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cat VOL 2

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The Expressive Cat How to read your cat: deciphering feline body language, facial expression, and vocal cues. BY STEVE DUNO


Meet the Cover Cat! Introducing Mr. Magoo, the blind kitty that could!


The Cat Whisperer An exclusive interview with cat behaviour expert Mieshelle Nagelschneider. BY CONNIE WILSON


Get Your Whisper On Life-changing advice re: dining etiquette.


Nifty Enrichment Ideas Keep your cat happy, active, and mentally challenged with these easy to implement tips. BY ROSE FROSEK


11 People Foods For Cats Get snack-tastic! Creative, healthy treats for your cat.


Stars & Their Cats A Q & A with actress Mayim Bialik.


De-Cat Your Home Clean, disguise, and corral the mess with these seven indispensible domestic tips (eight if you count the robot), so you can get back to more important things —like cuddling with your cat. BY ROSE FROSEK





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Cat Scratch Fever The coolest cat scratchers going.


Let's Play! Engage your cat with these terrific interactive toys.


Cool Cat Fantastic finds for the feline obsessed.


The Himalayan Nothing but the best for this purebred beauty. BY TANYA KENEVICH

BODY AND SOUL 50 Simplify: 12 Ways to De-Clutter While Doing Some Good; Cat Dreams DVD; Take a "Me" Break 51

Aquatherapy; Study Finds Connection Between Neutering and Lifespan

From The Big New Yorker Book of Cats © 2013, Random House

62 LIVING 28

We’re Giving it Away! We’ve got months of fab giveaways from an amazing cat play structure to super-cozy cat beds, just waiting to be won!


10 Brilliant Ideas for Inclement-Weather Fun



62 58 How I Met My Cat Delilah. BY TRACY RASH 64


REGULAR FEATURES 6 Editor’s Letter 8 Contributors 10 Stuff We Love 12 The Scoop 22 Meow! Photo Contest 78 Marketplace

COVER CAT Meet Mr. Magoo, winner of our third Modern Cat Cover Contest with over 20,000 votes! Mr. Magoo was photographed by the very talented pet photographer Brooke Jacobs in Brooklyn, NY. Turn to page 38 for more on this amazing cat.

7 Things You Should Be Doing For Your Cat (but probably aren’t) DIY Craft: Petal Cat Make your cat a costume!

66 Ice, Ice Baby Ice cubes, the low-rent cat plaything found in your freezer. 71 Cat Dancing Lesson #392 from your cat: dance like there’s no one watching. 72

Art Attack Brooklyn-based artist Jenny Belin on her lifelong love affair with her inspiration and subject matter—cats.


Connie’s Book Club Curl up with a good cat and a good book. Editor-in Chief Connie Wilson’s fall round-up of must-reads.


Last Lick What goes around comes around. BY SUZANNE BEECHER


In USA: MODERNCAT (ISSN 1929-3933) Volume 2, Issue 2. Published semi annually by Modern Cat Inc. at 142 Churchill Drive, Newington, CT 06111-4003. Periodicals postage paid at Hartford, CT and additional offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Modern Dog, PO Box 310402, Newington, CT 06131-0402.

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Fetch (kitty caps)


Ou r R ead er s Wr it e

Connect With Us!

Love your magazine, love your website! Your latest e-newsletter, titled “Would you rescue a cat,” sounds like me. I have a house full of strays and rescues and have for the last 30+ years. I always feel I should be doing more. Keep up the good work!—Georgia Morris



ave you noticed that simply watching your cat—whether she's batting a toy around the living room, going ballistic on a catnip-laced scratch post, or simply purring contentedly on your lap—makes you feel calmer and more centered? Such is the power of our cats, our experts in the “now,” helping us still our minds and enter the present moment, a place where we leave past concerns and future worries behind. This “real” time has measurable health benefits, from lowering blood pressure and lessening anxiety to generally providing a feeling of happiness. Power of Now author and guru Eckhart Tolle believes that pets act as our “guardians of being” and credits them for keeping millions of people sane. Whether or not we can attribute our healthy state of mind to our feline friends, I'm sure we can all agree they certainly make our lives more complete (and interesting!) in myriad ways. How to reward that wonderful cat of yours? With Modern Cat, of course! We’ve packed this issue with all manner of cat-tastic goodness. From insight into your cat’s behaviour to must-haves for the home, toys to thrill your cat, and cool DIY cat projects, we’ve got you covered! Rounding that out is expert cat advice on training and nutrition, mustread books, a feline body language instructional, and so much more. Get ready to be inspired by new projects and ideas galore! With love,

Connie Wilson, Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief

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I heard your interview on CBC radio the other day. I am excited to have another cat magazine to read. I hope you have lots of articles of TNR. I am a foster parent of adult cats for Ca-R-ma, whose mandate is TNR but who also foster cats that they think suitable as house cats. I have had success with two fairly feral cats—one I adopted and the other is up for adoption now. It is such a great feeling when you can make that connection with a feral cat.—Ellen Lutes [We’re huge advocates of TNR and applaud your work. Stay tuned for an article on TNR in the next issue!—Ed.]

I noticed that you've given some press to Little Bear, the cat with radial hypoplasia who had surgery to correct him. I wonder if you would think about giving equal time to “twisty cats” who manage just fine without surgery. They adapt and get around just fine with their deformed front legs. I have had a cat named Bug for 14 months (since he was 10 weeks old) and he is a twisty cat…I think it is important for potential adopters of these wonderful twisty cats to know these cats are not in pain and do not need to be fixed. They will have a better chance of getting adopted if people don't feel there's something “wrong” with them that would take great expense to "fix.” —Valerie Schumacher [Interested in Bug’s journey? Check out Bug's Facebook page at bugthehandicat—Ed.]

For a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re up to in the MC offices, the latest breaking stories and videos, cool contests, events, and exclusive giveaways, become a fan of Modern Cat on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest. Go to, twitter. com/moderncatmag & moderncatmag.




We were simply delighted to enlist the very talented Brooke Jacobs to shoot this issue's cover model, the winner of our Cover Cat Contest, Mr. Magoo (or Gooey as he is known to his many fans). Brooke is a super-talented pet photographer based in Brooklyn. Chances are you've seen her work on greeting cards, calendars, book covers, or in magazines. She's a girl after our own hearts, committed to animal rescue and is very active with TNR and cat rescue in New York City. Turn to page 38 to see the photos of the adorable "Goo," then go to to see more of Brooke's awesome work.

VOL 2 NO 2 Publisher

Modern Cat Inc. Editor-in-Chief

Connie Wilson Editor & Creative Director

Jennifer Nosek Circulation Manager & Marketing Director

Jessica Nosek Circulation Supervisor

Jane Hope Audience Development Coordinator


Design & Production

Maxine Matishak Design & Production Assistant

Vanessa Dong Sales & Marketing

Sara Lima, Mary Liu, Julia Klymenko Accounting and Subscription Services Assistant

Celine Benipayo Controller

Armed with a mantra of “Just Do It,” photographer Christopher Ameruoso has carved himself a unique and successful niche in Hollywood, gaining access to some of Hollywood's most sought-after stars and becoming famous for his portraits of pets and the celebrities that own them. He has been photographing actors, actresses, and models since 1998 and has released two bestselling photography books of his work. With over 60 magazine covers to his name and his own show on Comcast On Demand, we're thrilled to have Chris contributing to this issue of Modern Cat. Turn to page 60 for his interview and shoot with the lovely and fascinating Mayim Bialik and her hairless Peterbald cat, Esau.

Cecilia de Roca Chan Donations Program Liaison

Jessica Nosek Honourary Editor-at-Large

Jytte Wilson Subscription inquiries call (800) 417-6289 Advertising inquiries call (866) 734-3131 In Canada: MODERNCAT (ISSN 1929-3933) Volume 2, Issue 2. Published semi annually by Modern Cat Inc. at Suite 202–343 Railway St, Vancouver, BC Canada V6A 1A4 POSTMASTER: send address changes to Modern Cat, Suite 202–343 Railway St, Vancouver, BC Canada V6A 1A4 In USA: MODERNCAT (ISSN 1929-3933) Volume 2, Issue 2. Published semi annually by Modern Cat Inc. at 142 Churchill Drive, Newington, CT 061114003. Periodicals postage paid at Hartford, CT and additional offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Modern Dog, PO Box 310402, Newington, CT 06131-0402. PHONE

(604) 734-3131


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The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, images, photographs or other materials. By accepting and publishing advertising the publisher in no way recommends, guarantees or endorses the quality of services or products within those advertisements. Copyright 2013/14 by Modern Cat Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means, electronic or mechanical, including the Internet or photocopying without the written permission of the Publisher. Modern Cat and its logotype are the trademarks of Modern Cat Inc. Subscription orders and customer service inquiries should be sent to Modern Cat Subscription Services, Suite 202–343 Railway St, Vancouver, BC Canada V6A 1A4


Veteran pet behaviorist Steve Duno has to date authored 18 books and scores of magazine and web articles. He has covered a wide variety of subject matter on both cats and dogs, including basic training, aggression, environmental enrichment, behaviour modification, breed profiling, trick training, and pet health care. He currently lives in Seattle with his family and an ever-changing assortment of rescued pets. Turn to page 32 for Steve’s insightful contribution to this issue, “The Expressive Cat.”

(866) 734-3131

(604) 734-3031 OR TOLL FREE (866) 734-3031

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STUFF WE LOVE Modern Cat staffers’ picks of the litter 1  With the clothes of a dandy and the reputation of a rogue, my cat should have been named Rhett. He rarely gives a damn but he's always in vogue, thanks to his new “Julep” bow tie from Sweet Pickles Designs. If you need us, we'll be on the veranda.—Maxine "Gone with the Wind" Matishak ($6 for bow tie, collar not included,


*The cat pictured, Oliver, is available for adoption through the Oregon Humane Society. This sweet, handsome fellow has been at the shelter since December 2012 so he's really looking forward to finding his forever home. Could Oliver be the cat for you? Find out at

2  A durable duffle is a must have in your luggage arsenal, and this Watson the Cat Canvas Travel Bag from The Medium Control in safari khaki is sturdy and stylish. Great for holiday travel!—Lauren ($56,

3 Now that my grey Tabby BB is reaching a ripe old age, I really want to do something special to commemorate our bond. What better than a portrait of him done by artist Carrie Walker from Paper Cats? She completely captured his grumpy cattitude. Me-ow!—Mary (From $320,


4 Talk about two birds with one stone! This super-soft kitten throw from Green 3 Apparel is both adorable and environmentally conscious. Made from pre-consumer recycled cotton, it will keep me perfectly warm and cozy this fall.—Celine ($48,


5 This oversized Galaxy Cat tee is outta this world. Both street and sweet, it perfectly expresses my love of cats and outerspace.—Jessica ($18, brave.


6 Topping your indoor cat's wish list? Kittywalk Penthouse outdoor enclosure, which allows cats safe access to the outdoors so they can enjoy the fresh air and watch birds. The vertical design makes it ideal for small balconies! —Connie ($210,

7 Charmed, I'm sure. Mark Poulin's super-cute trio of sterling silver charms— space cat, cat head, and pocket cat—on a sterling-plated bracelet is all kinds of wonderful.—Jennifer ($83,

8  It's a carrier, a bed, and, most importantly, an airline approved in-cabin pet carrier! Sleepypod designed this carrier with a purpose—to be all-purpose! Made so it can be strapped to your bike, secured in the car, or brought on airplanes, it's got you covered!—Vanessa ($159,

9 Sometimes I worry my humans just don’t have their priorities straight.


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They do strange things like “go on vacation” or “work late” when they could be at home with me, giving me treats. But when I see them sporting these shirts from kitty-loving company Squirrel Den Studios, I’m reassured that they recognize who is boss around here. Plus, with a portion of each sale going to help the SPCA, I know that I’m using my powers for good.—Domestic Shorthair Cordelia ($22,

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National Feral Cat Day! Fellow cat lovers unite

CAT BEARDS Photo meme of the moment

Our favourite Internet meme of the moment? Cat Bearding! Like many of these movements, the fringe photos of a few went viral when the results proved so charmingly hilarious that everyone wanted in on the action. What’s involved? Simply you, a camera, and your cat. Position your cat in front of the lower half of your face, get her to look up, and snap a pic at the moment your faces merge into one beautifully bearded visage. Fun for the whole Internet! Share photos of your best cat beard with us on Twitter (@moderncatmag) or Facebook (

Mark your calendars: National Feral Cat Day is October 16, 2013. This is our kind of day, one earmarked for support of feral cat colonies across North America. Search for events in your community and get involved to help spread the word about the positive impact of Trap-NeuterRelease (TNR) in our neighborhoods, while making new friends! Seriously, how better to connect with kindred spirits? Want to host your own event? Alley Cat Allies ( has prepared a toolkit for would-be party planners, making it easy to get organized. Visit nationalferalcatday. org and take action on behalf of feral cats!

