BOOKS: For Love of Cats

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  March 2013:

For Love of Cats
by Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Inc. Landauer Publishing Co. (3100 NW 101st St., Suite A,  Urbandale, Iowa 50322,  2012.  160 pages,   paperback.  $21.95.


For Love of Cats,  presented by the Animal Rescue League of Iowa,  draws upon years of shelter experience with cats and making successful adoptions of cats,  beginning with what to consider when choosing a cat.  Factors include age,  gender,  and whether the cat is a purebred or a rescued stray. Discussion of cat behavior includes what to expect from a shy cat and how to cope with fearful cats.  Cats rarely act out of anger,  and the book offers hints on positive reinforcement if a cat misbehaves.  Moving an indoor cat with a litter box issue out to live in the yard is not a viable solution.  There could be multiple causes for the problem. Among the most common is that the cat may have a urinary tract infection. A section on de-clawing explains that what this actually means is the amputation of part of the cat’s toes.  De-clawed cats often develop behavior problems,  for example balking at using litter boxes because the litter hurts their paws,  and declawed cats cannot be allowed outside safely,  since without front claws they can neither effectively defend themselves nor rapidly climb a tree to escape a threat.  Alternatives to de-clawing are offered. For Love of Cats includes dozens of adorable photos of shelter cats.  I particularly enjoyed seeing a cat who was mesmerized by a computer screen showing fish.  Other photos are accompanied by stories with happy endings.  Ziggy and Carmella,  for instance,  were surrendered when their people moved out of state.  “They are great cats,” says their new person. “I can’t fathom why their previous parents would move out of state and not take them.” Cat overpopulation is adequately addressed through a discussion of spay/neuter.  Most shelters are overloaded with cats and the Animal Rescue League of Iowa is no different. The rest of For Love of Cats describes how to introduce the family dog to a new cat,  why cats need scratching posts,  how to choose a veterinarian,  how to play with cats,  how to give pills to a cat (gingerly!) and much,  much more.  The section called “Myths about cats” is a must read for new cat-keepers.  Myth number one:  cats may like the taste of cow’s milk,  but they do not need it,  and if a cat did not grow up in a dairy barn drinking cow’s milk,  milk might make the cat ill. ––Debra J. White

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