EDITOR'S MEWSINGS: For those of you who may have lapsed New Year's resolutions to help kitty lose weight (you know who you are), we're including two articles on feline weight management: The first is an introduction to obesity risks and starting a safe weight loss program; the second is a quick guide to determining whether your kitty is underweight, overweight, or just right. We also have tips on safety and the cat-human relationship that we hope will help ensure a happy and fulfilling not-so-fat Tuesday and beyond for all the cats, humans, and other members of your family.


Scales in vets' offices throughout the land confirm that a disturbing proportion of our cats are too fat. Excess weight taxes your cats' body in all sorts of ways – some of which may be hidden to the naked eye and/or contribute to long-term health issues. This article provides an overview of the various risks of obesity and recommended first steps to combat it.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CAT IS AT A HEALTHY WEIGHT: You can do a quick, gentle in-home checkup to see if your cat is too thin, just fat, or at a good weight. Consider this a different sort of "cat scan."

Click here to read full article

Fancy's been busy with her mini-reviews so far this year, covering items from three essential areas: toys, treats, and tired kitties. She's taking the rest of the month off.

GO CAT BUTTERFLIER TEASER WAND: After waking from my afternoon hibernation (and refilling my tummy), I'm ready for a rousing game of chase. With this toy – in the hands of a skilled human – I can run after and jump up and catch the butterflies flying by, for as long as I want – or until I get tuckered out and prepare for my next nap.

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: Like most cats, I enjoy coaxing humans into giving me treats. But with this product, I no longer need to use the "poor starving kitty" routine or cause people to nearly trip because I'm circling their feet. My human family members let me indulge in this tasty snack (in moderation, of course!) without feeling guilty, because they know it won't cause me to lose my trim figure.

"Add them to the bowl, not to the waistline." -– Fancy

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: It's three beds in one – configurable, to support my wide range of sleeping styles. When I'm in the mood to cuddle, my humans can make the bed into a cup for me to curl up into. When I want more space to sprawl out and stretch while napping I like to have the bed laid out flat, and when I'm feeling sneaky (which is always) I like to hide inside the bed when it's set up like a bag.

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Have a favorite product you want to review? Send it to askfancy@mewsletter.com


Dear Dr. Schelling,

My roommate told me the other day that I shouldn't leave dental floss lying around, as it could be dangerous to our house cat, Sophie. What,
is kitty going to start flossing? I thought my roommate was just getting
back at me for telling her to put the cap on the toothpaste and to
squeeze the tube from the bottom. But Sophie's a great cat (she helps
us all study) and I want to make sure she's safe. So is it true?
Is dental floss dangerous to cats?

– At least I floss

Dear At Least I Floss,

Your roommate is correct.

Although it isn't likely that Sophie would intentionally swallow the floss (or start a dental regime), she may investigate floss lying around or hanging over the side of a trashcan. The smell or the form may intrigue Sophie and cause her to investigate. If Sophie investigates with her mouth, the floss could get caught on the barbs on
her tongue.

Cats have very rough tongues with reverse-facing barbs called papillae. These barbs serve a variety of functions, including grooming. But the barbs also make it hard for cats to spit out things like string, so the string can get caught on the barbs and end up getting drawn further into the mouth.

This could result in the string looping under the bottom of the tongue and both ends going down the esophagus.

Another scenario is kitty swallows the string – which could happen quite unintentionally – and the string ends up anchoring to the intestinal tract. This results in the intestinal tract bunching up on itself, rather like an accordion, resulting in a life-threatening condition called an intussusception which would require surgery to resolve.

(NOTE: If you ever see a string under a cat's tongue, don't pull on it as it could cause severe damage to the esophagus and/or intestines. Instead, immediately call your veterinarian or emergency facility if your vet's office is closed.)

Practical solutions include wrapping floss completely in a tissue when you dispose of it, using a covered trashcan in the bathroom, and/or placing the bathroom trashcan behind a kitty-proofed cabinet. So yes, your roommate is correct, but you can also tell her it is best to cap the toothpaste as human toothpastes may contain substances that could be harmful to Sophie.

Although toothpaste isn't necessarily as alluring as string to cats, some cats have very strange tastes and attractions. One of my cats, Suki, loves to lick the mouthwash bottle; she also goes crazy when I apply fragrance, and tries to lick it off me (of course I don't let her do either). So you just never know what kitty may or may not be attracted to.


My people recently rescued me, Peanut Butter (named for the color of my fur), from the streets. They comb me every day and I like it. But not when they try to comb my belly! And yet they seem to want to comb there as well. Any tips?

– Comb-Over Kitty

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Dear Comb-Over,

First let me say four things:

  1. It's great that your people are giving you a combing every day. That's your first defense against hairballs. Combing also lets your people check for things like stickers stuck in your fur, dandruff, bumps, mats – anything that shouldn't be there. In addition to being quite relaxing (raise your paw if you've ever fallen asleep while being combed or brushed) and a way to strengthen the human-cat bond, daily combing and brushing serves as a mini-health checkup.
  2. As you – and hopefully your people – know, each cat has unique tolerances as far as belly-touching goes. Some cats purr contentedly as their tummies are rubbed; others will respond to any attempt to touch their undersides with a stern warning – yes, we're talking claws and biting.
  3. These things are best approached in a gradual fashion, and within a human-kitty relationship that is built on trust, empathy, and friendship.
  4. With a name like Peanut Butter, you must have a million nicknames.
Now I have to go take a nap.

OK, – I'm back.

Many – but definitely not all – cats who are already comfortable with being combed on their northern hemisphere will respond favorably to the method described in this article for introducing combing of the belly. Work with your people, who may be a bit nervous themselves, on this venture, and not only will you have marvelous, healthy-looking fur bottom and top, but you may come to really enjoy getting your belly combed and brushed.

Click here for full article
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Got a question for Fancy? Her email is askfancy@mewsletter.com

Where do Your Cats Sleep? Everywhere!

In the November Mewsletter, we asked if your cats slept in any unusual, funny, or unexpected places. As if one really needs to ask, right? Here is a sample of Mewsletter readers' cats' wide range of preferred sleeping spots. What can we say? There is no end to cats' resourcefulness when it comes to thinking of places to sleep. And that's part of why we love them. Although we have to admit, it's gratifying when they go "old school" and decide to snuggle up next to us or on our laps.

If you've got a story or picture of your furry snoozer that you think is Mewsworthy, please send it to comments@mewsletter.com. (If possible, include photos as attachments rather than embedded in the email message.)

What topics would you like to see covered in future issues of the Mewsletter?
Let us know at comments@mewsletter.com
Cats have 230 bones,
while humans only have 206.