Move Over Grumpy Cat…

Cat with “eyebrows” set to go viral It seems facial hair of all kinds is huge for cats this season. Up-and-coming feline sensation, Sam, with his Instagram feed boasting near 100,000 followers, is in the running for next big cat on the internet. With those amazing eyebrows there’s little wonder why—we could look at photos of this cat all day. Luckily, here at Modern Cat, such viewing is all in a day’s work. Check him out at

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“Never try to outstubborn a cat.”—Robert A. Heinlein


Custom Jar Labels Make a Wish Come True

New Online Tool Helps Animal Shelters Get Exactly What They Need Animal shelters need more than just donations of cash to provide top-notch service for unwanted animals. Of course, monetary donations are welcome (and greatly appreciated!), but there are so many other things that can help shelters deliver care for the animals they help. Shelters need food, toys, crates, driving services, foster families, volunteers, and countless other bits and bobs that come up unexpectedly in the wild world of caring for a large number of animals, but often struggle to get the word out to would-be volunteers and donors. To the (ahem) rescue? Shelter Wish List, a new, remarkably easy-to-use web application that rescue organizations and shelters can employ to help them get exactly the supplies, services, or support they need. The Shelter Wish List program allows shelters to create a completely customized web page that showcases their needs— from volunteer services to needed items—with images and text. Supporters can also contribute partial amounts to help the shelter purchase a bigger item, like an X-ray machine for animals with special medical needs, with the website tracking contributions, allowing each donor to see how their contribution is helping the shelter reach their goals. It’s like Kickstarter for animal shelter fundraising! Another standout feature of the program is a classified ad service that allows supporters to post online ads for anything they like, pet-related or not, and then contribute all or a portion of the profit from the sale to the shelter. The program comes with Facebook integration options and a widget tool that can be easily embedded in other websites to display the most recent posts in a scrolling box. There’s also a “Pay it Forward” adoption option where a person who is unable to adopt a new animal can donate the cost of an adoption so that someone else can adopt a new friend for free. Shelter Wish List gives rescue, adoption, and fostering organizations a full toolkit that can be used to dramatically increase donations. The service helps these organizations get exactly the supplies and services that will help them stay afloat and continue their good work. Pretty cool if you ask us. Learn more about the program at!—LC

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Homemade treats in a Mason jar adorned with a personalized label make a quick, thoughtful, and easy gift idea. Or label jars of treats for your own cats and jazz up your countertops with this cute DIY!

Step 1:

Download our custom treat jar label template at treatlabeltemplate. Print your labels onto a full-page self-adhesive sticker/ mailing label sheet (available at office supply stores), then hand-letter your desired text (the recipient cat's name or the kind of treat).

Step 2: Cut out the label and affix to the treat jar or treat jar lid.

Step 3: Fill jar with treats. TIP: Have a cat with allergies? Keep your cats' treats separated and labeled so you know what is for whom at a glance—especially ideal if you have multiple cats and a cat sitter!

Treat to try:

Scrumptious Six-Ingredient Organic Cat Treats. Get the recipe at scrumptious-cat-treat-recipe



Black is Beautiful

Finally, some good superstitions concerning black cats Black cats aren't bad luck everywhere. In England, to receive a black cat (or token black cat figure) as a wedding present is thought to bring good luck to the bride. The Scottish believe that a black cat arriving on their doorstep signals prosperity, and a lady who owns a black cat is believed to have many suitors.

Wackiest Cat Names of the Year Revealed You wont see any of these in a book of name suggestions! Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. has released this year's subjective but funny round up of the wackiest cat names registered in their database of insured kitties. The monikers taking top honours in the wonderfully weird department definitely prove we cat lovers are a creative bunch. (There were some pretty interesting dog names noted too. Captain Underpants, anyone?)

Many people believe that a black cat brings good fortune and also, that anyone who finds the one perfect, pure white hair in an allblack cat and plucks it out without being scratched, will find great wealth and good luck in love. (Others maintain that the single white hair should remain undisturbed, but the wealth and luck are undisputed.)

1. Cheeto Burrito

6. Stinky Baby

2. Fuzzbutt

7. Doctor Whiskers

3. Mama Pajama

8. Rum Tum Tugger Too

In Britain, on the Yorkshire coast, wives of fishermen believe that their menfolk will return safely if a black cat is kept in the house.

4. Lady Fluffington

9. Fatness

In Brittany, black cats are called chats d’argent, or money cats. According to local superstition, they bring good fortune to owners who feed them well and treat them with the respect they deserve.

5. Nut Job

10. Pizza Guy

Black cats were once treated like royalty by English sailors, who believed that keeping them happy would ensure fair weather at sea. The sailors would watch how the cat groomed himself to foretell of weather. Tiddles, a Royal Navy Ship’s Cat, was specifically chosen for being black. King Charles I of England owned a black cat. The day the cat died, the story goes, he proclaimed, “Alas, my luck has run out.” As it follows, he was arrested for high treason and eventually beheaded.

Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses of lovers will have no lack." —English Proverb

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One more reason to adopt While there are more than 86.4 million cats as pets in the U.S., only 20 - 30% come from shelters or rescues and approximately 70% of shelter cats are euthanized.

THE SCOOP Long Distance Cat-Love Enabled by Technology #WhatWeDoInOurSpareTime Melissa Coen and her daughter Mia were chatting via FaceTime when their respective cats heard each other's meow and took over the conversation for a while. Melissa's cat, Mr. Pants, and her daughter's cat, Janie, (upper right of photo at left) used to live together, so they gladly took the opportunity to catch up. It's a slippery slope, though. Next thing you know, you'll be making Skype dates for your cat. (Been there.)—RF

Meet Matilda, Hostess at NYC’s Most Feline-Friendly Hotel Meet Matilda, the official feline of the historic Algonquin Hotel in New York City. The Algonquin has kept a cat since the 1930s, when then-hotel-director Frank Case welcomed a bedraggled stray cat that wandered into the hotel in search of food, and thus sparked a tradition. Christened Rusty, the cat soon adapted to the high life, lapping cream from a champagne glass, having his diet monitored by the hotel’s maître de cuisine, and reclining on a cushioned chair in the hotel lobby, greeting guests. Rusty got a new moniker courtesy of actor John Barrymore, who suggested Hamlet was more suitable for such a high-class kitty. Since Hamlet’s passing, the Algonquin has served as home to seven more felines. The current incumbent is Matilda the Third, who has the run of the hotel, excepting the kitchens and food service areas, and hosts an annual fundraiser for animal shelters on her birthday. (While celebrating her seventh birthday with 150 of her closest friends, she jumped on her cake and ran out of the room, leaving a trail of paw prints.) Matilda is a rescue herself. A purebred Ragdoll, she was found abandoned by the North Shore Animal League in October 2010. Hotel staff member Alice de Almeida went to meet Matilda, and lucky Matilda soon found herself a home as a society cat in New York City’s most feline friendly hotel.—JH NYC Travel Tip: The Algonquin ♥’s Pets Program ensures a gracious greeting of pet guests. Amenities like litter boxes are provided and no pet fees are charged!

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Famous Cats Charles Dickens’ kitten would snuff out the candle in order to draw his master’s attention away from his work, but despite the disturbance he was still known to have said, “What greater gift than the love of a cat?” Legend has it that Mohammed, founder of the Muslim faith, loved cats so much that, having to get up to pray, he cut his sleeve off to avoid waking a sleeping cat.

Pope Benedict XVI’s affinity for all felines extends especially to Chico, the short-haired black-and-white cat who still lives in the Pope’s home back in Tubingen, Germany, as well as the strays he used to feed in the streets. The civil war was coming to a close, yet Abraham Lincoln still found time to house three stray kittens. He also once famously said, “No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.”

Nostradamus called his cat Grimalkin, which has several meanings, including old or evil-looking female cat. When not tending to the sick,

Florence Nightingale tended to the sixty-plus cats she owned over her lifetime, including her favourite, a Persian named Mr. Bismarck.

Mark Twain proved his affection for felines with the words, “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.”





Cat Amazing puzzle toy with three levels keeps cats playing as their skills improve! Irresistibly fun and vet recommended for active play and weight management. $15 and free shipping.

The ultimate cat hammock. Peach Industries’ Kitty Loungers are modern, eco-friendly, and 100% made and sourced in the USA. Available in a variety of colours and prints.


No more snags or scratches! A safe alternative to declawing, Kitty Caps prevent damage to furniture caused by your cat’s claws. Made from nontoxic vinyl resin, they’re safe, and easy to apply!


Cat’s love the Turbo Grooming Arch, the newest Turbo Scratcher accessory that makes grooming fun! Grooming combs along the arch offer cats a massage, while the feather and ball entertain them!


Neck attire for every cat for every season and occasion! Whether you’re looking for Halloween, Christmas, or a little New Year’s sparkle!



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For tree dwellers, the Kitty Palm is a safe place to climb, scratch, lounge, eat or drink out of the dog’s reach. Heights from 36" to 80" at




Original Catpods are durable, eco-friendly jungle gyms for your cardboard lovin' kitty. A stylish way to satisfy your cat's scratching needs while providing a perch of their own.

Tired of stooping over the litterbox? Try the hassle-free PoogoStick, an innovative scooper that easily sifts through litter and pushes waste into the accompanying pan. Available at PetSmart. Visit to see how it works.


Ribbon and circles! This premium quality handmade toy is designed to excite you and your cat and carry you away in countless playing hours. Find it and much more at


Is your cat really nice to look at? Paper Cats offers custom cat portraits meticulously painted in watercolour on paper by Vancouverbased artist Carrie Walker.


Handmade, ceramic cat fountains that are 100% food safe and as pleasurable to have in your home as they are effective cat drinking fountains.

HANDICAT RAMPS Handicat Ramps are perfect for senior, arthritic, and overweight cats, but are loved by felines of all ages and abilities. Made-to-order in gorgeous colours to complement your decor.



The new SturdiPet Walking Vest with five-foot leash is easy, secure, snag-free, and “snap” adjustable! Vests are available in small or medium in Persimmon and Animal Rivers.

Pugs2Persians features more than 300 unique cat collar designs to fit any cat’s purrsonality. Available in sizes from kitten to large adult, these collars are safe, soft, and adjustable.





Himalayan Persian

Reese & Briar Rose Tabbies


American Shorthair

Giuseppe Tabby


Domestic Longhair-Tuxedo


Lynx Point Siamese

Peach Perpetua Mix

Himalayan Persian

Spangles Siamese Mix

Little Miss Georgie Mix 22 moderncat

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Cross Bengal Polydactyl

Willow Tabby

Charlie & Tabby American Short Hair


Himalayan Mix




Marble Bengal

Pharaoh Faith Russian Blue

Teacup Persian


Domestic Shoirthair




American Shorthair

Pancake Mixed

Think your cat ought to grace the pages of Modern Cat?


Egyptian Mau



Upload your dog’s photo at Not only will he or she be entered to be our Cat of the Week, but a selection of the photos entered will appear on these pages!


Russian Blue / Unknown



The Himalayan Nothing but the best for this purebred beauty By Tanya Kenevich

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ith its piercing blue eyes, majestic fluffiness, and unique colourpointed fur design, it’s no surprise that the Himalayan is one of the most recognizable breeds on the professional cat show circuit. And yes, there are cat-world equivalents to dog shows like the Westminster Kennel Club Show! Cat shows aside, the Himalayan’s laid-back personality and affectionate nature make these cats favourites in the pet world, too. The Himalayan breed resembles a Persian cat, but with a specific eye colour—piercing blue—and colourpoint pattern. The darker-tipped fur and blue peepers are the breed’s most recognizable features, the result of crossing Siamese and Persian cat breeds. The body’s fur colour is lighter than that on the “points”—the face mask, legs, feet, tail, and ears. The face of the Himalayan holds one of its other unique features—a short, stubby muzzle that makes its face look rather flat and pushed in. The process to create the Himalayan breed started around 1950 and took years of careful breeding to obtain the desired long hair and colour pattern. According to the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), these colourpoint longhairs were bred back to Persians, and their offspring were further bred. By 1957, the Himalayan was recognized by Championship and American cat associations as a beautiful new breed. The American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) notes that Himalayan kittens are generally white when they are born. Fascinatingly, the gene that gives them their colour is sensitive to heat; the cooler the body of the kitten, the more colour you will eventually see on the cat’s points. Acceptable colour shades range from chocolate to lilac to red. Because the Himalayan has such a regal look, the breed is often portrayed as haughty or indifferent in television shows and movies. In actuality, the Himmy, as it is affectionately called, is quite lovable and tends to enjoy relaxed cuddles with his owner. These cats are known to be people-oriented, just like the Persian, and will most likely want to be a part of whatever their owners are doing. And if a Himalayan doesn’t think you’re giving him enough attention, he’ll likely let you know with soft, continuous meows and his big, soulful eyes. The International Cat Association (TICA) describes Himalayans as intelligent and very in-sync with their owners’ emotions. This breed has a short, round body that is equally broad across the shoulders and rump. As such, it is not designed for flying through the


These cats are known to be peopleoriented, just like the Persian, and will most likely want to be a part of whatever their owners are doing.


