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Now reading . . .

by Karin Muller

"The Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb

"High Fidelity"
by Nick Hornby

"In the Garden of the North American Martyrs"
by Tobias Wolff

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Here, Kitty, Kitty

Yesterday was National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, according to our local paper. It goes on to say, “Why?” and then answers the question. Because curiosity killed the cat and now we need a day to save uneducated kitties. It is also a good way for veterinarians to talk about the health of more than 81 million cats in America, one of whom lives in our house. Here are some Cat Facts:

Life Span – Average indoor cat 15 years. A cat’s first year is equivalent to 15 human years. It’s second year = 9 human years and count four human years for each year thereafter. Our cat is about 48.
Matter of the Heart- A cat’s heart beats twice as fast as a human’s, about 110-140 beats a minute.
Kitten Machine- A cat will typically have one to eight kittens in a litter. One cat can have more than 100 kittens in its lifetime. No thank you. Our Ms. Callie has been surgically altered to prevent that sort of thing.
Paw Preference- Cats can be either right or left pawed.
Average Cat Weight- In the United states it is 12 pounds. Ms. Callie weighs about 11 pounds.
Sleeping Patterns- Cats sleep about 16 hours a day – on the couch in the study or in my chair.
Grooming Habits- Cats spend about 30% of their waking hours grooming, much like most teenage girls.
Catnip- It is a member of the mint family. Some cats are stimulated by the smell of the oil. Ms Callie is interested for about 3 minutes and then it is on to more interesting things like sleeping, grooming and eating.
Telling Tails- When a cat’s tail is straight up, the cat is happy. A twitching tail is a danger sign. Ms. Callie is a tortoise shell – she rarely happy and even more rarely friendly, except to those in her inner circle (Mmmm and me).
Cats Can’t Talk- But they do have 100 different vocalizations sounds, while dogs have about 10.
The Eyes Have It- At birth all cats have blue eyes. And in relation to body size, cats have the largest eyes of any mammal.
Ailurophobia- It is the fear of cats and Julius Caesar and Napoleon suffered from it.

We have had many cats over the years as well as an assortment of other pets. There was Bandit, Kim, Kirsa, Magic and now Ms. Callie. And these are just the ones we kept. We have given away lots of cats. They seem to know that there is a soft hearted animal lover in this house. Our present cat, Ms. Callie, along with her three siblings, was literally deposited on our doorstep by her starving mother. I was determined not to have another cat so I didn’t socialize them as much as I should have but when the mother was killed by a dog, what can you do? So Ms Callie, Tiger, Boots and Peaches became house cats and we kept this one.

It is lovely to have something living in the house when you come in, something that cares that you are there and will curl up beside you and occasionally give you a purr. Even in spite of the heartache when you lose them, they are worth it.

But this is our last cat. . . no, really.

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