EDITOR’S MEWSINGS: Since the most wonderful time of the year can also be the
most hazard-filled time of the year, especially for cats, we're continuing our focus
on safety – with an article on how to make sure "O Christmas Tree" doesn't turn into "Oh, Oh, Kitty" and a handy checklist of common holiday dangers – but we also realize that cats know better than any of us that you've got to have fun, too.

To that end, we include Fancy's reviews of gift-worthy items, Dr. Schelling's take on why cats so often seek out the one non-cat lover in the room, and other diversions and curiosities. Happy Furry Holidays to everyone!


A Christmas tree with all its trimmings is a sight to behold. But your cat may do more than behold it. In addition, all those ornaments, lights, evergreen needles, and other parts of the Christmas tree display are potential hazards to any curious cats in the vicinity. This article explains several precautions (and a few optional extra-insurance measures) to take that will help facilitate a peaceful coexistence between fir tree and furball.



From artificial snow to mistletoe, from low-hanging ornaments to high-fat gravy, holidays and special occasions introduce a plethora of potential dangers to your vulnerable feline.

The good news is that you can dramatically reduce the risk of mishaps
through proactive measures. Refer to this list – perhaps post it on the refrigerator or a handy place – to keep the holidays as safe and merry
as possible.


Here are some of Fancy's recommended gifts for the discerning cat. Or is this her wish list for Santa Claws?

DA BIRD: Who can resist the quavering feathers of Da Bird? Not I. Blue ones, brown ones, yellow ones . . . fluttering by me – I must give chase! This "bird" is my favorite because I can catch it over and over!
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CATNIP CANDY CANE: Straight up with a twist! The Catnip Candy Cane is the purrfect remedy after an exhaustive morning of cleaning and preening and looking fine. It all starts with a good pawing around with the Cane, a little purr-elation, maybe a cute rollover maneuver as the nip kicks in, then over to the living room window for a restful snooze in the afternoon sun.
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HONEYSUCKLE SPRAY: I adore the scintillating aroma from this mysterious formulation as it wakes my whiskers and tickles my nose. It brings out the "play" in me . . . and my buddy cats.
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WEST PAW UPHOLSTERED BUMPER BED: When you sink into this bed…purrrr, purrrr – it's like sleeping on a fluffy cumulus cloud. It's super-comfy. The borders that hold you in and also serve as a headrest add to the bed's snugability. You don't just snooze in this bed; you luxuriate! It's beautiful, too. Recommended for all cats who like the good life; that is, all cats.
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PURRFECT VIEW SCRATCHING STATION: My humans like the sleek design and elegant wood base of my new Purrfect View, but I'm not so shallow – I see far beyond its surface beauty. This intriguing complex has extra-tall posts so I can stretch all the way out as I slooowly, sinuously pull my claws down its luxurious length. And there's a dandy perch at every level. So whether my mood is to be way up high and on top of the world, or at window height for surveying my domain, or playing hide-and-seek down below – I always have the most Purrfect seat in the house.
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FAT CAT STAINLESS STEEL DISH: This bowl is so artistic, so sublime, that only a poem can properly express my furry love . . .

. . . Ode to Fat Cat
by Fancy C. Schelling

Mirror, mirror in my bowl,
Yes, that's right, I'm beautiful!
Can't stop staring, love your shine.
Gorgeous alone – with a meal you're divine!

Fancy's friend, Thompson, who's a bit on the husky side and
actively engaged in his weight management program,
contributed a poem, also:

Hey Bowl, who are you calling fat?
I may be a handful but I'm not all that.
Wait, perhaps I spoke too soon;
You have a feature that makes me swoon.
Your contoured surface takes off pounds –
From this angle, I'm sleek, not round.
Got a poem about – or from – your cat? Email us at comments@mewsletter.com

Where's your MySpace page?

– Laptop Cat

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It's right here: http://www.myspace.com/fancyheadofficecat!

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


Dear Dr. Schelling,

My brother-in-law George is coming to visit us again for the holidays. He doesn't much care for cats (I know – it baffles us, too). All our other guests are enamored with our big Maine Coon mix, Mason, but kitty always goes right to George. Why?

– Hostess to the humans, servant to the cat

Dear Hostess,

Mason may appreciate George's passivity.

When a kitty's abode is invaded by – from his standpoint – strangers, even a normally outgoing ambassador-type feline may become timid and overwhelmed. A roomful of well-intentioned guests saying "Here, Mason," waving wand toys, and offering treats may be a bit much for any but the most easy-going and tolerant cat.

Mason may see George's disinterest as a welcome contrast to all the solicitations. From Mason's point of view, George is displaying proper protocol and respect by letting kitty establish a connection at his own pace. Cats generally like that; they want to be in charge; they want to be the ones who decide how fast or slow a relationship will develop, and what things will be done when.

So Mason chooses George as a target because he's able to sniff and check out George at his own leisure, without interference or pressure.

Granted, cats also like to be pampered, so after a while, if George doesn't respond at all to Mason's overtures, Mason will likely move on to the cat appreciators in the vicinity, to receive the expected adoration and attention.

But Mason may also like the challenge of winning George over, of stealthily recruiting George into his domain. And in time he may succeed. Cats have a way of working their magic on skeptics.

In fact, some people are reluctant to be friendly with cats because they don't understand cats, or they had a frightening experience with a cat long ago. Still others may avoid cats because subconsciously they're afraid of being hurt; relationships with animals bring immense joy and incalculable rewards but also occasionally produce deep sadness – such as when a beloved companion is lost. But given time, a cat, with his powers of snuggling, playful interaction, keeping humans guessing, and – the ace in hole – purring, may turn the most cat-averse person into a convert.

If George really doesn't want Mason to bother him, then gently redirect kitty to a more cat-friendly part of the house, to be fair to both cat and human. However, if George is merely playing hard to get, keep a watchful eye, but see how things play out.

What topics would you like to see covered in future issues of the Mewsletter?
Let us know at comments@mewsletter.com
QUICK CAT QUIZ: Are calico cats always female?

Almost always: Over 99.99 percent of calico cats are female.

Why? Because of genetics. The color of a cat's coat is a physical characteristic related to gender. Female cats carry two X
chromosomes, while male cats carry an X and a Y chromosome.
The codes for black and orange color coats are found in the X chromosomes, so when two X chromosomes (one coded for black,
the other for orange) come together you get a cute little female
calico kitty.

In rare cases, a male cat can be a calico. The male calico will have
an extra chromosome, resulting in an XXY pattern. Most male calico
cats are sterile and cannot reproduce.