Humans are fascinated by felines. They have distinct purr-sonalities that mystify us because of their aloofness.

Since this is the Year of the Cat, I’m addressing questions that pertain to the care and behavior of our feline friends.

Q. How old is my cat in human terms?

A. A study done by a veterinarian compared a 1 year-old cat to a 17-year-old person; and a 10-year-old cat to a 62-year-old. The veterinarian notes that this method is only an approximation, but it is more reasonable than the standard equation of one cat year to seven human years.

Q. Is it all right to give cats dog food?

A. Dog food is not properly formulated for cats’ protein and essential nutrient requirements. There are many quality cat food products available that address a variety of health concerns and needs. Check with your vet for specifics.

Q. We’ve noticed the outer layer of our cat’s claws fall off. Is this normal?

A. The outer, superficial layer of a cat’s claw sheds periodically. A scratching post helps a cat care for its claws. And ask your vet to show you how to regularly clip its nails.

Q. Declawing?

A. I hate this question. It’s a controversial and irreversible procedure. The operation, known as onychectomy, removes the claw and all or a portion of the bone in the toe which containes germinal cells, which are responsible for nail growth. Declawed cats can’t defend themselves as easily, and many revert to biting. A cat’s mental health as well as its physical condition should be taken into account. Many owners report behavioral problems and personality changes after declawing, such as their cats becoming withdrawn and introverted. Humans tamper with what God created too much at times, and the poor animal suffers because we don’t have the patience to deal with a natural instinct such as scratching. Cover your couch, get a scratching post scented with catnip, but please don’t tamper with the cat’s paws.

If you do have a cat declawed, always keep it indoors.

Some feline facts: The average adult cat can sleep two-thirds of the day. A full grown cat has 30 teeth. Before the age of about 3 months, kittens have blue irises.

Pet Apologies

We’re sorry to those of you who attended the Pet Parade at Glencoe Park not knowing it was canceled. We were unable to get. What’s worse, it means the animals won’t receive $5,000 that was budgeted for their care.


Nov. 6 – “Critters & Chrysanthemums Cruises the 50’s.” Fund-raiser for SPCA of Texas and Dallas Arboretum; 7 p.m. – midnight. Tickets: $30. Information: 327-8263, ext. 145.

Nov. 8-Dec. 24 – NorthPark Adopts the SPCA of Texas. Adoption center between Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

Dec. 11-12 – “A Christmas Gathering” Arts, Crafts and Bake Sale, at SPCA, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Dec. 11, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. on Dec. 12.