BREAKING DOWN THE MYTHS Dr. Becker says if you’ve never had a cat, you may have some misconceptions about the feline species. Here are eight myths you may have heard about cats, along with the real scoop on what they’re like.
1. Cats Are Standoffish: Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s true that cats in general are less “needy” than dogs, but most cats love spending time with their people, whether they’re playing with toys or just sitting in a lap motor-purring. Know that being a lap cat is genetically influenced. Feline behaviorists used to think you could turn any cat into a lap cat, but it’s not so. When cat lovers understand that sitting within eighteen inches is being friendly enough for some cats, they’ll feel better about not having a full‑on lap cat and accept their pets as they are.
2. Cats Are Not Affectionate and Don’t Need Attention: Cats are great companions for people who are away from home during the day, but on the whole, they like it better when you’re around. It’s not unusual for cats to follow their people around like little shadows and to hop into a lap just as soon as one is available. Cats can even develop separation anxiety if they are left alone too frequently or for long periods. But don’t expect all cats to enjoy prolonged stroking and petting—sometimes it overstimulates them. Massaging often works better than endlessly stroking the fur.
This Wall Street Journal article on day care for dogs also notes that "Americans will spend an estimated $43.4 billion on their pets this year, up slightly from $41.2 billion last year, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association." Can you believe $43.4 billion? See also my Sept. 18, 2007 post on the same subject.
Gary Haber reports "an explosion in spending on pets that runs the gamut from organic food to aromatherapy to hip replacements."
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association forecasts Americans will spend $40.8 billion on their pets this year, nearly double the $21 billion dished out in 1996. This year's tab will include $16.4 billion for food, $9.9 billion for supplies and over-the-counter medications and $9.8 billion for veterinary care.
Pet ownership is at an all-time high, with 71.1 million households in teh U.S., or 63 percent, owning at least one animal, the group says.
Where have I been? Until last week I had never heard of Cesar Millan and "The Dog Whisperer" TV program. The person who told me about the program said she has learned as much about human beings as about dogs, and has taped many programs. Then today I came across an internet article stating that a new season of Dog Whisperer shows begins tonight.
The following items from the published interview caught my attention:
I teach owners how to practice exercise, discipline and then affection,
which allows dogs to be in a calm, submissive state. Most owners in
America only practice affection, affection, affection — which does not
create a balanced dog.
Q: When you go into a situation with large dogs that are acting aggressively, how do you keep control of the situation?
First, it is important not to classify a problem dog by its breed. All
dog problems come from two things: lack of exercise and lack of
leadership. That can be a problem for any dog — no matter what size or
breed. I approach the situation with a calm, assertive energy. Your
dogs need you to be the pack leader.
Q: What is the best advice for new dog owners?
A: Take your
dog on a 45-minute power walk every morning. But, you must use the
proper method in walking your dog — when leaving the house, make sure
you always walk out the door ahead of your dog to demonstrate who is
boss; make sure the dog is not in front of you on the walk.
Alas, I have just discovered that my cable TV service doesn't carry the program!