The Himalayan Grooming: This cat is not low maintenance, grooming wise. Regular grooming is a must and bathing is often needed in order to keep the Himalayan’s coat soft and healthy. Playfulness/sociability: The Himalayan is very people-oriented. If you encounter a Himmy, chances are he’ll be right next to you in a split second, meowing softly for attention.

air as some cats do during playtime. But don’t think that this cat is always a cuddly couch potato; the Himalayan has a playful side and most will bat around anything it can get its paws on for sheer enjoyment, from an expensive cat toy to a simple crumpled up piece of paper. Himalayans, however, are generally not destructive, so you won’t likely find them swinging on curtains or jumping from bookshelf to counter. Not surprisingly, one of the more challenging aspects of owning a Himalayan is the grooming required. A Himmy will not be able to properly groom the entirety of his soft, flowing fur. If not groomed regularly and thoroughly, the undercoat of the Himalayan can become so severely matted that he might have to be shaved to start the coat over. It’s also not uncommon to have to give Himalayans baths, and we all know how much cats love water! Due to the Himalayan's Persian ancestry, some may have the gene that causes Polycystic Kidney Disease; good breeders should do DNA testing to screen for this. And like the Persian, the Himalayan's brachycephalic face and nose can cause shortness of breath. Since the Himalayan’s eyes and nose are so close to each other, it’s a good idea to clean his face when regular nose or eye goop starts to accumulate. Do note, any cat with unusual nose or eye discharge should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Personally, I was lucky enough to be able to adopt my Priscilla, an elderly Himalayan, in 2011. Although she passed away in the summer of 2012, my time with her, though brief, was extraordinary. She was the most loving animal I have ever been in contact with, always greeting me right at the door with meows and a swish of her fluffy tail. The Himalayan cat has it all—beauty, brains, and a loving temperament. Anyone who wants an affectionate cat that simply desires the love of her guardian will not be disappointed. I know I certainly wasn’t. n

If you like the Himalayan, give some consideration to...

Heritage: Officially recognized in 1957, the Himalayan was created by breeding Siamese and Persian cats together to create a unique colourpointed, blue-eyed cat with a long, fluffy coat, and sociable demeanour. US Rescue: Canadian Rescue: Persian

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Exotic Shorthair

s y a w a e v i G Great

ENTER TO WIN We’re giving it away! Enter to win fabulous giveaways October through March. Go to to enter! Lucky readers will win every two weeks.



Win one of two small PetZenDen beds, the patent pending instinctively comfortable twocomponent pet bed designed for your cat to den and burrow in!



Win one of two prizes of a year's supply of Dual Odor Eliminator Clumping Litter from Premium Choice Carefree Kitty!


1st-14th Win one of four SturdiTote carriers, the perfect resting place for kittens or small cats to curl up! Seatbelt-loop, security clips, and pad included.


Win one of four Whole Life Pet gift boxes packed with "Farm to Friend" human-quality, hormone-free, freeze-dried free range, and organic meat treats!






Win one cool and comfortable Sleepypod, the award-winning everyday pet bed that becomes a car seat and carrier, along with a Sleepypod jewelry-grade pet pendant!

Win one of 13 copies of My Animal, My Self by Marta Williams. A biologist and animal communicator, Williams offers breakthrough methods for understanding and improving your animal’s behaviour.

Win one of ten Andis prize packs featuring the Andis Pin Brush and the Andis Slicker Brush grooming tools. Great for grooming your cat!

Win one Kitty’scape, a unique cat play structure that allows you to assemble components any way you choose to build a custom play structure for your cat!






Win one Litter-Robot, the litter box that self-cleans after every use! It's the best odour management solution going. Never scoop again!

Win one of two prizes of a year’s supply of Pet Naturals' Hairball for Cats! These tasty delights contain a breakthrough formula to support skin and hair health.

Win a year’s supply (coupons for 12 free bags) of World’s Best Cat Litter, the only litter with powerful natural ingredients guaranteeing outstanding odour control and clumping!

15th-31st Win one of five SuperCat prize packs, including SuperCat Spray, Markers, and Crumples! Just like a scratch and sniff sticker, SuperCat provides an extended-release catnip scent!

No purchase necessary to enter or win. Beginning October 1, 2013 at 12:01 AM (PST) through March 31, 2014 at 11:59 PM (PST), enter each day at Each biweekly giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (PST). Every two weeks, the specified number of winners for that giveaway will win the prize featured in the giveaway calendar (ARV: $200). Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. Contest is open to legal Canadian and US residents 18 and older as of date of entry. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. Giveaway subject to complete official rules available at




Brilliant Ideas

for Inclement-Weather Cat Fun!



Hang a winter bird feeder out-

side your cat’s favourite window to create an avian theatre for your cat to enjoy.


Get crafty—make a felted cat toy. Bonus for

beginner crafters: your cat won’t care what it looks like! Get the how-to at feltedcattoy.

By Lauren Cheal & Jane Hope

Movie night. You pick

the movie; your cat enjoys two hours of uninterrupted petting—a winwin situation. We suggest the 1951 screwball comedy Rhubarb, a millionaire-leaves-fortune-tocat tale that preceded Leona Helmsley doing the same by a good 50-plus years. In the film, a curmudgeonly yet lovable tycoon dies, bequeathing his fortune along with the wonderfully named baseball team The Brooklyn Loons to his once-feral cat, Rhubarb. Romance, gangsters, and big-league ball heroics follow. An entertainingly madcap must-see. Kids involved in the viewing? You can’t go wrong with Homeward Bound or The Lion King.


Schedule a trip to the groomer. “Fun” here is a relative


Two words: photo opp. Set up a photo

shoot for Mittens and then submit your glorious work to the Modern Cat photo contest (moderncat. com/photocontest). Cute prop suggestions: an almost-tooPhoto Contest Contestant Tobit! small-to-squeeze-into box à la the photo stylings of feline YouTube legend, Maru; a tiny cat hat (check out ToScarboroughFair); a bright ball of yarn.

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term, but if you have a long-haired cat who is prone to mats, a trip to the groomer can be an essential preventative practice. Your cat may never actually thank you for it, but you know what’s best!


Give back with your cat. That cool toy you bought

her that she just doesn’t use? Donate it to a local shelter or rescue organization, along with a few hours of your time. Or bring your cat’s love to others through an animal therapy program like Therapeutic Paws of Canada or the ASPCA’s Animal Assisted Therapy programs.

7 8

Learn more about your feline by reading any of this

fall’s buzz-worthy cat behaviour books. We suggest The Cat Whisperer by Mieshelle Nagelschneider, Cat Sense by John Bradshaw, or Animal Wise by Virgina Morell.

Help your cat take over the Internet. Set him up on

Instagram or download the Vine App and shoot a six second looping video of him napping upside down. You know he has the right stuff for a global audience.


Plant an indoor catnip plant to ensure a

fresh, unending supply of the sweet herb. Dry some of the catnip you grow and steep it into a tea for yourself. Seriously, this is a thing! What is super-stimulating for your cat makes a calming and relaxing tea for you. n



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The Expressive Cat

How to read your cat: deciphering feline body language, facial expression & vocal cues By Steve Duno Illustration By Kim Smith


he frenzied schedule of college life made it impossible for Julie to care for a pet of her own. But when she graduated, landed a job, and moved into her own apartment, she happily decided to adopt her first cat, a young adult Tabby named Bucky. Rescued from a hoarding environment, Bucky had been subjected to many other cats, some friendly, others not. Though generally friendly, his past unpredictable social surroundings required him to utilize a litany of instinctive physical, facial, and vocal cues to tell other cats what his state of mind was—whether he felt safe, endangered, scared, happy or aggressive. These natural feline modes of communication were well practiced by Bucky when Julie took him home; all Julie needed to do was learn to speak the same language.

Cats Don’t Speak Dog! At first, Bucky seemed happy and curious. But when Julie began to robustly play with him, his feline instincts kicked in. Misinterpreting a swishing tail and deliberate warning stares as signs of a willingness to play, she gave him a vigorous, two-handed rub and was rewarded with a bite on the hand. Many pet lovers don’t fully understand cat communications. Julie guessed that Bucky’s upright, flagging tail meant, as it does in dogs, that he was into vigorous play. But to the contrary, a cat’s twitchy, swishing tail usually denotes worry. Likewise, though flattened ears in a dog most often denote submission or compliance, in a cat, it most often signals fear and possible offensive attack. (In contrast, a scared dog with flattened ears may bite defensively, but will most often not go out of his way to provoke aggression.)

Why Speak Cat? A cat’s moods and intentions can often be predicted by specific body postures, facial expressions, and vocal cues. Learning what these are can hold the key to preventing aggression or anxiety and to building a deeper, more loving bond with your cat. Plus, you’ll be able to discern how your cat feels about his environment, family, and friends. But in order to do that, you first need to know what to look for.


Meowing is almost exclusively a cat-to-human communication.

The tail, specifically its movements and positioning, is perhaps the most expressive part of a cat and key to deciphering your cat’s mood, attitude, and comfort level. A tail held high and steady generally denotes a happy, confident cat. A relaxed, easy sway at this point can denote a playful, sociable attitude. If a high tail lashes to and fro, however, the cat most likely feels troubled, defensive or even aggressive. If your cat’s tail is held down between her legs, she may be worried and unsure, while a low, twitchy tail often signals a coming stalk. And if she wraps her tail around you, she’s happy and glad you’re around.

the situation: if she goes belly-up in response to rough play, or to the presence of a dog or cat, it might mean a fight is coming. A belly-up cat can do serious damage with her claws, particularly her back pair, without surrendering territory or expending much energy. Ever have your cat rub her head and body on you or watch her do it to furniture? This maneuver, though friendly, is really a marking behaviour, her way of saying “this is mine!” Kneading, however, is a kittenish behaviour, a holdover from nursing. It means your cat thinks you are her mommy—a great position to be in.

Ears Flattened ears generally mean your cat feels threatened in some way. Erect, steady ears mean she feels happy, alert or simply curious. Twitchy, agitated ears denote a certain nervous energy or an ensuing defensive move. Cats on the hunt will also move their ears every which way to locate prey.

The Look On a Face They say a face never lies. Not so with cats, whose pretty features belie what’s going on inside. For instance, contrary to expectation (at least for those not yet adept at reading “cat”), a slitted half-eye look means your cat is content and confident, whereas a wide-eyed look with dilated pupils says your cat is tense and perhaps entering defensive mode. An unwavering stare denotes either a threatened feeling or a hunting mindset. And if you see an open mouth with heavy breathing and visible teeth, you’d better give your cat some breathing room!

Body Postures The movement and positioning of your cat’s body is a major feline disposition indicator. For instance, the stalk—a slow methodical advance—is predatory and can mean aggressive play or an offensive move. But if she lies on her side, sits, or rests on her belly, your cat is feeling confident and safe. An arched back with flat fur also denotes comfort. Add raised fur to the arched posture, though, and the mood changes to anxious and defensive. If your cat stands upright and motionless, she is probably alert to a possible concern. Crouched, focused, and tensed? She’s ready to act. If arched, retreating, and swishing her tail? Watch out! A belly-up posture can mean playful, but it can also mean she feels threatened. Determining which depends on the context of

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Voice Your cat’s vocalizations can tell you much about her mood, and intent. Meowing, for instance, is almost exclusively a catto-human communication; meowing among cats is usually only seen between kittens and adults. Though usually indicative of good mood, incessant meowing can mean your cat wants something—food, attention, outdoor access, or whatever else she desires but is being denied. Purring means “I’m comfy, safe, and happy.” Revel in it, for it means you are loved and trusted. A hiss, spit or growl, however, means, “step off, dude, I’m ready to fight!” Caterwauling is usually reserved for cat-on-cat aggression or indicative of a mating event.

