Every once in a while, I come across a book I’d like to share with you here at Almost Perfect Pets. It may not necessarily involve disabled pets, but usually it has something to do with that topic peripherally, or is just a good read for pet parents in general. The one I’m sharing with you today falls into the latter category. And I do mean, CAT-egory!
Last week, I noticed our blind cat, Idgie (star of my essay in Almost Perfect), seemed a bit “off.” Couldn’t place it, really, she just seemed out of sorts. And then I’d been noticing that I could feel her vertebrae more pronouncedly than I recalled in the past. And her hair, though always matte anyway, seemed less springy and kind of limp. I might have just told myself I was imagining things, but I’d begun reading The Complete Cat’s Meow: Everything You Need To Know About Caring For Your Cat. The author, my friend Darlene Arden, had sent me a free review copy (full disclosure), and I’d started reading it. And on page 120 is list, “Subtle Signs of Illness.”
Well, thanks to what I read there, I realized that indeed Idgie might be in some distress, so I immediately got her in to see the vet. It turned out to be just a mild intestinal blockage caused by a massive hairball, so no worries — Idgie’s just fine, thanks! In fact, here she is, watching me type this:
But the important part is that this book helped validate my innate knowledge about my little girl, and made me take the action needed to make sure she’d be okay. I am so grateful for that! And there are little tidbits like this throughout this useful “cat owner’s manual” that I’m sure I’m not the only one who’ll find really informative and enlightening! For instance, on page 88 is a “Litter Box Hygiene” sidebar that explained to me why, after a recent litter box cleaning, our four critters developed a sudden aversion to using one of their litter pans. Why? I had used an industrial cleaner on it — a definite no-no!
In fact, that whole chapter — “Understanding Cat Behavior” — is just fascinating and really lends great insight into the minds of our feline companions. And that’s just the beginning of the treasure chest of knowledge this book is, for everyone from the cat newbie to longtime feline family members (I still have much to learn from it after having cats my whole life!).
In chronological order, Cat’s Meow covers the newborn kitten, choosing a cat, creating a safe and happy home environment for kitty, proper feeding and health care and special concerns specific to feline health. You’ll also learn enough about emergencies and cat surgery to at least keep you from losing your mind out of fear and ignorance, should you ever have to face such a situation, along with a general overview of popular cat breeds, and activities you can do with your cat. Two thorough appendices provide resources for everything from useful books and websites to cat products, and a comprehensive index makes this book eminently usable.
Inside the health areas, Darlene does cover illnesses and injuries that could cause cats to become disabled or long-term special needs pets, and the ways to do everything you can to keep that from happening. Here at Almost Perfect Pets, we’re always thankful for anything that gets such information out to the public, and are especially glad for the experience and expertise Darlene brings to this important subject.
The best part of this handy book is the fact that it’s so well-written — with Darlene’s signature wry wit and the confidence that comes with her animal behaviorist certification — that you can sit down and actually read it like any other book, or just pick it up when needed for a specific situation. I recommend the former, though — you’d miss a really good read if you only skim it like a guidebook. Either way, you’re sure to get a lot of use and enjoyment out of this comprehensive “owner’s manual” I think should be required reading for every new cat family.