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inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #76 of 101: Paul B. Israel (pauli) Wed 25 Oct 06 18:21
    
My cats, who are no longer with me, were very fond of all sorts of
vegetables, they particularly liked stir fry.  But the favorite was what
we took to calling kittenaloupe - you humans might know it best as
cantaloupe.
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #77 of 101: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Wed 25 Oct 06 19:02
    
We kept a list of things that my cat Bagheera would cry for--yowling
piteously until he got to have a taste.  Besides the obvious (meats,
fish, cheese) and pretty obvious (milk, eggs) he adored corn,
asparagus, broccoli, and brussels sprouts (would steal them off your
plate or your fork or chomp on to the other end when you took a bite);
and occasionally asked for sweet peppers, carrots, green beans, various
greens, squash, especially summer squashes; once or twice he asked for
apricots; he demanded a chance to have the last bite and lick the bowl
of virtually all meat, vegetable, or bean soups, stews, stir fries or
curries, spicy or hot or not; he liked sourdough starter and bread
dough, breads, crackers, cookies, tortilla chips; and his true passion
was carob chips, enough so that I used them for training treats, and
hid his pills between a couple of them squished together; but I don't
ever recall him begging for cantaloupe.  Must not have read the kitty
omnivore checklist.
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #78 of 101: Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Wed 25 Oct 06 21:53
    
Gina, when you were writing your books, how much were you tempted to
use your own menagerie as examples? I mean, we all think our own pets
are the most perfect flower of pet-dom.
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #79 of 101: Gina Spadafori (giori) Thu 26 Oct 06 07:33
    
Not too much, really. The books focus on the things people don't know,
things they misunderstand or would just find interesting about cats
and dogs. Dr. Becker and I started with lists and lists of questions,
including many that came from readers of our syndicated column either
directly or indirectly in that their e-mails suggested a lack of basic
understanding of one thing or another. For example: People who think
dogs who scoot on their behinds have worms. (Probably not so.)

And, of course, things people never thought about but that have
gee-whiz factor, like, "Do some neutered dogs take Viagra?" (Yes, it's
prescribed for pulmonary conditions.)
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #80 of 101: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Fri 27 Oct 06 16:28
    
Why do so many cats like to eat vegetables?  Not just a few blades of
grass, or veggies smothered in cheese or butter or meat sauces, but
plain, steamed, or raw veggies?
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #81 of 101: Gina Spadafori (giori) Sat 28 Oct 06 08:23
    
Because it's natural and healthy for them to do so. Greens provide
fiber, water and both help to keep things moving. 

Cats generally don't get near enough fiber and fluids. Most cats, in
fact, are chronically dehydrated. I prefer to see people try to offset
that by not feeding dry food solely -- wet food helps with hydration,
and if you add canned pumpkin to the wet food regularly, that'll help
with fiber (and hairballs). 
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #82 of 101: Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Sat 28 Oct 06 10:26
    
So Halloween is coming, and with it...pet costumes! In fact, I just saw a
dachshund in one of those "hot dog" costumes with the squiggle of mustard
down the back.

They're awfully cute. Really. But what is UP with the dressing-up-your-pets?
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #83 of 101: Gina Spadafori (giori) Sat 28 Oct 06 19:37
    
In the lifetime of most of us, pets -- especially dogs -- have moved
from livestock/backyard pets to indoor pets to family to children.
That's a pretty big change of status. And the pet industry predicts as
more baby-boomers become empty nesters and retirees, the trend will
intensify. (This is different from the past, when many viewed having
pets as something you did when you had children at home, and when the
dog died after the last kid went to college, that was that.)

In light of the changes in the social status of pets, it's no surprise
that people want to dress them up for Halloween. Plus, it's harmless
fun. 

I generally don't do it, basically because I'm too busy and/or too
lazy. But I did once win a costume contest with my "reverse Dalmatian"
-- putting round white stickers on my black retriever. 

We'll be back at dog shows tomorrow, and I do have a white collar with
a red bow tie for my young male retriever ... but that's it. 

But then ... my dogs are my "children." I don't pretend otherwise. 
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #84 of 101: David DeMaris (demaris) Sun 29 Oct 06 00:04
    
One of my dogs, a neutered male now 13, has a few baffling (to me)
behaviors regarding food. One is that he'll often do some little feng
shui dance with his food bowl, spinning it around a bit or adjusting
his own angle until it's just right before taking a bite. The other,
which I can only remember in the last few years vs. forever on the bowl
spinning, is that on occasion he'll be heard barking in the kitchen.
Upon investigation, he's staring at his water bowl and letting loose
the occasional barrage. 
I thought maybe insect having a swim, but nothing *I* can see. Clues?
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #85 of 101: Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Sun 29 Oct 06 23:15
    
Gina, if you don't post a photo of your reverse Dalmatian, I will cry.
I mean it.
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #86 of 101: Jeffrey M. Field (topsy-turvy) Mon 30 Oct 06 02:35
    
I am both a dog person and a cat person. (Dogs most of my life and
cats the past five years.)