Handling Hand-in-hand with understanding your cat’s body language should be a perception of how and when to handle your cat. Whenever possible, it should be done on the cat’s terms and not your own. This means not grabbing her, then compelling her to accept petting. Though there will be times when handling will


The Tell of the Tail

The tail, specifically its movements and positioning, is perhaps the most expressive part of a cat and key to deciphering your cat’s mood, attitude, and comfort level.

be crucial to your cat’s wellbeing (grooming; examining; treating wounds), try to choose moments when she is open to or even desirous of contact. When she approaches you and bonks you with her head, that’s a signal; she’s saying “pet me, you fool.” Use that moment to caress her, while casually checking her over. And, when she’s had enough and walks off, accept it. If you always let her determine these physical interactions, you’ll develop a much more trusting relationship with her. Paws are a sensitive area as they are crucial to a cat’s survival, so be casual and fleeting with them. Trimming nails should be done from kitten-hood in a fast, competent manner, perhaps one paw per session, with hours in between. Providing your cat with several sisal scratching posts not only protects your furniture but also helps your cat keep her nails short and in good shape. Touching your cat’s head is usually fine, especially if she has prompted the interaction. Do so lightly, though; remember she’s no retriever. Handling a cat’s belly is often a no-no, unless your cat likes it. It can initiate an attack with paws, so do so fleetingly and only if she likes it. Avoid handling her tail except in fleeting moments, such as when she wraps it around your leg in an affectionate gesture. Cats use their tails for balance and can be very protective of them, so go easy. Grooming, especially for longhaired cats, should be started early in the cat’s life. Short sessions should be followed by a reward and perhaps a play session. Easy strokes of the brush or comb, combined with soft talk and a treat or two can make these sessions fun and help bond you even closer. While grooming or handling, take quick peeks into her ears and mouth. Make this part of the grooming process. But take care with older rescue cats as they do not know you from kitten-hood and will not hold the same level of trust. Remember, to a kitten you are mom, but to an older rescue, you’re just a friend. When guests visit, have them be passive with regard to interacting with your cat. Let her determine the level of interaction. Many cats will at first be standoffish with strangers; respect this, so that eventually she can learn to trust them, too. Make sure they never play rough with her; have them use teaser toys, laser pens or other toys at first instead of going right to handling, unless your cat openly asks to be touched. By understanding your cat’s body language and by letting her determine when, where, and for how long you interact, you’ll build a bond with her that will last for years and make the partnership special. You’ll become fluent in feline and know instinctively when she’s happy and when she’s in need. Remember—she is always communicating—you just have to know how to read the signs. n


If your cat prefers a horizontal scratching surface, The Original Scratch Lounge is an excellent choice. The threesided structure provides great scratching options, and your cat will love the large surface area. $25,

Itch Wall Scratchers help you seamlessly blend necessary cat scratchers into your home dĂŠcor. Made from bamboo and mohair, the design is absolutely modern and cats love the unique scratching surface! $20 - $50,


Kittypod's statement-making Couchette chaise longue let's your cat scratch, sleep, and play to her heart's content. It's tall architectural form provides a sleeping environment, a hiding spot, and multiple wavy-textured sides and angles for sharpening claws. $296,

The coolest cat scratchers going

The multitasking Scratch 'N Chase combines scratching with playing. This unique chase toy with a scratchable center has a magnetized track that pulls the ball around the interior, so even when your cat stops batting, the ball will keep moving, drawing her back for more play! $20,

Petlink's Curve Appeal scratcher offers an enticing number of angles at which to scratch and doubles as a post-scratch hangout! The dangling snap-in catnip toy adds even more enjoyment. $28,

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Customizable awesomeness are the words that best describe the Kitty'scape Complete Starter Kit. Create the space that suits your cat's play and sleep style with this line of expandable cat scratchers and condos. The sky's the limit! $199,



“Goo is a fighter and he is fearless—he has taught me more than once to never judge a book by its cover.”

Mr. Magoo’s... FAVOURITE FOOD Shrimpies and Friskies Indoor Classic Pate Chicken Dinner FAVOURITE PASTIME He loves playing with anything feathery but he prefers to be in his cube while he’s doing it, or hanging out with his buddy Frank (Frank would be his catnip mouse) NICKNAMES Goo, Gooey, Mommy's Moochie Man, Bug Bugaboo, Scooby Gooby Goo, Hop Toad, Dubert

Meet THE BLIND KITTY THAT COULD By Lauren Cheal Photographed by Brooke Jacobs

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“Goo has no idea that he is blind. He just has a different outlook on life. Nothing stops him and nothing gets in his way.”


r. Magoo, the dapper cat on this issue’s cover, took our third Cover Cat contest by storm, thanks in great part to the huge fan base that has developed around this inspiring cat. (His good looks didn’t hurt either.) This is a cat who has not only survived but thrived under difficult circumstances. Goo, as he is affectionately known, has a condition called bilateral micropthalmia, which is a congenital eye disease where a cat may have absent or small eyes, resulting in blindness or other degrees of visual impairment. Goo’s amazing story begins on the streets of Philly, where he somehow managed to survive, sightless, for two years on the mean streets before being picked up by the Philadelphia’s Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT). Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary of St. Paul, NC, shared his plight as a “Philadelphia Urgent" in desperate need or foster/placement or facing euthanasia. When the Facebook post appeared in Colleen Kelly-Angstadt’s newsfeed, she took one look at his face and fell in love. But when Colleen and her husband Scott C. Angstadt called about him, they were told he was no longer at the ACCT facility. They feared the worst. After days of madly calling around, they tracked him down. He had been transferred to the Philidephia SPCA—but his health had taken a turn for the worst, landing him in the ICU. Colleen and her husband were none the less determined to take him home, despite the cleaning and hand-feeding that would be necessary. “When the veterinary tech brought Goo out to us,” Colleen shares, “I had to collect myself. I peered through the crate at that sweet face and instantly fell in love, even though his face was bloody and oozing, and he was in a lot of pain. I knew then that he needed us and we needed him.”

Colleen fell in love with Goo thanks to the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary (, which is a non-profit organization that saves the lives of cats awaiting extermination because they have been deemed “unadoptable” due to blindness, feline leukemia, or FIV+ status. The adoption process was coordinated by the Philadelphia SPCA (pspca. org), which took care of Goo when he was very sick. Both organizations do great work on behalf of needy animals, and both welcome donations of time or money. And fosters are always needed!

Thanks to his indomitable spirit and plenty of love and care, Goo quickly recovered. He has become a poster cat for “specially-abled” animals, as Colleen calls them (“because they are special but perfectly able”) and it isn’t hard to understand why. As Colleen notes, “Goo is a fighter and he is fearless—he has taught me more than once to never judge a book by its cover.” Thousands follow his adventures on Facebook. And then there is Gooey Wear (, proceeds from which go to rescue groups and shelters. Colleen uses Goo’s online popularity as a platform for raising awareness about animals facing challenges, and for sharing the great rewards that come from letting these special souls into one's life. “Our primary goal is to help people open up their hearts and homes to speciallyabled animals and help them find the love, compassion, and forever homes they desperately deserve," Colleen tells us, "Given the opportunity, their potential to change your life is unlimited!" Goo and his human are eagerly anticipating the next big chapter in his story with a book about Goo in the works from author Anne Carmichael. Stay tuned. n


An exclusive interview with cat behaviour expert Mieshelle Nagelschneider By Connie Wilson

“Your cats need to have an environment that helps them exert their cat-ness.”

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ou know when you read something so illuminating and right-on that you’re, like, eureka? Well that was our experience reading Mieshelle Nagelschneider’s new book The Cat Whisperer. We’re unabashed to call Mieshelle our cat guru, what with the very insightful inside track to the feline mind she offers. Troubled by an ongoing cat behaviour problem? Looking to improve your bond? Mieshelle’s your cat lady! We asked her a bunch of questions about her magical connection with and understanding of felines, so that you can apply some of her techniques in your own home. Read on…

Q: You have a passion for cats and an innate understanding of what makes them tick. Would you say it’s a gift? Have you always loved cats? A: As a very young child, I only had access to barn or feral cats. It was a challenge to even get close to many of them, let alone socialize them. This elusiveness made them seem almost mythological, like the unicorn or leprechaun. As a four-year-old, to befriend one was truly magical. Today, I still like a challenge and to be good at something that not very many people are good at. I think it’s a gift to be able to read animals well, but some anthropologists now believe that we all have this innate ability. This makes sense to me. After all, we have been living next to animals from the very beginning.

Q: What is it you love about cats? A: I love everything about the cat! They are the most dynamic of companion animals. Where can you find an animal that’s cute and cuddly one minute, but in a breath show they are a formidable predator?

Q: Your book is filled with great tips for reshaping all kinds of problematic behaviours, from destructive scratching, to inappropriate elimination, to compulsive chewing. Can you tell us about your approach to behaviour-training cats? A: At The Cat Behaviour Clinic our approach is an all-encompassing one that first takes an in depth look at every category of the cat’s life—environment, feeding, play time, social interaction with people and other cats, and early socialization, just to

name a few. Many of our clients are surprised by the nine-page behaviour history questionnaire they have to complete prior to a phone consultation. I don’t just treat symptoms of a bigger problem. Only addressing an aggressive behaviour, for example, would be like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the string. It’s important to learn what factors are causing a cat to be aggressive to effectively solve the problem. Cats also respond best to positive training and I don’t allow reprimanding or punishment. This will backfire with cats and break the bond with the owner and lead to even more behaviour issues. You want to create a utopia for your cat, not a place that’s stressful.

Q: Why do you think it is the best method of cat training? A: Understanding how cats think and see their world is key. If you can create an environment that makes sense to their wildcat instincts, you should not have any behaviour issues. Also, because cats are not pack animals, they have no reason to please the owner or perform “obedient” behaviour like a dog would. If anything, cats are less like a dog and more similar in nature to a raccoon or a squirrel. It’s all about letting the environment do the work to guide their natural behaviours in ways that, in our eyes, are not behaviour issues.

Q: What are some keys to success for a person getting started with training their cat? A: Try to create an environment that you think a little tiger or leopard might enjoy.

Q: What is the most common behaviour problem people struggle with? A: Litter box issues by far are the number one complaint amongst cat owners, but I think are also the most easily solved.

Q: Why is it so important to give cats both vertical and horizontal space to roam? A: Where in nature do we only find horizontal and no vertical space? Our housecats are descendants of the African Wildcat and still retain wildcat instincts and need both vertical and horizontal space. This is one of the main things I teach all of my clients in every behaviour consultation. Your cats need to have an environment that helps them exert their cat-ness.


You can take the cat out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the cat. Q: What is the weirdest cat problem someone has come to you with? Were you able to help them?

Q: What is the one thing a cat owner can do to make their home a better space for their cat to thrive in?

A: This was at the beginning of my behaviour-consulting career in 1999. An owner was having litter box issues with one of her cats. She was certain that one of her cats that had passed away was now a “ghost cat” and was terrorizing her other cats to the point they were afraid to go to the litter boxes. Needless to say, this wasn’t the case, but some of the things she told me were pretty uncanny. Yes, I was able to solve the issue!

A: Create an enriching environment that provides both mental and physical activity—daily play times (interactive and solo), vertical space, scratching areas, and try to incorporate food puzzles or other novel feeding opportunities into their lives. Just like our housecats, tigers and leopards in zoos develop some of the same behaviour issues being kept in captivity. Increasing both mental and physical activity has proven to not only help the housecat, but the big cats too!

Q: Do you believe cats should be kept indoors or also be allowed outdoors? Why? A: My number one concern is cat safety. I recommend “catios” and outdoor enclosures for my client’s cats as ways to increase territory space and environmental enrichment. Walking cats on a harness and leash is also a great way to get cats safely outside. I strongly advise against letting your cat roam freely in the neighbourhood. There are too many dangers—cars, people, poisons, chemicals, and interfacing with other feral cats, not to mention becoming part of the feral cat population.

Q: What are the most important things to do in order to keep a harmonious multi-cat household? A: One of the new techniques that you will read about in my cat behaviour book is called “Social Facilitation,” aka The Nagelschneider Method. It involves making sure your cats have a group scent which facilitates social behaviour between them. The group scent is like a “social glue” and your cats will feel affiliated and more accepting of one another. If you have a five-cat household, each cat should carry the scent of the other four cats. Cats create and maintain a group scent by grooming or rubbing up against each other. Sometimes you will have what we call a “social facilitator” cat. She is like the diplomat of the household, grooming and rubbing up against everyone, helping to create the social glue/group scent. But sometimes the owners have to become the social facilitator and brush all of their cats a few times a day with the same brush. You should brush them on the same areas cats would normally groom and rub up against each other—on the head, neck, shoulders, and along the rib cage. Leave out the hindquarters and tail. Not having a group scent spells trouble—your cats will behave like you’re forcing them to live in captivity together. Best case scenario, they will tolerate one another; worst case, your household will be a war zone.

