Hi everybody!

In this issue I will address a couple of questions I just received. In fact, I think I'll try to answer everyone's questions in each newsletter. I want to give all of you the information you want - not just what I want to tell you.

1. The first question is about whiskers, from a kittie named Morris:

"Hi, my name is Morris. I had adoptive parents for 1 week and during that time
something happened to my whiskers on the right side of my face. They are
short and stubby and curly. They were fine when I went there. My real
mama and daddy have me back and are very concerned that my whiskers may
not grow back. Will they be normal and how long will it take?"

Hi Morris,
I'm sorry to hear about your whiskers, and I will look around for more information on this subject, too.

But for now, I will tell you what comes to mind first, and maybe you can let me know if these ideas make sense to you.

Were there children in the adoptive home? If so, my bet is they decided to "play" with you by seeing what cats look like without whiskers. Maybe their parents came home just in time before they got to the other side with their scissors, or (shudder) matches. That could explain the curling effect.

If they were cut off, they may grow back faster - perhaps in just a couple of weeks. But if they were burned off, it could be a bit longer. Whiskers tend to grow fast, though, as they are essential equipment for kitties, as you know.

If they had no kids there, then some other possibilities are:

a. Mean grownups. I know, it doesn't make sense. Grownups should know better. But we've met many of those here, and have to go get the kitties back so they don't suffer any worse.

b. Accidents. Yes, it's possible that you got into something you shouldn't have. Did you happen to nose into the stew pot while it was on the stove? We've seen kitties here get on the stove while a burner was lit, and lost some hair at one end or the other.

c. Strange health condition. Not likely, or you would have had this before. Still, we do have an older cat here that keeps losing her whiskers every other month - on one side! No one can understand this or figure it out. The vet is mystified. But they break off. They are not curly.

It may be somewhat comforting to know that cats shed their whiskers regularly. They shed everywhere else, too, and whiskers go with the program. But they don't all fall out at once. You may want to look at another cat and you'll notice that some of the whiskers are short. Those are the new ones just growing in. As they mature, the older, longer ones fall out. It's a normal process, so even if your whiskers were removed unnaturally, you should have no trouble growing back a nice set of whiskers again.

2. Another question is from Tori in Florida:

"I have an 8-month-old kitty that we got 5 months ago. She's a treasure, but we go away on weekends and she seems so lonely. I'd like to get her a buddy to play with while we are gone. I was thinking of getting an older female cat. What do you think, and how should I introduce them to each other?"

Hi Tori,
Those are very thoughtful questions, and you sound like a considerate mom, as well. Cats do indeed miss their people while they are gone, more so when they are young and playful and still learning about life.

The way I introduce mine here is to put the newbie into a cage and let the others come around and sniff for a while, maybe even a few days. No cage, no problem. Just put them into separate rooms or areas that have some kind of physical barrier they can't cross. Maybe a screen door.

They need to start out seeing each other, smelling, then touching noses. Once you see they aren't going to "kill each other," you can let them into the same room together. But don't expect instant friendship. It happens, but it's rare. They need to get acquainted. Don't be intimidated or put off by hisses, growls and slaps. That's normal. They have to work out between them who's going to be the alpha (boss) cat. Feed them separately, as food is a huge issue with animals. Eventually, they will know whose food is whose, and may begin sharing.

Be sure to act positive in their presence. If you appear tense or worried about them, they will sense that and be tense, too. Just act like it's no big deal to have the second cat in there. Just let them work things out... I've been through this hundreds of times now. If I bring home a new cat, or take one in at the shelter, I put it into a cage, or onto the front porch. There is a small sliding pet door which I nail halfway shut so they can't use it, but they can look at each other. It doesn't take long for them to start getting along. It will normally be several weeks, though, before they become buds and play together. But it's still a diversion, so let them be in view of each other while you're gone. Your kitty, in particular, needs to know you aren't displacing her, so give her extra hug time or something. Honestly, they're just like little kids, jealousy over the new baby and all.

Let me know how it goes. I think a companion kitty is an excellent idea. And it can often work better to get a younger, not older, cat for her, as the older ones usually try to be the boss. Also, older ones may not be interested in playing anymore. It may also work well to get a kitten or younger cat of the opposite gender, as long as both are altered.

Some news links you might find interesting:

Wisconsin in Catfight Over Wild Felines
Last month, a state-backed group called the Conservation Congress was to vote on a proposal to take wild cats off the protected species list to help control the feral population. That would mean people would be free to shoot and kill the animals known as feral cats that roam the wild. (Fox News)

Cat Angels to the rescue
It's the stray cat behind a restaurant, scavenging for scraps of food in the dark. It's the elusive, wild-acting litter of kittens born in a barn to an elusive, wild-acting female cat. It's the group of outdoor cats your neighbor feeds in the alley behind your house. Those are examples of the feral and stray cats that Alley Cat Angels helps by spaying and neutering them. Its program involves using humane traps, then neutering and returning the cats to their outdoor areas. (Battle Creek Enquirer)

Program helps seniors stay connected with pets
Studies have shown that seniors who own pets are less lonely and more active, respond better to medical treatment and have lower blood pressure. However, some older adults need a little extra help when it comes to caring for their pet. (Chicago Suburban Newspapers)

Suspects looking for 'lost cat' stealing from homes

Well, that's all for this week. If you have any questions you'd like to have answered in the newsletter, let me know! You can hit Reply and type in your question, or just send me an email later, at cats @ allinfoabout.com.

Don't forget to shop at The Pet Medicine Chest:

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