Welcome to Cat Questions and Answers

This is where your cat questions go when you send them to me. I didn't call this a Frequently Asked Questions page, because some of your questions are unusual and not asked nearly enough! So below, I've put some of your questions and my responses to them.

I have only put a small sampling of the questions below, and will rotate it occasionally to provide more information, so if you don’t see your question now, you may well see it here in the future!

Thanks to all the wonderful and caring cat lovers who sent me these great cat questions. I hope you will find this helpful and as always, if you have a question and don't see the answer here, please send me Meow Mail and I will try to answer it!

Q - What exactly is a "Tom" cat?
A - A male cat which has not been neutered is called a "Tom". A female cat which is not spayed is called a "Queen".

Q - What is a Feral cat and how does that compare to "stray" cats?
A - That is a very good cat question. "Feral" is a word used for both plants and animals that have reverted partially or completely to the natural wild state. While some strays may indeed be feral, some are simply pets that have somehow gotten lost or abandoned. Sadly, cats whose humans allow them to roam outdoors are frequently mistaken for stray or feral cats and may end up in shelters or worse. While all ferals are strays, not all strays are not feral

Q - You call yourself "The Cat Lady". Isn't that a kind of shorthand for "crazy woman"?
A - Great Question! I have to laugh because even for me, "The Cat Lady" conjures images of that character on The Simpsons. No, I'm not The Crazy Cat Lady. I am simply, The Cat Lady and I proudly wear that title, because of my great fondness for all things feline. A more accurate title for me would be "Felinophile", (a person who loves cats with a greater passion than most) but it's not nearly as catchy as The Cat Lady! Thanks for asking!!

Q - I have a cat question for you! I have such a hard time bathing my cat. Why do cats hate water so much and do any really like it?
A - Most cats hate water because swimming is not instinctive for them. Also, most feline coats lack water resistance. So when these cats must be in water, they react with fear and panic because they feel extremely vulnerable. Some cats do like the water though. Consider, for instance, the Turkish Van cat. This breed originated from the area around Lake Van, and is equipped with a dense coat of fine fur that makes them naturally water resistant. This cat really loves water and will happily plunge right into the pool with it's humans!

Q - How long do cats live?
A - It would be impossible to give one answer for all cats. Generally speaking, an indoor-only domestic cat can live anywhere from 12 to 20 years. Different breeds have varying degrees of hardiness, and much depends of the quality of care the cat receives. If the owner of a cat questions the wisdom of having their cat be an indoor-only feline, consider that outdoor cats have less than half the life expectancy of their indoor relatives. Not much more data than that is available of course, because it's next to impossible to monitor outdoor cats.

Q - Does my cat need milk?
A - No. While a kitten may need her mother's milk at first, a mother cat's milk is far different from any other animal's milk. If you have a kitten that has not been weaned who needs a baby formula, there are several specialized products on the market to replace the mother cat's milk. Consulting your vet should be the first step in this case. Adult cats do not need any sort of milk, and in fact, most cats are, at least to some degree, lactose intolerant and should not receive whole milk even as a treat. If you want to pamper your kitty with a creamy sip or two, buy either lactose free "Cat Milk" from the pet store or lactose free milk for humans at the grocer. Either is fine as an occasional treat.

Q - My sister heats up her cat's food before serving it. Is she crazy?
A - While I can make no guarantees with regard to your sister's state of mental health, I can verify that warmed food is much more appealing to a cat than cold from the fridge food. Cats are hunters and to them, cold food represents old food that only a desperate hunter would resort to eating. Warm food, on the other hand, better simulates a fresh kill and is infinitely more appetizing to kitty. Your sister is right this time.

Q - Is a scratching post really a necessity?
A - YES. Your cat has a natural instinct to not only scratch, but also to mark his territory using scent glands in his paws, as well as his face and other areas. If your cat doesn’t have access to a scratching post where he can stretch and scratch, mark and play, something in your home will inevitably take its place.

QWhy does my cat wake me up at night to play?
A – Because he can. OK, sorry, just kidding. Actually your cat is probably just lonesome, and wants his human to play for a bit. Unless you are ok with this, it is a good idea to try and schedule playtime just before you go to bed. If Kitty is all tired from playing in the evenings, chances are much better that he will leave you alone at night.

QMy cats always get up onto counters and shelves where I don’t want them to. What is the best way to stop this?
A – There are almost as many opinions and products for this as there are cats guilty of doing it. In my experience, there are two ways that are most often successful. The first is easy and inexpensive.

Put aluminum foil on the places you want to be cat-free. Flat or crinkled, it doesn’t matter. Use tape to keep it in place if necessary. This works because cats (most of them anyway) hate the feel of foil under their feet. If you do this consistently, the offending feline will begin to naturally avoid the foiled areas and you can remove the foil.

Second and a bit more expensive is something called a sensor spray. Basically it is a motion detector attached to an air can. You place the device on your counter or shelf (Also useful for near the door, too!) and when your cat hops up and gets on the forbidden area, the motion sensor activates the can and it shoots a harmless but rather startling burst of air, effectively spooking kitty into leaving the area alone.

Well that's it for now. I will add more cat questions like my Cat Questions II, The Sequel Page from time to time, and will try to keep up to date on latest news for you too. You can visit my cat information page to see more specifics about cats. Send your cat questions in to me via Meow Mail and suggestions too! I love hearing from other cat fanatics, and look forward to reading your best, most baffling cat questions.

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