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Q: What is something you think more people need to know about sharing their life with cats? A: Cats are as wild as we have become civilized. Respecting a cat for what they really are—an animal with wild instincts—is the first step to coexisting peacefully with your feline companion. Create an environment where your cat can thrive. Remember, you can take the cat out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the cat.

Q: What is the cutest thing one of your seven cats does to show you how much you mean to him or her? A: Anywhere I happen to be, all seven cats surround me or sit on me. They do a lot of head bunting, slow eye blinks (a nice gesture), and licking of my face. One cat, Jasper, wraps both his arms around my neck pressing his face into mine while drooling and purring loudly.

Q: If you can give just one piece of advice to our readers what would it be? A: In one of my animal behaviour classes at Harvard University I learned a piece of advice that has stuck with me through the years: In order to help our animals with behaviour issues, we must first learn to see the world through their eyes. We must also learn to respect cats for what they are—our most wild of companion animals complete with wildcat instincts.

Q: What exciting plans do you have in the works? A: I was recently on The Today Show talking about cats and The Cat Whisperer book and I’m currently helping veterinarian Jenny Conrad promote her anti-declawing film, The Paw Project. I’m also looking forward to a media tour in Germany, Austria and Switzerland because my book was also published there. It’s the same book, only in German! “Katzenflusterin”! That’s German for Cat Whisperer! n


Mieshelle Nagelschneider, aka The Cat Whisperer, Weighs in with Life Changing Advice re: Dining Etiquette

The Case for Free-Feeding


n a multi-cat household, if you offer food to cats in one big communal cat food bowl or even several cat food bowls all within the same room, and feed them all at the same time, you will fail to address the cats’ territorial needs. The existence of only one location for food and a limited number of pathways to it could be enough to create the kind of tension at mealtime that leads to fighting and bullying. Some cats may end up unhappily hungry as others bully them out of the way. Food abundance and dispersion are easy but critical ways to keep space between your cats, allow them to time-share more efficiently, and keep them happy. Free-feeding, which consists of keeping food available to the cats at all hours of night and day, preferably in several locations throughout the home, is another way. Why free-feed? Cats have small stomachs that empty out in a couple of hours. An empty stomach is no fun, especially if it’s empty for several hours. Cats in the wild and those allowed to set their own feeding schedules eat quite frequently—from nine to sixteen mouse-sized meals per day—and appear to have evolved to eat that way. Not surprisingly, cats who are fed only twice a day, during scheduled feedings, can become agitated, and they can get even more cranky if the food isn’t served on time. Their stomachs will be growling and their dinner conversations may be kind of grumpy (sometimes even hostile), causing them to take their unhappiness out

on each other. Dominant cats will want to make sure everybody knows they’re in control and they are going to get the food first. Dominant cats who are concerned about the perceived scarcity of food resources may be so anxious about preserving their dominance that they intimidate lower-ranking cats not just at mealtimes but at other times of the day too. Even a cat who doesn’t have to share food with other cats is happier when she can readily follow her body’s natural rhythms. Anytime a cat eats, she’s at her most content, with a more stable mood and emotional state. Many people are totally unaware their cats are stressed about food until they see the difference in their cats’ personalities after they begin either free-feeding the cats or providing them with more than two meals a day. Cats fed on timed human schedules tend to be less cooperative and more aggressive than cats allowed to eat on their own schedules. In most cases, you don’t need to worry that free-fed cats will gain weight. In fact, I’ve seen obese cats lose weight once food was made readily available, because once they realized that there would always be enough food and there was no need to gobble it up all at once, they stopped overeating. Free-feeding may also reduce some cats’ tendency to bolt their food down and later regurgitate it. If a cat is not able to regulate her food intake, however, I do not recommend free-feeding. You may create an obese cat. For these

Many people are totally unaware their cats are stressed about food.

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If you’re concerned about your cat overeating by free-feeding, try several small meals a day vs. only two meals. There are timed-feeders on the market that can help achieve this, whether your cat eats wet or dry food.

cats, a timed feeder that delivers food four or more times a day is ideal. You won’t be increasing the calorie allotment—just how often he is fed. However, for cats who can regulate their intake and for whom obesity is not an issue (75 to 90 percent of cats), I would go so far as to say that feeding them twice a day is inhumane. Dispersal of food resources can have strikingly positive effects on the happiness and harmony of your feline household. Place food bowls in different locations throughout the home (not just in different areas of the kitchen or bathroom)—both for free-feeding and scheduled feedings. There should be as many food bowls as there are cats. Feeding cats together is a sure-fire way to start a behaviour problem. Experiment with placing bowls on different levels—some on the floor and some on tables or windowsills. A more timid cat may not feel comfortable eating on the floor. Food puzzles [see page 48] are a great way to help prolong you cat’s feeding so he doesn’t gobble down all his food at once. Instead, he’ll have to work to get the food out of the puzzle, which also gives him the mental stimulation he needs.

Water, Water, Everywhere

Water is as important to cats’ health as it is to ours. Water helps to soften hard stools, digest and absorb nutrients from food, regulate body temperature, and flush waste. Cats can live for days without food, but bodily functions simply shut down if they lack sufficient water. As with the food bowl, all it takes is one cat sitting next to the water bowl or on the pathway to it to intimidate another cat. So spread the water wealth. Ever wonder why your cat prefers to drink out of your glass? Or from anywhere other than the water bowl next to his food? Instinctively, cats prefer to drink water that’s located away from their dead prey which, in nature, may contaminate their water with bacteria. To honour this survival instinct, separate their “dead prey”— which in this case is their store-bought food—from their water. Both food and water should also be placed in an area separate from your cats’ litter boxes. To make water appealing, keep it fresh—I refill my cats’ water several times a day, and I recommend you do so, too, if your cat doesn’t drink enough. A bowl should either be wide or filled to the brim. Why? Because cat’s whiskers are very sensitive. They may use their paws to dip water out, and spill it on the floor, rather than push their whiskers against a narrow-brimmed or less-than-full bowl to drink from it. Cats are drawn to running water so if your cat doesn’t seem to be drinking from his bowl, try a fountain. Cats are notorious for not drinking enough water, and these simple prescriptions can make it more likely that they will get what they need. n

Cat’s-Eye View Kittens should be exposed to various types of cat food flavours and textures. If they’re not, they may later refuse to eat anything but what they were conditioned to eat as kittens. Cats can be finicky about food. They won’t necessarily eat a healthy meal even if they’re hungry. They’ve been known to starve to death (or eat their young) rather than eat an unpalatable meal. Compare your picky child to that! Indeed cats are so finicky that cat food manufacturers are forced to use humans to test cat food because cats themselves refuse to do it.

>>For more invaluable insight into your cat’s behaviour, check out Mieshelle’s un-putdownable (yes, we know that’s not a word, but it works in this case) new book, “The Cat Whisperer: Why Cats Do What They Do—and How to Get Them to do What You Want.” We can’t recommend it enough.

Excerpted from THE CAT WHISPERER by Mieshelle Nagelschneider. Copyright © 2013 by Mieshelle Nagelschneider. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Nifty Enrichment Ideas for Your Indoor Cat By Rose Frosek

Make a kitty playground for your cat. From cat trees and kitty condos to their low-rent but often equally enjoyed equivalent, cardboard boxes and paper bags, cats love to have objects to climb in, on, and over.

Go for a stroll. If your cat is accustomed to a carrier, why not get a pet stroller like Kittywalk’s strollers made especially for cats ( and take your cat along on your next post-dinner walk? In the wild, the majority of a cat’s time is spent searching for food. Allow your cat to fulfill this natural drive by secreting treats around your house for her to find. (This provided you don’t have babies or toddlers in the house that might consume the cat snacks hidden about.) For more on this read what your cat really wants at whatyourcatreallywants.)

Plant organic wheat grass for your cat to munch on. offers—you guessed it—ready to go grow-your-own wheat grass kits for a nice bit of indoor greenery your cat will appreciate.

If your cat prefers to drink running water (and who doesn’t prefer freshly run agua?), get her a drinking fountain. Thirsty Cat Fountains makes lovely ceramic ones both you and your cat will love (

Lightly mist your cat’s bed/chosen resting spot with Feliway, a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone cats use to mark their territory as safe and secure. It's remarkably effective. Get your walk on. Starting indoors, teach your cat to walk on lead wearing a harness. Sturdi Products ( makes great harnesses especially for cats.

Install a window perch to offer prime viewing of the neighbourhood and an elevated spot from which to sunbathe. Square Cat Habitat ( makes beautiful, minimal perches—or, if you’re handy, make one yourself.

If your cat is the sole feline in your household, consider getting him a buddy. Many cats grow to love feline companionship—and some really don’t. If you’re unsure which camp your cat falls into, consider fostering first. You’ll establish how your cat will take to a friend, while providing a much-needed temporary home for a shelter cat, saving lives by freeing up space in the shelter! n



A fun treat for the curious cat, these SuperCat Catnip Caves have Nanoburst Technology that releases catnip when the bags are crinkled, scratched, or otherwise disturbed.


The Cat Charmer Wand toy by Cat Dancer makes a wonderful and super-affordable present for your cat. Twirl and slither the 48 inches of colouful fleece fabric to tease, tantalize, and get your kitty moving!

The Kitty Lure Caster is a tantalizing update of a classic cat toy. The simple wand design is ideal for interactive play, and the oh-so enticing critter on the end of the string drives cats wild.

Let's Play! Interactive toys to thrill your cat


Delight your cat with the award-winning batteryoperated Fling-ama-String Interactive Cat Toy. One side of a long string is sewn to a flat elastic conveyor belt which is constantly rotating, flinging the string in and out for non-stop amusement. Hang on any standard door knob and let the fun begin!


Challenge your cat to figure out this cool Cat Treat Maze from designer Nina Ottoson. Unlike other treat puzzle toys, the maze spins and wobbles to create a novel hunting experience for your little buddy. Great for cats who eat too fast, too!


Stimulate your cat's desire to hunt and search for prey with this Stimulo Cat Interactive Feeder from Aikiou. The tube feeders mean that she’ll have to use her paws (and her noggin) to figure out how to get at the food inside!

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Interactive toys are a great way to give your cat mental stimulation, and the Kong Wobbler is sure to do just that. Hide a treat in the toy and let Mittens work out the puzzle!



12 Ways to De-Clutter While Doing Some Good Are your closets and cupboards crowded with stuff you don’t need, from extra towels to perfectly nice toys your cat simply didn’t take to? Why not take stock of the excess and create some room in your life—all while doing some good? Most shelters and rescue groups are delighted to receive gently used donations.

Items commonly needed by animal shelters:

1. Toys

6. Towels

2. Blankets

7. Food and treats

3. Kennels and crates

8. Leashes and collars

4. Newspaper

9. Laundry detergent

5. Beds

10. Office supplies

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

—Maya Angelou

Feeling Stressed?

Take a “me” break with this site dedicated to cute cat photos and videos is on a self-stated mission to “disrupt the internet with cats and happiness,” something we can definitely get behind. Designed by cat lovers, offers a place to share and enjoy cat pictures and videos, and comment on them with fun emoji. You can even create a catvatar (yes, that would be a cat avatar). Head on over to check out the abundance of super-cute cat photos. This is a great site to share with kids.

