaten
1/2 teaspoon brewer's yeast (optional, see note)

Combine all ingredients; mix well. Drop dough by 1/4 teaspoonfuls 1" apart onto a greased baking sheet.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Cool biscuits and store, covered, in the fridge.

Timesaver option: Drop dough by the tablespoonful and break each treat apart when you serve to kitty.

44 out of 45 cats at Cats Rule! Feline Rescue devoured these treats. The one holdout is a very shy guy who probably just needed a little more time to join the treat-fest and is licking his chops as of press time.

NOTE: Brewer's yeast is an excellent source of B-Complex vitamins, and some people find that it helps repel
fleas - although some cats are allergic to yeast.

Special thanks to http://www.cdkitchen.com for this great recipe!


One great way to cope with the stressful impact - and occasional mayhem - of the holidays is to play with your cat. Cats derive immense benefit from daily play, and the joy they experience when practicing hunting skills and letting off steam during a play session can be infectious. It's important to try to maintain kitty's routine during hectic times, and interactive play, with its stress-reduction
power, is a key part of that routine. Because play is such an important and expansive subject, we're kicking off an entire series about it.

Click here to read the Introduction to the series:

Fancy, our inscrutable but lovable head office cat, graciously agreed to review two toys for this issue - the Bird On A Wire toy and the Purrfect Feather toy - and filed this report:

BIRD ON A WIRE: "This bird is my favorite playmate! I like to jump up and bat him with my paws when he is 'flying' around the office, and when he isn't looking I love to tackle him to the ground (I have to make sure he doesn't forget who the boss is around here)."

PURRFECT FEATHER: "I chased these feathers all over the office. They move quickly and make noise, which only made me want to catch them even more! But the chase was all worth it once I was able to pounce and get my paws on them. I could play with those feathers all day!"

Tips on using wand toys when playing with your cat:

  • Use various types of motion for the toy.
  • Give kitty a challenge but let her capture the toy repeatedly so she can perfect her pouncing skills and enjoy the satisfaction of victory.
  • During a play session, when kitty's interest in the toy starts to wane (and preferably after a decisive pounce), congratulate kitty on a job well done, perhaps present a treat reward, and put the toy away, out of kitty's view, so that it will have fresh appeal next time you use it.
(We'll go into much more detail on playing techniques in future installments of our "How to Play With Your Cat" series.)
(From A to Zzzz)

One of the things cats do best is sleep. You can help kitty practice this valuable skill by turning your home into a cat-napping wonderland (or slumberland), especially as the nights get longer and we're getting
into prime sleeping season. Follow the 26 tips in this article and you
will probably receive some very restful benefits yourself!

MEDITATION: "The Zen of One Cat Washing"

Watching a cat systematically wash herself from head to tail
before she goes to sleep is as mindful and peaceful as any
form of meditation one might imagine.

Moreover, the subject of focus is sentient, aware,
self-directed, and unique, not an abstraction. And as she engages in
her ancient ritual, she is practicing a sort of meditation herself - and may
gaze back at the human meditator, forming a feedback loop that
builds compassion, trust, appreciation, and wonder, and
gently expands consciousness.
Speaking of cats sleeping… Where is your cat's favorite place to sleep? We'll publish the most unusual, weird, cute, and creative choices in a future Mewsletter issue. Email us at comments@mewsletter.com
My person won't let me sleep on his important papers.
Why not?
- Furry papurrweight
… … … …

I'm not sure - because sometimes nothing is more comfortable
than a stack of receipts and partially filled-out tax forms.

Here's what your human can do as a compromise: Prepare
a nice bed (or lap), within petting distance, so the two of you
can have proper togetherness but the human can pay his bills
or do his taxes. For example, he might pull a chair up beside his,
and on the seat of that chair he can place your favorite blanket or
one of his recently-worn shirts. Or - as long as none of his friends find
out - he could put a cushion or small cat bed on the desk. That way you could occasionally paw at the papers and still help out.
Now since you're a cat, as soon as your dutiful human has carefully prepared your
sleeping quarters, be sure to walk off into the next room.

… … … …

Got a question for Fancy? Her email is ask_fancy@mewsletter.com


Dear Dr. Schelling,

We recently got our first cat. She's a bundle of joy and quite the mysterious and curious creature, and we shower her with affection. The other day, I was relaxing on the couch, when kitty spotted a catnip mouse
I had thrown in the corner of the room the day before. She had a great chase, and afterward she deposited the toy next to the couch.
What does this mean and how should I react?

- Confused but Captivated

Dear Confused,

First of all, be thankful it's only a catnip mouse!

Some "cat-ologists" (people who try in vain to understand cats) surmise that kitty is generously offering you the prey that she caught, as she might do if she had kittens. It's reasonable to conclude that our cats see how slow and clumsy we are, and figure we could use all the help we can get in order to procure a decent meal.

On the other hand (or other paw - we're going to use all four in this explanation), kitty's relationship with us is complex, not mother-to-kitten. For instance, she approximately plays the role of kitten when she comes to us
for petting and kneads in appreciation. And she likely realizes that we have some magical powers when it
comes to finding food; for example, we're adept at locating meals and snacks to put in the food bowl.

So what else might be going through kitty's mind when she drops off "prey" next to us? One possibility is that she's simply being friendly. Or showing off - what cat doesn't like praise and accolades?

What should you do when kitty trots in and gives you her gift? It may depend on her body language. If she's looking at you in a friendly way, start by congratulating her on a job well done, with words and with some
strokes or forehead scratches - however she likes it. She may want a treat, which sort of consummates the
hunt as well as shows your gratitude for her present. Some folks like to slide the treat along the ground or toss
it in the air, so kitty can hunt it down and capture it. Will your cat go for this? It's hard to say until you try it
a few times, perhaps varying your technique until you pique kitty's interest.

There's one more possible reason for kitty to place her toy beside you - especially if she's conveying in her stance and energy level that playtime's not over. Many cats like to play fetch: You toss the toy, kitty chases it down and returns it to you, and you repeat the sequence until kitty decides you're done. Note that there is another kind of fetch which is popular with cats: You throw the toy, kitty watches you retrieve it from under the couch, and the cycle continues. Either way, at least one of you gets some exercise.

What topics would you like to see covered in future issues of the Mewsletter?
Let us know at comments@mewsletter.com