Ask the Vet


Dear Dr. Schelling,

That kneading motion that my cat Furby does when she’s super-relaxed and I’m petting her – it’s such a unique and fascinating behavior. So I “knead” to know why cats do this.

–John in British Columbia
Dear John,

Kneading is “roughly” feline-speak for “Mommy, I love you.” (If you’re a human with whom your cat has a warm, trusting relationship, when your cat is kneading you, you’re “Mommy” whether you’re male or female.) This article explains kneading in more detail, and also has some tips so you can enjoy these bonding moments without being ever-so-tenderly shredded by your affectionate kitty’s extended claws.

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Tonight, one of my humans brought home a box wrapped in bright red paper and hearts. The card on top says "Be Mine." So naturally I sat on the box to let my humans know I was available to sample the contents, so they could be mine. But my normally obedient humans shooed me away. Where's the love?

–Sweet Kitty (on my own terms, of course)

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Dear Sweet Kitty,

The love is there, big time. Let me explain . . .

Your humans are celebrating Valentine's Day, a special day (invented by a cherub named Cupid, I think) when humans show how much they love each other (like they do every day with you).

Sometimes this means they give each other presents. The newly-arrived box probably contains candy, most likely chocolates.

Trust me, your humans have your best interests in mind by not sharing any with you. Candy and chocolate can be very dangerous for us non-humans. Let me quote from my feline veterinarian friend, Dr. Snowball (who already has the white coat . . . ):

"The high fat content in many confections and desserts can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and even result in a potentially lethal medical condition called pancreatitis. Too much sugar can also cause stomach upsets. Even sugar-free candy can produce serious problems: The ingredient xylitol can lead to a life-threatening drop in blood sugar, and theoretically liver failure as well."

The biggie is chocolate, though. Humans savor it, but it's toxic to cats. Here's more information, written by a knowledgeable veterinarian, on why chocolate must never be fed to cats (or dogs or other animals).

As an alternative, why not make a play for a heart-shaped serving of catnip, or a toy infused with sweet honeysuckle? Or a big lovey session with you and your humans—that might be the best present of all.


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PANIC MOUSE 360: Panic is right, this dangling mouse brings out my natural hunting instincts. Its adjustable speed is purrfect for kittens and cats of all ages. Playtime never gets old when you toy moves and behaves like a real live mouse. Now, if you'll excuse me I have some batting and pouncing to attend to.

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SPIDER WAND TOY : I love a good wand toy and the Spider Wand is quickly becoming my favorite. The way it bounces in the air and its soft to the bite texture is just what I need after a nice cat nap. There's no better way to wake up than with a good game involving jumping ending in some satisfying biting.

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A cat's heart beats twice as fast as a human heart, at 110 to 140 beats per minute.
There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat. -Tay Hohoff
Panic Mouse 360 Spider Wand Toy