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{Staff Review}

Our Cats’ Newest Obsession? Cat Dreams DVD Prepare to battle your cat for screen time. Though recipient of an initially lukewarm reception at first viewing, this DVD, designed to tantalize and titillate cats, ends up receiving a very enthusiastic two paws up. MC staff cat Cordelia’s preferred activity is watching the birds outside her living room window, so when a copy of the Cat Dreams DVD arrived at the Modern Cat office, I was super-excited to take it home and give it a whirl. With great anticipation, I cued up the video—and Cordy just wasn’t interested. She walked off to have a nap. But before abandoning the DVD at the back of a drawer, I decided to show it to a cat-loving friend. We were remarking on the beautiful visuals and ultra-realistic noises, and then—bam! —Cordy pounced on the screen. (She had snuck up on us while we weren’t looking. Cats are like that.) Now she loves it and will paw the TV, demanding her show. Check it out yourself at!—JH


Yes Indeed, There is Such a Thing As Aquatherapy for Cats In November 2012, Cornelius, a stray kitten of only two-and-ahalf months, was found at the side of the road, skinny and seriously injured, having been hit by a car. He was rushed to the Abbotsford, BC SPCA and seen by a vet, but the prognosis wasn’t good—a rear leg would need to be amputated. He was too small and weak to immediately undergo surgery, so he was placed with a foster family, where he recovered amazingly. Taken back to the vet for reassessment, it was discovered he wouldn’t need an amputation after all, but would need surgery on both his hips. Wonderful news, but still, rehabilitation would be necessary. Enter Kendall De Menech of Abbotsford, BC’s K9 H20. An experienced animal aquatherapist, De Menech has twelve years of experience treating injured and overweight dogs and, yes, cats. She donated aquatherapy services to Cornelius to rebuild his muscles and tendons in a low-impact environment. De Menech creates a calm environment and floats her feline clients gently on a mat in a shallow area of the aquatherapy pool. After lots of love, the cat will eventually swim to shore. De Menech says that the cats always make the choice to be involved in their own recovery, and many cats come to love to swim. Though now recovered, Cornelius continues to swim (he has worked up to a pool-length!), as do his siblings, the cats of his foster family (who, by the way, ended up adopting him). Cornelius has even swum with a dog and a guinea pig, as K9H20 doesn’t discriminate against species. Among hundreds of rehabilitated dogs, they have also offered aqua therapy to a miniature horse, a fawn, a skunk, a swan, ferrets, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, a lamb, and, yes, cats. Find out more at For video footage, go to

Study Finds Connection Between Spaying/ Neutering Pets & Lifespan Banfield Pet Hospital, the world's largest veterinary practice, recently released the largest pet health report to date, based on 2.6 million pets across the U.S. According to Banfield’s report, neutering cats can lead to a 62 percent increase in lifespan (!), while spayed female cats live 39 percent longer than unspayed female cats. Additionally, their 2013 report found that the average lifespan of a cat in 2012 was 12 years, up 1 year since 2002—a 10 percent increase. Other interesting findings included: •

About 20 percent (or 1 in 5) of the cats in Louisiana and Mississippi aren’t spayed or neutered, and these are among the states with the shortest lifespans

Montana and Oregon are tied for the highest percentage of geriatric cats at 24 percent

States with the longest lifespan for cats are Montana, Colorado, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Nebraska

States with the shortest lifespan for cats are Delaware, Ohio, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi


! Yum

PEOPLE FOODS FOR CATS Get snack-tastic! Creative, healthy treats for your cat By Elizabeth Scott and Laura Pask


ats are wonderfully unique animals, not only in the ways they enliven our days with their rather mysterious, feline-specific antics, but also in the many unique digestive and metabolic characteristics they possess. The most defining characteristic of a cat’s physiology is that they’re obligate carnivores, meaning their bodies are optimally designed to digest and metabolize a meat-based diet. Because of their evolution as carnivores, cats have a high requirement for the amino acid taurine, naturally present in meat, fish and some seafood products; you cannot feed dog food to a cat for long periods of time (dog food does not have added taurine) without your cat experiencing serious health repercussions like heart failure and blindness. Additionally, cats do not deal well with high glucose diets, which is why cat food usually has higher protein levels than dog food. And then there’s the interesting fact that cats are evolved from desert animals so they can survive on low water intake. All this means cats are more challenging to feed than their canine brethren, but does not mean you shouldn’t supplement your cat’s regular diet with a little, novel treat on occasion. After all, variety is the spice of life, right? Cats may be initially hesitant when eating new foods, so keep in mind that just because your cat at first turns up her nose doesn’t mean that she won’t come to enjoy the new tidbit. Cats are also notoriously choosy, so you might have to try a few different options before you hit upon the treats your cat enjoys. We think it’s worth the effort.

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FIGHT FAT! Treats should comprise no more than 10 percent of your cat’s daily caloric intake.

1. Lox

Smoked salmon isn’t just for bagels; many cats also enjoy the delicacy. Bonus: salmon is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and promote skin and coat health. Lox does contain sodium nitrate as part of the smoking process so this feline delicacy should be enjoyed in moderation.

2. Spinach

Low in calories and containing almost every vitamin and mineral, spinach is a great way to introduce some greens to your cat. Spinach also contains glycoclycerolipids, which research has shown to help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage due to inflammation. Note: cats with urinary or kidney problems should avoid spinach as it also contains calcium oxalates which can contribute to the formation of crystals in the urinary tract.

5. Blueberries These sweet-tart little berries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Research with dogs has shown that blueberries, as part of an antioxidant-rich diet, can help to reduce the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction and the same is hoped to be true of cats. Many cats love blueberries frozen and their small size makes them perfect for cats. A great treat to share!

3. Sardines

Canned or frozen sardines are great sources of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. If you have a food dehydrator, give dehydrating a batch of sardines a go. You may need to chop or slice them into a smaller, easier to handle size for your cat, but the effort will likely be rewarded by happy cat cuddles. We love our Excalibur dehydrator (

4. Beef or Chicken Broth

One of the greatest challenges cat guardians face is getting their cats to consume adequate water. Cats tend to drink very little—most cats do not drink enough water—and can be fussy about how water is offered. Adding lowsodium beef or chicken broth to your cat’s food will increase her water consumption while providing a very low calorie treat. Feeding wet cat food is also a great way to increase your cat’s water intake. Both are good tips to keep in mind if your cat has bladder crystals/stones as increased water consumption is the main treatment for this ailment.

6. Melon

There are many types of melon, from cantaloupe to honey dew to watermelon, and all of them are a healthy sweet treat you can share with your cat. Melons are a good source of vitamins A and C and are rich in antioxidant flavonoids, which help protect against free-radicals in the body. Melon can also be frozen before sharing for a cool treat or can be lightly mashed to make it more palatable if your cat doesn’t like the texture.

7. Cheese

Many cats love cheese, which is super as cheese is a great source of calcium and protein. Catapproved cheese choices include cottage cheese, Swiss, cheddar or gouda. Soft, un-ripened cheeses like brie and camembert can be a little higher in lactose, which may cause some tummy upset so feed with caution. Cheese is also high in fat and salt so portion control is a must.


8. Chicken or Turkey Gizzards

Gizzards—the second stomach of chickens or turkeys—are an excellent source of lean protein. At Thanksgiving, remove the gizzards from the cavity of the bird where they are often stored and boil it up in a bit of water to feed to your cat. In the summer, cook then freeze gizzards for a chilly, hot weather treat. Gizzards can also be dehydrated for a chewy snack that promotes dental health. Some supermarket packages of gizzards contain livers and hearts as well as stomach, collectively called giblets. Both liver and heart are also excellent sources of protein but tend to be a little rich for most cats so feed small pieces at first to make sure you don’t upset your cat’s tummy.

TIP! Start introducing little bits of extra treats when your cats are kittens. Kittens tend to be more adventurous, while adult cats are often a bit suspicious of new foods. If your cat is already an adult, fear not; you can still introduce new foods, it may just take a bit of perseverance. Experiment with a few different options and try offering them to your cat more than once before declaring the cat not a fan of a particular food.

10. Nutritional yeast

This is a type of yeast (usually Saccharomyces cerevisiea) that has been grown under controlled conditions and then heat-treated so that it is no longer active. Nutritional yeast is often used by people who are vegetarians. With its slightly nutty or cheesy taste, people often use it as a flavour enhancer for foods, including as a topping for popcorn. Try sprinkling a small amount (less than a teaspoon) on your cat’s dinner. Some cats may not enjoy the taste, so start with a small amount and gradually add a bit more as they become accustomed to it. It is very rich in B-vitamins and protein and can help contribute to a healthy coat. Caution: do not feed live yeast used for baking. Baking yeast is toxic to cats.

11. Eggs 9. Fresh or frozen peas

Green peas are high in fibre, vitamin C, and vitamin A. In fact, you may have noticed that some cat foods include peas in their ingredient list. Cats can enjoy peas frozen, fresh, or cooked. If your cat is new to peas, try adding a couple of slightly mashed cooked peas to your cat’s food before working up to fresh peas. The pods are likely too tough for your cat to enjoy so stick to the peas themselves.

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Scrambled or hard-boiled, eggs are a great source of protein for felines. Egg whites in particular are a super treat choice for cats watching their waistlines, as the yolk is higher in fat and cholesterol than the white.

Sharing a bit of your food with your cat can help build your bond while improving your cat’s health. Just remember to introduce new foods slowly and keep an eye on your cat to make sure the new food agrees with him. If your cat is prone to health problems, always discuss his diet with your veterinarian. Diet has a major impact—either positive or negative—on health. If your cat has kidney or urinary problems, or if he has developed urinary crystals or stones in the past, be very cautious adding fruits and vegetables, especially those which are high in vitamin C, to his diet. The two main types of urinary crystals that form can be influenced by diet and require opposite dietary approaches. n


Designer Akemi Tanaka’s elegantly minimal wall-mounted perch allows cats up to 30 pounds to lounge on high. We love it for its simple, unobtrusive design and for giving our cats vertical access. $199,

The foldable, water-tight, durable SturdiBox is a bestseller for good reason, perfect for both on the road and at home. The sevengallon size is the newest and largest, useful as a portable pet bath, toy organizer, or deep litter box for cats who like to dig! 7-gallon size, $32,


There are so many great things about this case for the iPhone 5 that we don’t even know where to start. Suffice to say, this is one cool cat! $21, shop/1VintageSoul

Fantastic finds for the feline obsessed

These beautiful collars are made from 100% merino wool and organic cotton twill, and feature a breakaway clasp for safety. Simple and chic. Love it! $28,

{editor’s pick} These striking, museum-quality blueprints of different cat breeds make a bold statement. Displayed in archival acid-free matte board under a 100% poplar wood frame, they’re simply stunning! Framed from $185,

We love these modular cat house building blocks from Catty Stacks. The strong, eco-friendly boxes allow you to create a whole world for your cat to explore that fits into your unique space. $15 per cube,

Cats love to curl up in enclosed spaces, and the Franklin Mulholland Hideaway Pillow is a superstylish spot for them to do just that. File this under “Want it!” From $179,

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HOW I MET MY CAT Delilah By Traci Rash

From cats, I have learned the beauty of giving pure pleasure. And that cats smile.


y orange Tabby kitten came to me in a brown cardboard box from a pet store. She was a gift from my husband after an argument. He returned with dinner in a plastic bag and a kitten in a cardboard box. Sounds cheesy, I know, and it was so uncharacteristic of him. It remains one of the most beautiful things anyone has ever done for me; like a bouquet of flowers that lasts for twenty years. This is likely the worst scenario in which to get a pet. After a fight. As a gift. From a pet store. But she and me, we’ve been together for thirteen years now, and this is our story. I can’t believe it took me hours to name her. She was a companion for my seven-year-old Himalayan, Sampson. Beautiful, patient Sampson now had his nemesis, the fiery haired Delilah. As a kitten, she would gobble up her food and head straight to his bowl. He would curl his big paw into a fist and tap her on the head at her imposition. Thunk, thunk, thunk. Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk. She would squint her eyes and put her ears back, incredulous, but he taught her manners in his gentle way. They grew to a healthy tolerance and provided companionship to one another. I had hoped they might love each other, but I don’t think they ever did. Much like my husband and I.

Years later, after my divorce, Sam passed away at seventeen. I had been thinking it was time I put him down, and he had been sleeping so soundly of late that I thought I had roused him from death many a time. That morning, I awoke to a prince frozen in sleep in front of his dish. I called in sick for work, wrapped him in his blanket, put him in my carpetbag, and embarked on a weeping hour-long train trip to my Mom’s house. Anyone who has buried an old pet understands that journey. I buried Sampson in my Mom’s backyard—the very backyard I had been married in—next to her dog, Buddy. I am an animal lover. Indiscriminately, I love dogs and cats, albino axolotls, and exotic goldfish. But I understand cats. I was nine when I made a bed in my bedroom closet for my pregnant cat, Mindy, from an oversized shoebox. She gave birth in the middle of the night. I don’t even think I woke my

Share your story. Email submissions for “How I Met My Cat” to

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I had hoped they might love each other, but I don’t think they ever did. Much like my husband and I.

parents up. When the cardboard walls of her enclosure weren’t strong enough, she gave birth pushing her back feet on my forearm. I did not even know what a placenta was, never mind the horror of why she would want to eat it. But I learned. So I know baby kittens always hiss at you. And you shouldn’t touch them. And that mothers need their privacy. And kittens’ teeth are sharp as needles. From cats, I have also learned the beauty of giving pure pleasure. And that cats smile. A thoughtful ear rub. A well-placed stroke under both ears. The caress under the chin. A defined massage over the backbone. And the dangerous and irresistible tummy rub. There are cats that do and cats that don’t enjoy this. I know the moment that a tail wags and ears go stiff that the front and back claws are about to wrap my forearm in a malevolent scratching embrace, but I always like to push it anyways. I know that I share my abode with a little lion. I have since learned that female orange Tabbies are a rarity. Delilah is not as cuddly as my Sampson was, which is why my secret Cat Lady nickname for her is Cuddles MacGee. She has seen me through marriage and it’s dissolution, relationships, heartbreak, my mother’s stroke, and a bout of skin cancer in the middle of my face. When I cry, she jumps on my lap. She is also very receptive to my sneezes. She is not just a pet, but a companion, my roommate, and friend. When I arrive home, Delilah always pops out to greet me. We have this routine. I sweep her up in my arms and cradle her in a way she feels safe. I can tell she was sleeping by her warmth. She accepts my kisses begrudgingly and looks at the room from this bird’s eye view. I have about ninety seconds until she struggles away and I set her down gently. She always heads straight to her bowls full with food and water, wanting more. We’ve been through a lot, this cat and I. I’ve learned from her unreasonable expectations and healthy boundaries, but mostly unconditional love. And I’m gonna try to rub her tummy again later. n



“Peterbalds are often described as part monkey, part dog, and part human and that’s certainly true of Esau.”