Have you ever heard of a cat who thinks he's a piece of furniture?
Caveman
(http://consilience.typepad.com/our_stories/2006/10/little_people_i.html)
loves to be vacuumed when I clean house every Saturday. His head, his
flanks, even his tail.

And now, a question for you. I bought Nintendogs - Dalmatian and
Friends, this week. I wanted to see whether I would become "attached",
so to speak. Well, let me say that I AM attached to my little puppy,
Sark (as well as amazed at what good programming can do). My question -
do you think a child could learn to take responsibility for a real dog
by taking responsibility for a simulated one?
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #87 of 101: Gina Spadafori (giori) Mon 30 Oct 06 08:11
    
I absolutely do not. Let me recast this in another way: Do you think a
video game on human relationships would prepare you for a real one? 

One of the best sayings on kids' pets I've ever heard is that parents
should pick pets THEY like, because the parents (statistically
speaking, MOM) will end up caring for them. Kids lose interest. It's
normal. Parents set up horrible situations with their expectations of
teaching "responsibility" through pet care. Typically, pet care becomes
a tug-of-war and the pet suffers. 

This piece by Welpern Jon Katz is one of my favorite all-time bits of
writing on a pet care topic. Ernie's story is one that's repeated in
countless thousands of suburban homes: 

<http://www.slate.com/id/2103801>

Neglected children's pets is one of those subjects that make my head
hurt. For every ignored golden retriever like Ernie, there are
countless millions of parakeets, hamsters, hermit crabs and more dying
for lack of proper care because the kids are "responsible" for them. 

/rant
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #88 of 101: Gina Spadafori (giori) Mon 30 Oct 06 08:14
    
Oh, and the thing about moving the dish around? There's just no
telling. Animals have quirks just like people do! 
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #89 of 101: Gina Spadafori (giori) Mon 30 Oct 06 10:09
    
My reverse Dalamatian ... I WISH I had a picture of him. I lost that
dog in summer of 2005 to cancer, age 11. I love all my pets, but some
are more special than others. That dog was the best book-signing dog
ever. He could "read" a person and tailor his response: Still and
gentle for little children, a little more boisterous for young men,
etc. 

When we did book-signings, I put a red backpack on him so he could
carry his water dish, pens, a dog toy, etc. Since he was a handsome
black retriever, people always assumed he was a service dog. 

One time, we were scheduled for an event at Moscone Center. I couldn't
find the event, and stopped to ask a man in a Moscone Center uniform.
He started gesticulating widely, talking slowly and loudly. I quickly
realized he thought I was deaf, and Ben was my hearing dog! 

Being such a good social dog took so much out of Ben. After a few
hours of it, he would walk back to the car with his head hanging down
with exhaustion. I finally had to "retire" him from public events at
age nine because it was too much for him. 

Gosh, I miss that dog. And I wish I had a picture of him as a reverse
Dalmatian to share. Here's a nice pic of him, sans dots: 

<http://www.flickr.com/photos/giori/22866871/>
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #90 of 101: prunella (cmbegle) Mon 30 Oct 06 12:56
    

Aw, sweet Ben.

It seems to me like there's a growing chasm between dog people and
not-dog people, and it seems harder to have a dog.  Land use issues,
landlord issues, insurance issues.  Has it always been like this, or am
I, as a newbie dog owner, just noticing this?  Do you think it's
getting better or worse for dogs and their people?  What do you think
it's going to be like for dog people in the future?
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #91 of 101: Gina Spadafori (giori) Mon 30 Oct 06 13:45
    
Interesting question. I think it's going to become very difficult
indeed for people with breeds of checkered reputations -- pit bulls,
Rotties, etc., and their mixes -- since I believe breed bans will
continue to spread. (For the record: I'm in favor of very very tough
laws against aggresive dogs and against practices that encourage
aggression (primarilly chaining) but not against laws that ban breeds.
I feel they're pointless, since the bad actors among us will just
switch breeds.) 

It'll become harder for anyone with a large dog to get homeowners
insurance. (When I bought my house three years ago, I was questioned
extensively about my dogs, something that the agent I've had for almost
30 years has never done with previous houses.) You'll be more likely
to be sued and lose homeowners insurance if your dog does hurt someone.


It has always, always been difficult to rent with dogs, especially big
dogs. That's why I bought my first home, in 1987. I was tired of "no
dog" policies. 

