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Sun, Jan. 19

All About Pets: Cats can provide comfort, too

Consuelo, a wonderfully furry kitty, loves to cuddle and provides great comfort to Pearl, whether she needs it or not! (Robert Edwards/Courtesy)

Consuelo, a wonderfully furry kitty, loves to cuddle and provides great comfort to Pearl, whether she needs it or not! (Robert Edwards/Courtesy)

As was mentioned in last week’s column, several readers have reminded me that cats are very capable of providing comfort. I have also been reminded that I have not written very much about cats in these pet columns.

Naturally, I am more familiar with dogs and their wants, desires and demands! However, I have had many cats throughout the years. My problem with them is — they do not want to stay in the house. But if you let them out, they will kill birds. They also kill mice, rats and other such creatures, and I do not have such a problem with that so long as I do not have to witness any part of it.

My neighbor has a cat that takes walks with her. The cat is amazingly well- trained to stay by her side, which is actually rather incredible and also, I know that this cat provides great comfort to her owner.

I have traveled a fair amount with cats, and quickly learned that they would rather be free than secured with a collar and leash. They will do everything possible to free themselves from any restraint. Also, I learned that on a long car trip, you need to have a litter box, but do hope that the one who is driving does not step on the brakes real fast. I had that happen and that car had litter hiding everywhere - and I am sure, even though I no longer own that car, that the litter is still hiding in the corners. I needed to give a pill to my cat at one point. I must say, I would much rather give a pill to a dog!!!

I certainly do agree that cats are fuzzy, warm and cuddly, and can be very comforting. They certainly do fit into a tired, distressed lap more easily than a wiggly puppy. And they love snuggling up into your pillow. I have dearly loved many cats over the years.

Whether you are in need of a genuine comfort animal or just want a cuddly friend, most cats would absolutely love to fill that need.

Moving on, pet food is one of my big subjects of interest. Recently I asked a friend, who has a little dog with some health issues, what she was feeding. She said she did not know the brand name but would take a photo and send it to me. Not meaning to be critical, that is a sign that a person, and I think, maybe quite a few pet owners, do not pay very close attention to the food they are trusting to keep their pets healthy and happy.

There are way too many pet foods on the market today. Many pet foods are sold at the grocery store, and because they continue to sell, the store continues to stock them. You certainly will not get any direct nutritional knowledge about the various pet foods from grocery store employees.

It is difficult to get knowledgable information about pet foods even in a pet store where they sell so many brands. What makes one brand different from another? What makes one better for your particular dog or cat than the others lining the isle?

It is very hard to find a source with educated information about pet foods. Unfortunately, there is very little time devoted to pet nutrition and proper foods in vet schools. There are websites that divide the good from the bad and the ugly. Pet Food Advisor and Dogs Naturally are good starting points.

The primary tool we have available is to read the label and understand what we are reading. First, we must start with a reputable brand.

Christy Powers is a freelance writer whose passion is studying and writing about pet health, nutrition and training. She can be reached at cpowerspak@gmail.com.

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