AQ&A with Mayim Bialik Interview & photograph by Chris Ameruoso

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From Blossom to The Big Bang Theory, actress Mayim Bialik has been beaming her way into our consciousness since she was a preteen. But this Hollywood mainstay bucks the celebrity trends, doing things her own way. Aside from her current, Emmynominated starring role in a primetime sitcom, she’s also an attachment parenting expert, holds a PhD in neurosciences, and is a cat lover after our own hearts to boot. Just ask her “first son” Esau, a hairless Peterbald cat. The accomplished Mayim Bialik is many things, but conventional is not one of them.

Q: Tell us about your cat Esau. What is his story? A: I consider Esau my first son. I got him nine years ago. At the time, I wasn't as heavy into the vegan/animal rights community like I am now, and I fell in love with him at a pet store in Bel Air. Even as a tiny kitten, he was exceptionally affectionate, cuddly, and loving and I returned to the pet store where I first saw him a week after I first met him. His siblings had been adopted but he remained. I took him home and we've been together ever since. He is a Peterbald breed and, as others of his breed are, he is more human than most humans I know. He's communicative, exceedingly affectionate, always [feeling] cold, but always loving.

Q: What personality traits do you share? A: He's very honest and communicates his needs pretty directly. He loves to be held and he likes a good cuddle. I hope those are things I share with him.

How did Esau adapt when you had children? What is the relationship between Esau and your two boys, Miles, 7, and Frederick, 4, like?

once tearing open a bag of challah, and if you take your eyes off him when there's any melon around… He also loves feather-based cat toys, napping under blankets, and sleeping in my arms. He doesn't like baths. He also likes catching crickets in our house and once caught a lizard. I was able to save the lizard but he had a great time catching it.

Q: You’ve just announced your divorce from your husband, which is surely a challenging adjustment for everyone involved. Is Esau a help to you and your kids in this? A: This is a great question, and also a hard one. Esau is a wonderful comfort to me, of course, and the boys love to cuddle him and love him up when they come to my house for my nights with them. Esau also misses my ex, but whenever he comes over with the boys, he has special time with Esau, and also helps me trim Esau’s nails, which is a two-person job!

Q: What type of affection do you get from a hairless breed?

A: Esau bonds very strongly to humans, so I am his beloved, as it were. He is quite possessive of me, and he does love the boys, but also prefers when they are not in bed with me so he has me all to himself. When my second son was born, we had just lost a cat (his buddy, Moses), and he bonded very closely with the baby, sleeping next to him whenever he napped.

A: Peterbalds are often described as part monkey, part dog, and part human and that's certainly true of Esau. He greets me at the door and then walks me to the door when I leave. He purrs almost all the time and likes to be in the middle of whatever anyone is doing. Because he gets cold, he's particularly affectionate at night and in the winter months, but he's sort of always available to be in my lap or next to me.

Q: What have your boys learned from having a cat in their lives?

Q: What have you learned from having Esau in your life? What does he mean to you?

A: They learn how to be gentle, how to care for other living things, and also how to be responsible for another living thing. They also get tremendous joy from him and get to see that animals are intelligent and emotional creatures to be respected and adored.

A: I've never had a cat who has such a human presence. I get a lot of comfort from him. Esau has been a huge part of my adult life. I miss him when I'm not home with him and he misses me too. I don't think I'll ever find a cat with a personality like his.

Q: What are some of Esau’s favourite things?

Q: If he could tell us one secret about Mayim what would he tell?

A: I found out the hard way that he likes to eat anything. It's not healthy for cats to eat everything but he's been caught more than

A: I think he would say that no matter how hard a day I've had or how down I am, the best medicine is Esau. n



Things You Should Be Doing For Your Cat (but probably aren’t)

1. Wash the cat bed. Wash it frequently, and in very hot water so that the harmful bacteria it can harbour— like MRSA—are killed.

2. Provide a huge variety of exercise opportunities Mix up which toys your cat has available—rotating her favourites will make your cat all the more interested in playtime. Coming up with simulated hunting and play opportunities will keep your cat mentally and physically agile.

3. Wash your cat’s food and water dishes weekly (at the very least)

6. Read that cat food label! Most of us feed our cats the same food day in and day out, which means your putting an awful lot of faith in your brand of choice providing what it says it does. For starters, you should be looking for a high quality protein source—no mystery meats!—a lower percentage of grainbased protein, and no unnecessary additives like artificial colours and flavours. For more specifics, go to moderncat. com/felinenutrition.

Bacteria can grow on cat dishes and lead to skin problems (the misleadingly named “cat acne” is one example).

4. Give your cat positive attention when she is displaying good behaviour. Don’t miss an opportunity to reinforce good behaviour like scratching on the scratching post or coming to you when you call (it can be done!). Why not try out clicker training?

5. Change the Litter We have one question for you – when did you last change the litter? (Be honest!) Ultimately, you should be scooping your cat’s litter box once a day (more often if multiple cats are using the same box) Failure to do so can lead to elimination in inappropriate areas.

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7. Subscribe to Modern Cat magazine Oh wait. You already knocked that off the list. Great job!



craft D.I.Y.

Guaran teed Smiles

Enliven a Sunday afternoon with this easy-to-make petaled cat collar created by the master crafters at Martha Stewart. It’s the perfect Hallowe’en get-up for your resident four-legged trickor-treat enthusiast.


Petal Template or Sunflower Template. Get the templates at

Grosgrain ribbon (or use a cat collar instead of ribbon)

One or two 18-by-18-inch squares wool felt in the colour of your choice

Sewing machine and sewing supplies


Velcro fasteners

THE HOW-TO 1. Cut ribbon to fit loosely around your cat’s neck, with ends overlapping one inch. Forgo this step if you’re using a cat collar instead of ribbon. 2. Print petal template or sunflower template. Trace the shape on the felt and cut out petals. Fold them in half lengthwise and stitch close to the fold, from the flat end to 2/3 of the way up; this will give the petals dimension. Stitch the petals to the ribbon or collar, overlapping them by almost half. Add Velcro fasteners at the ends of the ribbon. (Velcro is unnecessary if using a cat collar.) And voila! an adorable costume befitting the ray of sunshine in your life. Get your craft on. For more cool craft projects like this one, check out

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Make Your Cat a Costume



Ice, Ice Baby

Ice cubes, the low-rent cat plaything found in your freezer Many cats are fascinated by ice cubes and will happily engage themselves with a cube or two, batting them around and licking at them, which is especially wonderful if you have trouble getting your cat to consume enough water. Float a few cubes in your cat’s water dish or fountain for her to play with or go ahead and freeze a whole second dish of water for your cat to investigate and lick at. Or blenderize a handful of ice cubes with a bit of water to make a kitty snow cone! Amp up the fun by pouring a bit of tuna water over the top, or create a delicious “cat food slurry topping” (yum) by mixing your cat’s favourite wet food with a bit of water to create a thin gravy, then drizzle atop the iced treat. You can also take a page from zookeepers, who make frozen treats for the big cats; for your house cat, fill your ice cube tray with water then put a bit of dry food inside each cube compartment before freezing to make a lickable plaything with a treat inside. Melty fun with a reward at the center!

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DE-CAT YOUR HOME Tackle 7 common housekeeping problems with our handy how-to for less time spent cleaning, more time spent cat cuddling! and stash the rest of her toys in a small basket in the closet. Rotate the toys she has out every two weeks to keep them fresh and interesting. You have TONS of toys? Take a selection of gently loved ones and donate them to your local animal shelter. Good karma!

problem #1

once a week. Much easier than cleaning upholstery! If you are combating an existing fur build-up on your upholstery, buy a squeegee with a rubber edge and squeegee your furniture. The fur will literally roll off the material. It even pulls ultra short fur that weaves itself into the fabric.

problem #2

You’re over-run with cat toys, tripping over them en route to the bathroom and almost wiping out on that under-foot catnip ball while serving dinner. Sort through those toys, throwing away all the hopelessly destroyed/completely hideous ones and saving the ones requiring a quick bit of re-stuffing/stitching up. But be realistic here—only save them if you will actually fix them. That done, leave out your cat’s current five favourites in a neat small bin (Ikea to the rescue!)

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problem #3

The hairy couch. Again, prevention. If your cat is allowed on the couch (or not allowed but you don’t seem able to deter her), make life easy on yourself. Procure a nice throw and drape it over the area your cat favours. Then simply toss in the wash

Cat hair in the carpet. If your cat has longer hair, buy a small plastic garden rake and quickly rake your carpet before vacuuming. A quick raking will get up the bulk of the hair, making vacuuming faster and prolonging the life of your vacuum by reducing the amount

GO! If you are combating an existing fur build-up on your upholstery, buy a squeegee. of long fur wrapping around the roller bar and causing belt breakage. If you’re in possession of a Dyson vacuum cleaner (a girl can dream!), consider getting the Dyson Mini Turbine Head attachment ($80), designed specifically to remove pet hair. It rolls the dirt and hair into balls for easy removal—more amazing than it sounds when you see it in action. It attaches to all upright and canister Dyson vacuums except the DC24 and cordless models. Or, let Roomba do the vacuuming for you. For a cool $329 (or $699, if you choose the top of the line model), this little robotic vacuum will make the rounds for you, navigating the house via its internal sensors and software. Never vacuuming again for a mere $329? Sounds like a steal to us. It’s a brave new world.

problem #4

Cats on the countertops This is not only a hygiene issue but a safety issue as kitchen counters are home to dangerous appliances, hot cooking surfaces, and sharp knives. You must lay down the law here to save your curious cat from harming herself. As always, consistent behaviour reinforcement is your best instructive tool. Any time your cat jumps up, you must immediately tell her

to get down in a calm, assertive voice, and then physically remove her from the counter. Soon your voice command will be enough to stop her from jumping up, and even the most stubborn cat will learn that she is cattus non grata on the counters. (Do make sure your cat gets plenty of attention when she is not up on the counters. And don’t leave food on the counter! Providing alternate perching spots can help too.)

problem #5

Stains and smells. Go CSI on your carpets. Eliminate old accidents—purchase an ultraviolet light, also known as a black light (available at Walmart for just under $20, as well as at most hardware stores). Turn your regular lights off, and shine the black light over your carpeted areas. Stains will quite literally jump out at you (yikes). Mark the spots in need of cleaning by placing a shoe or other object on top or demarcating with a piece of string, so you can locate the spots once you turn the lights back on. Treat with the eco- and pet-friendly stain remover of your choice—we the like nontoxic, biodegradable, and cruelty-free No Mo “O” instant stain and odour remover (, which is especially great for tackling “accidents”—and reclaim the floor as a non-scary place to practice yoga.

Your 20 Minute Game Plan If you have 5 minutes.

Light a scented candle—we dig the lovely, cat-odourhiding scents of Baxter and Bailey soy candles—and pick up any cat toys scattered about. Oh, and dim the lights.

If you have 10 minutes.

Also lint-roller the couch and wash out your cat’s food and water dishes.

If you have 20 minutes.

Give the cat beds a quick shake off out of doors and sprinkle the carpets with baking soda before quickly running the vacuum over them. Hardwood floors? Speed sweep and spot clean using a non-toxic, eco-friendly formula especially for hardwood floors. Formulations like Bona hardwood floor cleaner ($8, are pet-safe and won’t dull your floor.

For all non-carpeted surfaces, Little Germs Organics ( are effective, 100 percent organic, naturally antiseptic and antibacterial deodorizing cleansers that are safe to use around pets and children. Natural essential oils like lavender, mint, and grapefruit mean they smell great, too.