But overall, it has become a much a much friendlier world for dogs and
dog-lovers over the 25 years I've been writing about them. More
off-leash dog areas, more hotels/motels taking dogs, more outdoor
dog-friendly dining spots and heaven knows more cool dog gear. 

I think there is a backlash brewing, though. I get more hate-mail from
pet-haters than I ever used to, and it's nasty, nasty stuff. But
considering that seven of 10 homes has a pet and only three of 10 homes
has a child, I'm not too worried about the future overall. The numbers
are on the side of pet-lovers. 

I look at amenities for dog-lovers as the logical extension of
recreation policy and use of my tax dollars. I support soccer fields,
tennis courts and bike trails. But I expect MY recreational needs to be
addressed as well, and those involve taking my dogs for long walks and
swims, in legal off-leash recreational areas. 
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #92 of 101: looking at you with his eyebrows tweedling (booter) Mon 30 Oct 06 16:08
    

I have two cats. One is a Birman or Ragdoll named Beanie. The other is a
DSH named Zero. I keep them indoors, but have allowed them out under
supervision in case they are accidentally let out for any reason. (They
have pried screens off and escaped in their own.) Beanie is permanently
grounded, because he now knows that if he runs up and over the fence, down
the block and into a small space, I cannot find him. Zero, however, still
gets "playtime". He is allowed out because it takes him a long time to get
bored with the yard and try to leave. When he leaves, I walk into the 
neighbor's yard, bringing him in, kicking and screaming.

That's not the issue.

The issue is this. I used to have a brick patio and a concrete paver.
He used to roll on the concrete paver when he got out. That was generally
the First Order of Business. Now, I no longer have the patio and paver.
I have a large rectangle of sand that I think of as "the beach". Zero will
dart out the door and hurl himself into the sand and roll on it for five
to ten minutes. He'll take a break, but he always comes back to the sand.
My sister observed this and said, "He's rolling in it like a veal cutlet in
breadcrumbs." I now call this ritual "Cutlet Time".

I have seen other cats roll on concrete, but not to the degree that Zero does.

So, to paraphrase Seinfeld..."What's with that?"
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #93 of 101: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Mon 30 Oct 06 16:48
    
Emily does that too.....as soon as she gets out onto the little
concrete balcony, she looks around for about 10-15 seconds, then stops,
drops, & rolls.

After a couple of minutes, she'll get bored, and go sit by the edge to
watch birds & squirrels.  But if I bring her inside, then back out
again a few minutes later, she'll start over with the rolling.

100° summer day, 40 degrees in the fall, still stop/drop/roll.

It's so predictable that I went a little overboard....

http://www.flickr.com/photos/debunix/sets/72157594216344279/

What is up with that?  
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #94 of 101: Gina Spadafori (giori) Mon 30 Oct 06 17:15
    
Dunno, but I sure have observed it a lot in a lot of cats. Probably
just feels good, scratching some itchy spots. 

Horses love to do it, too: 

<http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/102391671/in/set-219309/>
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #95 of 101: Craig S. Thom (craigthom) Mon 30 Oct 06 21:35
    
<gail>, way back you mentioned a noise your cat makes when watching
birds.  Mine does that, too.  Her jaw opens and closes and she makes a
weird little noise.  The only time she does this is when watching
birds.

She's got three other distinctive noises (five if you count a hiss):
the regular "Hey, look at me" meow, the "I am really not enjoying this"
growl, and a little coo she makes when she's asleep and I touch her.
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #96 of 101: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Mon 30 Oct 06 22:36
    
That's another odd cat thing I wonder about--the "prey in sight"
warble.  Both of my cats have done that.  

It seems quite contrary to good practice as a stealthy stalker to
advertise your excitement with the warble.

Is that something our domestic cats retain from kittenhood?

Do they only do it if we're around--being social?  if the prey is
unattainable--a cry of frustration?  
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #97 of 101: Gina Spadafori (giori) Tue 31 Oct 06 06:25
    
Almost all cats do this prey chatter, especially when the prey is out
of reach. It's an involuntary response. 
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #98 of 101: David Adam Edelstein (davadam) Wed 1 Nov 06 13:21
    
Speaking of prey chatter, that's a terrible segue for me to thank
Gina, Christine, and Fawn for a great conversation.  

Our Inkwell spotlight is now turning to a new conversation, but this
topic will still be around for as long as Gina cares to keep
chattering.
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #99 of 101: Gina Spadafori (giori) Wed 1 Nov 06 15:16
    
Thanks for dropping in! 
  
inkwell.vue.284 : Gina Spadafori, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" & "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?"
permalink #100 of 101: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 1 Nov 06 15:32
    
What a lot of fun this has been!
  

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