Ask the Vet


Dear Dr. Schelling,

This Christmas it's "Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go." Well, actually it's over many rivers, we're going by car instead of sleigh, and this time we're taking two cats. For a number of reasons, we can't leave them at home or at the vet's boarding facility. How can we make the 11-hour trip less stressful—or even enjoyable—for our two felines? They're two years old and in good health according to their last checkup.

– Catnip Express

Dear "Catnip Express,"

An ounce of prevention in this case is worth at least a pound of cure. Clear the kitties for travel with your vet, learn about all the various things you can do during the trip to ease your cats' worries and make them more safe and comfortable, bring along some familiar items (scratching posts, toys, etc.) for when you get to your destination. . . . All this and more is in this new article, "HOW TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR CAT." The article also includes starting points for finding reliable pet-sitters, and tips on air travel with cats.

If you follow the advice in the article, you'll be less stressed yourself, which will likely rub off on your cats, and you may just have the best Christmas ever. One last thing: you may want to read our Holiday Safety Tips article if you haven't done so already.

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Holiday Bonus Article
Ten Ways to Spoil Your Cat

Who has more fun when you spoil kitty—you or kitty? Maybe both. Check out our article for tips to dote on your fabulous feline.


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Our family has grown this past year by one big Maine Coon cat, whom we named Thomasina. We'd like to include Her Royal Fluffiness in our annual holiday photo this year. Do you have any tips for success with that project?

– Deb in Wisconsin

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Dear Deb,

Including the feline of the house in your family photo is a great idea: Cats always look wonderful in pictures (of course) and Thomasina is part of the family.

This article, PHOTOGRAPHING CATS, has all sorts of helpful tips on how to best show off your new kitty's lustrous fur, mesmerizing eyes, and precocious whiskers—and that magnificent Maine Coon tail. The first rule: Take lots of pictures to maximize the chance of getting that winning photo that everyone will rave about. The article also has suggestions for taking interesting close-ups and action shots, and on removing distractions that could divert focus away from the "Maine" star.

Whether you're pros or amateurs with the camera, I’m sure your family photo will show that Thomasina is a well-loved, happy kitty. That's a winning quality in any photo.

Have a furry happy holiday!


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Questions? Email me at
HO-HO HAIR BALL: How can you not ha-ha have the Ho-Ho Hairball in your toy collection?

CHRISTMAS NIPS: You have your nog, we have our nips. We can toss these around and bite them and claw them to our hearts' content. They're quite chaseable too.

PURRFECT GREETINGS HOLIDAY CARD: This is the card that keeps on giving—because there's a catnip toy inside! In lieu of a thank you card, kitty will show appreciation with head-bumps and enthusiastic play. Sounds like a purrfect day!

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Both humans and cats have identical
regions in the brain responsible for emotion.

"Cats never strike a pose
that isn't photogenic."
–Lillian Jackson Braun
Ho-Ho Hairball Christmas Nips Purrfect Greetings Holiday Card