Tri­cia Helfer Knows Cats—and She Wants To Help You Un­der­stand Them Too

(and she wants to help you un­der­stand them too!)

Modern Cat - - Contents - Tri­cia Helfer—ac­tress, su­per­model, and se­ri­ous cat per­son—an­swers your most press­ing cat ques­tions

Tri­cia Helfer—ac­tress, su­per­model, and se­ri­ous cat per­son—an­swers your most press­ing cat ques­tions.

Q

I have a six-month-old male kitty that loves to cud­dle be­fore bed. How­ever, he gets as close to my face as pos­si­ble while we’re doz­ing off and in­sists on putting his paws on my face! He’s not be­ing mean and scratch­ing, but he in­sists on keep­ing his paw there no mat­ter how many times I push it away. I love to cud­dle with my Jinxy boy, but I have wo­ken up with slight scratches on my face.

A:

Ah yes, the face cud­dlers! This is ac­tu­ally quite com­mon and, I think, a sign of love. He wants to be as near to you as he can get. If you look on my In­sta­gram (@of­fi­cial­tri­ci­a­helfer), you'll see I have a face cud­dler, Rigby, who likes to plop his 18-pound body on my face and use it as a pil­low. An­other of my cats, Fiona, likes to be on my chest with her nose up against my chin. My Prissie has a habit of bit­ing my nose if she thinks I'm not get­ting up early enough. It's these lit­tle quirks that make our cats in­di­vid­ual and funny. There's not much you can do be­sides not al­low­ing your cat in the bed­room with you when you sleep. If you don’t want to do that, def­i­nitely keep his nails trimmed—prob­a­bly once ev­ery two weeks. He may grow out of this habit as he gets older, but that's not guar­an­teed.

Q

My one-and-a-half year-old kit­ten Hades is al­ways bring­ing me his toys and has to sleep with no less than four toys. I know cats will of­ten bring their hu­mans their “kills.” Both my boys are in­door cats as we live in an apart­ment. My ques­tion is: Is this my cat’s way of pro­vid­ing for me? He does that funny meow to get my at­ten­tion and won't leave un­til I ac­knowl­edge the toy or present.

A:

This is ab­so­lutely him play­ing and bring­ing you his prize. I have a boy, Rigby, that deems it his mis­sion in life to bring me my pi­lates re­former foot straps. He thinks they should be by me all the time; no mat­ter how many times I take them back down­stairs to my gym, he goes and gets them for me and brings them to me and drops them at my feet, all the while loudly let­ting me know he's do­ing it. I give him a “good boy” and some pet­ting, and he shines with pride.

Q

I have a 14-year-old fe­male cat that has started cat­er­waul­ing. She has never done it be­fore and it is very loud. Pos­si­ble cause and how to stop it? She is not sick, eats and drinks, and uses the lit­ter box as usual. Plays like a kit­ten!

A:

If she’s never done it be­fore then it could be a sign of ill­ness. You say she's not ill, but she may just not seem it yet! If you haven't had her checked out by a vet and given a phys­i­cal, I would do that—it could be a sign of thy­roid or kid­ney disease de­vel­op­ing. Or, it could just be age; have your vet also check your cat’s hear­ing and vi­sion. Of­ten­times as cats get older they start to yowl, es­pe­cially at night. She could be start­ing to have some sen­sory (sight, hear­ing) de­cline and is a lit­tle dis­ori­ented and con­fused, which causes cats to vo­cal­ize more. Older cats can also start to have some de­men­tia, called cog­ni­tive dys­func­tion syn­drome, which is an­other cause of loud yowl­ing. If it turns out to be some­thing phys­i­cal, like hy­per­thy­roidism then medicine can help.

Q

My boyfriend and I adopted our four-and-a-half-year-old fe­male cat when she was six months old. She started out shy but warmed up to him be­fore me. Then, some­time around her turn­ing one, she didn't want any­thing to do with him and still avoids him when she can. She is def­i­nitely a mama's girl, but my boyfriend is so sad she doesn't want to be around him any­more. We tried hav­ing him take over feed­ing, play­ing, and treat giv­ing, but once she gets what she wants she goes back to avoid­ing him. Any idea on how or why she acts this way even though she's been raised by us both?

A:

An­i­mals, just like hu­mans, have their own quirks and strong per­son­al­i­ties. Your boyfriend hasn't pur­posely harmed her, but maybe there was an ac­ci­den­tal tail step­ping or some­thing that has trig­gered an "I'm stay­ing away from you" feel­ing for her. Likely though, she's just ma­tured into a cat that is drawn to you more. I have one, Max, that would have noth­ing to do with my hus­band for the first four months after we adopted him, and then, from one day to the next, sud­denly wouldn't leave him alone; it was al­most like I didn't ex­ist and Max wanted to spend all his time with Jonathan. So it could just be phases of her life and what she's feel­ing at this time. You both should con­tinue to take care of her and def­i­nitely he should con­tinue to play with her. She'll know you both love her. Maybe you should adopt an­other cat that might be drawn more to your boyfriend!

Q

Vince (two-year-old neutered male) is very, VERY af­fec­tion­ate and will push his way into my hand for strokes. He purrs and drib­bles while I stroke his head and then, out of nowhere, he at­tacks me. Not all the time but more times than I’d like and he’s drawn blood from my face sev­eral times. It’s as though he sud­denly gets mad be­cause he hisses when I put him down af­ter­wards. I sus­pect he gets overex­cited and lashes out. I don’t love him any less but he’s a big 13-pound mus­cle-y cat, and he’s got a hell of a whack on him. He at­tacked the vet in the same way even though the vet was warned but stroked him ea­gerly and got a face full of claws after a minute or so. How can he be so happy one minute then at­tack the next? We aren’t touch­ing his tummy or any­thing, just his head, and he’s not hurt, just a lit­tle highly strung! Any­thing we can do?

A:

It sounds like Vince is the type of cat that gets over stim­u­lated. He loves the at­ten­tion but then snaps, or lashes out as you say, and at­tacks. If the vet says there's noth­ing phys­i­cally wrong, then it's be­havioural or emo­tional. I had a friend with a cat like that and it was jar­ring, but ul­ti­mately it was the per­son that just had to be aware and not let their face get too close. Try to not over-ac­tively pet him. If it's over­stim­u­la­tion, softer pet­ting for a much shorter pe­riod of time should help. Def­i­nitely avoid vig­or­ous or lengthy pet­ting, even if it’s just to the head. Try that and see if it makes a dif­fer­ence. Oth­er­wise, that's just him and you'll have to learn to con­tinue to love on him, but be aware so you don't get hurt. Whacks to the face are never fun. (And keep his nails trimmed!)

Tri­cia and two of her cats. I have so much to say!

I'm at my cud­dle limit!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.