The most essential information for both potential cat owners and feline fanatics. Find out how to choose, housebreak, groom, and even travel with your feline friend.
Gina Spadafori, Universal Press Syndicate pet care columnist and host of AOL’s “Gina Spadafori’s Pet Connection,” follows her educational and entertaining book Dogs for Dummies with Cats for Dummies, which she co-authors with Paul Pion, D.V.M., D.A.C.V.I.M., president of the Veterinary Information Network.
If you own a cat or are considering cat ownership, Cats for Dummies is the one book you really must have. This educational, comprehensive, and entertaining book is probably the closest you’ll get to a cat “owners’ manual.”
Beginning with a foreword by Lilian Jackson Braun, the cat-owned author of The Cat Who… mystery novels, the book quickly moves into a brief history of cats, cat psychology, and their recent amazing growth in popularity.
Spadafori and Pion spend a considerable amount of time on the selection of a cat breed. While size and in-bred behaviors don’t vary in cats as much as they do in dogs, different breeds of cats do have distinctive traits and temperaments that should be considered when deciding on a purebred animal. Physical characteristics, such as coat type, should also be considered. Some cats require a great deal more grooming than others do. The authors are frank in their discussion of the fate of poorly chosen cats who wind up in shelters because they were too much work and not right for the person who had selected them.
For readers considering a purebred cat, Spadafori and Pion provide tips and resources, including magazines, Web sites and Cat Fanciers Association breed clubs. They also give information on screening breeders to weed out the “truly evil” and the simply ignorant. They strongly encourage adoption of shelter cats, though, pointing out that many of these animals are young, healthy, and affectionate and may have been given up through no fault of their own. Adult shelter cats, Spadafori says, can be a particularly good choice, especially for an older person, since they are past their kitten craziness. Because the adoption rates for adult cats are lower than for kittens, thousands of wonderful animals who would make great pets are euthanized each year.
Spadafori recommends proceeding with caution when shopping pet stores for kittens due to the high percentage of pet store kittens that come from kitten mills where animals are bred indiscriminately and often kept in horrifying conditions. And while some pet stores offer space to sell “oops” litters, she believes the practice, while well-intentioned, sends the message that kittens are easy to place and encourages cat owners to continue allowing their pets to breed.
Once the breed or type of cat has been selected, Cat for Dummies moves on to cover aspects of cat ownership, including kitten-proofing your house, bringing home a new cat or kitten, care, feeding and grooming, and veterinary care. The chapter on medical care and common illnesses is particularly strong, spending much more time on the subject than in Dogs for Dummies, due, most likely, to the fact that the co-author is a veterinarian. This section provides important information without excruciating clinical detail that might lose the reader and is a great addition to the book.
As in Dogs for Dummies, Spadafori includes the entertaining “Part of Tens” section in which she debunks 10 common cat myths, offers 10 things the cat owner needs to do to be prepared for a disaster, suggests 10 sets of questions to ask when choosing a kitten, lists 10 household dangers to cats, and provides 10 cat-related sites on the World Wide Web. Also included is “Ten of the best things ever said about cats.” This book is highly recommended for anyone who is owned by a cat or aspires to be.