Shredded Furniture problem #6

Time to get DIY on this problem. If it’s an upholstered couch that’s been subjected to your cat’s claws, re-upholstering might be the only way to save it. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable and stylish ways to recover a damaged piece of furniture (check out designsponge. com for some examples and how-to). If your couch is leather and the scratches are a lighter shade than the surrounding leather, use a leather re-colouring balm to quickly and effectively disguise the scratch marks. If it’s the wooden legs or a doorframe that’s suffered your cat’s attentions, use a walnut—the nut meat not the shell—to make minor scratches dissapear (seriously, it really works) or a wood-stain pen to colour them in. If you’re your cat has really had a go at it, though, sanding and re-staining is the way to go. After you’ve repaired the damage, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. You can try detering your cat by putting double-sided packing tape or Sticky Paws ( on the area that your cat is focused on, or simple roll with it and add 3M’s Petcare Scratch Protection Film so when your cat does attack that same spot, she won’t do any damage. Next, it’s time to teach that cat about scratching only appropriate things. Place a sisal scratching post right near the problem area, and reinforce good behaviour with lots of verbal praise and petting; there are now lots of cool-looking scratching posts out there—check out page 36 for some nifty examples you won’t mind having in your living room.

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Keep your cat from tracking litter on to the floor by investing in a litter box that traps litter.

Dirty floors

problem #7

It’s all about prevention and maintenance. Keep your cat from tracking litter on to the floor by investing in a litter box that helps limit tracking, such as the Modkat top entry litter box or the Booda Clean Step Litter Box. An anti-tracking mat placed at the entry to any box will also help reduce the spread of litter (try the Scoopfree Anti-tracking Carpet). The other important part of limiting the mess caused by cats is a consistent cleaning effort. Buy a small brush and dustpan and keep it next to the litter area. Each time you empty the box, do a quick sweep to keep things neat and tidy. These small and consistent efforts will keep your space clean and your cat happy! n

e c n a D

Lesson #392 Learned from Your Cat

Like No One’s Watching #keepcalmanddancelikenooneswatching

Tango Disco


Break Dance


What lessons have you learned from your cat? Share with us on Twitter (@moderncatmag) or Facebook (


art attack

by Rose Frosek

Jenny Belin Brooklyn-based artist Jenny Belin on her lifelong love affair with her inspiration and subject matter—cats. Though Brooklyn-based artist Jenny Belin has been painting portraits of cats and dogs professionally for 15 years, her love affair with her chosen subject matter goes back way further—like all the way back. Growing up in a cat-centric family in sunny California, her muse was Shu-shu, a “big, orange fluff-ball with tiger stripes and tiny freckles on his pink nose,” as Belin describes him. She drew pictures of him “all the time,” and still has a Crayola sketch she drew when she was just five years old. Belin’s first big artistic influence was her mother, Daisy, who painted cats on Belin’s roller skates and kindergarten lunch box. With this free-spirited upbringing, it’s perhaps no surprise her grownup inspirations are iconoclast Yoko Ono and fellow cat loving kindred spirits Karl Lagerfeld

and Grace Coddington. In fact, Belin is behind a Facebook page devoted to Lagerfeld’s spoiled kitty, Choupette. [Check it out at] With Belin, it’s not all whimsy, however. Her artistic education was traditional; she studied painting at Skidmore College and undertook right of passage pilgrimages to artist-meccas Paris and New York City before delving into professional portraiture and finding her niche with animals. Why pet portraits? Belin is “enchanted by the personalities” of her feline and canine subjects. Before she starts a canvas, she does several preliminary drawings, from quick sketches to the more involved, a process that helps her form an emotional attachment to the pet she’s painting and capture both the pet’s likeness and unique character.

Belin’s first big artistic influence was her mother, Daisy, who painted cats on Belin’s roller skates and kindergarten lunch box.

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Q: What inspires you? A: “Vintage clothing shops and flea markets, Louise Brooks, Japanese tea, my boyfriend’s record collection, 1960s French cinema, ornate Mexican churches, Italian Renaissance paintings, the New York Times, the Museum of Modern Art, classic Hollywood divas, graffiti in downtown New York… and my seven-year-old tortoiseshell cat, Edye, who loves to sit and watch me paint—she even has her own studio chair.”

Life experience has taught Belin to “keep drawing and to keep looking for new inspiration.” If she’s wondering if she’s got it quite right, she can always turn to her muse for approval, her own resident feline inspiration, Edye, Belin’s seven-year-old tortoiseshell cat that loves to sit with her while she’s painting. With her multitude of inspirations and unique style, we thought we’d let Belin describe her work herself. Her summary? “Rich in colour, expressive in personality, stylish, chic, and fun.” Sounds right-on to us. n Commissions start at $600,


Above: From Grumpy Cat © 2013, Chronicle Books; Above Right: From The Big New Yorker Book of Cats © 2013, Random House

Connie’s Book Club Curl up with a good cat and a good book


8 Titles to Pick Up Now The Big New Yorker Book of Cats Foreword by Anthony Lane This irresistible anthology of articles, poems, essays, fiction, cartoons, and covers pulled from the New Yorker is a veritable treasure trove for cat lovers. Just dive right in; with stories from the likes of John Updike, Maeve Brennan, Roald Dalhl, and Haruki Murakami interwoven with hilariously wry cartoons, one can’t help but be enthralled. A must-have.

Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book—Disgruntled Tips and Activities Designed to Put a Frown on Your Face Curmudgeonly cat turned internet meme gets book deal in time for the holidays Grumpy Cat fans rejoice! The internet-dominating frowny-faced feline that zinged her way through Twitter and Facebook now finally has a book out celebrating her eternal grumpiness. Likely to Grumpy Cat’s great displeasure, this collection of unsmiling photos matched with deadpan one-liners and quips is this year’s go-to gift pick for fans of the scowling internet sensation and/or silliness in general.

Lost Cat: a True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology By Caroline Paul This charming, funny narrative recounts the efforts to recover a lost cat—as well as the jealousy-sparked lengths (miniature cameras! pet detectives!) gone to in order to figure out just where he’d been upon his glossy and well fed return. Accompanying ink-and-wash drawings by Wendy MacNaughton delight.


The Double Wedding Ring By Clare O’Donohue

From The Big New Yorker Book of Cats © 2013, Random House

A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets By James Bowen When James Bowen, living hand to mouth on the streets of London, encountered an injured ginger street cat, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. Living in a shelter, there was no way James was in need of a pet, but an unshakable bond was formed nonetheless, one that slowly healed each other’s troubled past. This poignant, uplifting story is a bestseller for good reason; their transformative relationship has touched readers around the world.

Homer’s Odyssey By Gwen Cooper The last thing author Gwen Cooper thought she needed was another cat. Homer, a three-week-old abandoned eyeless kitten, thought differently. As it turns out (and as is so often the case), they needed each other equally; Homer ends up transforming Gwen’s life with his love, boundless enthusiasm, and loyalty, teaching the heartbroken Gwen the lessons necessary to open her heart to love and the man she would marry, a transformation recounted with joy in this moving book. Prepare to have your heart stolen by this extraordinary, spirited little cat who hasn’t let his disability slow him down for one second.

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The latest in the Someday Quilts Mystery series is sure to please ailurophile mystery lovers. In the fifth installment, Nell Fitzgerald’s future seems to be coming together like a perfectly made quilt—her relationship is heating up, she has her Grandmother’s wedding to plan, she’s thinking of starting her own business, and a stray kitten has wandered into her life—but just as quickly a pall is cast by a murder that has Nell scrambling to keep everything together— and to keep herself safe. Just the book to curl up with on a blustery afternoon.

Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet By John Bradshaw In his latest offering, renowned anthrozoologist John Bradshaw, the New York Times bestselling author of Dog Sense, has taken on cats, an insightful effort that will doubtless also top the charts. Using cutting-edge research, Bradshaw takes us into the mysterious mind of the domestic cat, explaining the cat’s nature and needs, and, in doing, so deepens our understanding of our wild housemates and improves our relationships with them.

Cats and Daughters: They Don’t Always Come When Called By Helen Brown Cats and Daughters is New York Times bestselling author Helen Brown’s heartwarming account of meeting the universal challenges we face in getting older and (sometimes) growing wiser. Just as Brown’s settled into a new home, the relished quiet of her life is interrupted by the arrival of Jonah, a troublemaking young cat who quickly causes the house to descend into chaos. Add to this her daughter Lydia’s announced desire to move to Sri Lanka and become a Buddhist nun, the upcoming marriage of her son, and a brush with her own mortality, and it’s a whirlwind of events and upset. Brown’s story of how she learns to let go and embrace change is both inspiring and moving. n

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Last Lick

What Goes Around Comes Around By Suzanne Beecher


f I wake up before my husband in the morning, I roll over, close my eyes, pretend I’m still sleeping, and wait. I’m waiting for my husband to get out of bed first. And if I have to wait too long, I accidentally shove something unbreakable off the nightstand. Once, twice, (he’s a deep sleeper) third time’s a charm; it never fails: my husband gets up to investigate the noise, and tag—you’re it! Our unwritten rule: if you’re the first person out of bed in the morning, you have to feed the cats. Which wouldn’t be too bad, except our cats have an unwritten rule of their own: no coffee, no getting the paper, not even a minute to splash water on your face—nope, just “Feed us, and feed us now!” When we only had two cats I could multitask; scooping ground coffee into the coffee maker and scooping cat food into two dishes at the same time, it wasn’t a problem. But now there are five hungry mouths to feed—Barry, Abby, Cooper, Mama, and Papa—or six if you count Newton, the neighbour’s cat. Newton’s well fed and cared for at his own home, but nevertheless, at 6:30 every morning, tap, tap, tap, with alarm clock accuracy, Newton’s sitting on our side porch tapping on the window pane at the bottom of the door with his loud, manicured toenail. “Hey, is anybody up in there yet? I’m hungry. Where is everybody? Come on you guys, get out of bed!” Newton’s tapping rings the breakfast bell—“Come and get it”—and wakes up everybody, except my husband. (I really need to teach Newton how to pound harder on that door.) Cats always want what somebody else has, so, as in every family, there’s sibling rivalry—actually howling squabbles, to be more precise. Fill six dishes with the exact same brand of cat food and the pushing and shoving begins. “I want that dish, it has more in it. My dish is purple, yours is orange. I want the dish with the little fishes on it. You’re crowding me, don’t touch me—Mom, he’s touching me!” Obviously, I’ve replaced my four grown children

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with cats who will never out grow the terrible twos. Just like when my kids were young, everyone claims their favourite seat at the table, too. Barry and Abby dine in the bathroom, while Cooper and Papa pull up a chair in the kitchen (but Papa’s bowl must be slightly off to the right side of Cooper’s dish)—“No touching me, don’t crowd me!” Newton is a mother’s delight. He will eat anything, anywhere, and he loves leftovers. Moving from dish to dish, Newton politely inquires, “Are you finished yet, may I take your plate?” then sits down to everyone’s tasty leftovers. And finally there’s Mama cat, who, having raised her own brood, is exhausted by the childish drama. She’s wise enough to avoid the mealtime mayhem, which you’d think I’d be grateful for, but I’m not. Because instead of dining with the other cats inside, Mama sits on top of the fence in the backyard. The first day Mama was missing from the breakfast table and wouldn’t come in when I called, I assumed she was afraid of something nearby. Maybe a snake or a big dog? So I quickly came to her rescue. In my pajamas and bare feet, I trudged across the dewy, wet grass, lifted Mama off the fence, and carried her safely into the house. Then I set out two dishes for the poor frightened girl, one filled with dry food, the other with her favourite canned turkey and gravy—“There, there, Mama, everything will be alright.” After a big breakfast and some one-on-one time—playing with the squeaky mouse, snuggling together, and brushing her coat—Mama was all calmed down and went outside to snooze in the sun. Five mornings later, as I was trudging across the wet, dewy yard to rescue Mama yet again, suddenly, I realized she’d been playing me real good. But I couldn’t be too upset, because her behaviour simply confirmed the old adage, what goes around comes around. I pretend to be sleeping, Mama pretends to be afraid. What goes around comes around, indeed. n

Modern Cat Fall/Winter 2013 - USA  

The Fall/Winter 2013 Issue of Modern Cat Magazine features exclusive interviews with the Cat Whisperer (Mieshelle Nagelschneider), and our c...

Modern Cat Fall/Winter 2013 - USA  

The Fall/Winter 2013 Issue of Modern Cat Magazine features exclusive interviews with the Cat Whisperer (Mieshelle Nagelschneider), and our c...