Dear Annie: I have a message I hope you will please share.
The last several years have seen numerous natural disasters. The human toll has been great, but there are thousands of other victims that have no voice. Pets, especially cats, are left behind. I encourage all pet owners to have a disaster plan for their pets. Please make sure you have some basic supplies that are readily accessible. Carriers, medications, leashes, working flashlights to help find them if it's dark or if the power is out. If there is time, food, bowls and beds would be great, too. I even keep brand-new pet playpens, folded up and ready to go so I have a portable house that can be set up. Make sure and have the ones with a zippered floor, not Velcro, or pets can escape.
Too many pets are left behind. I realize they can't all be saved, but thousands are killed every year that could be saved. More end up in already overburdened shelters. Please make arrangements with family, and or neighbors, in case you are not home. I also encourage shelters, breeders, or anyone rehoming an animal to educate new pet parents about disaster preparedness. — Pam S., Concerned Pet Parent
Dear Pam: Your letter couldn't be more timely, as hurricane season gets underway on the East Coast, fire season kicks off in the West, and floods and tornados ravage the middle of the country. In addition to your excellent tips, I'd recommend that pet parents consider the ASPCA's Disaster Preparedness checklist. Find it at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness.
Dear Annie: Someone recently wrote to you and said he kept his cats from fighting at night by coating them in butter and thus keeping them occupies. You old him cats were lactose intolerant. You probably will get a bunch of these emails, but... properly made butter has NO lactose and is 100% fat. So, coat those caterwauling cats! — Butter Fan
Dear Butter Fan: I apologize for my goof on lactose in butter (while it does contain some, it's a minute amount), but not so fast: There are plenty of other reasons not to do this, as the following letter details.
Dear Annie: "Brennan" responded to a letter from "Tired of Those Night Yowls" saying that he and his wife put a stick of butter on their cats to stop them from keeping them awake at night. You responded with: "Thank you for the chuckle. I can't say I endorse this advice; in fact, I have to caution against it, as cats are lactose intolerant. But you win big points for creativity."
You need to let your readers know that doing this to cats is unacceptable. I spoke with my veterinarian, who told me that this borders on animal abuse. Rubbing a cat all over with butter would cause it a tremendous amount of stress, both physical and emotional. "Tired of the Night Prowls" and "Brennan" need to speak to their vet about ways to calm their cats down, and there are multiple ways they can do this.
Also, being a cat owner means accepting basic cat behavior. They are nocturnal animals, and they are often up at night. If this is not working out for these owners, they might want to find good, understanding homes for their cats and switch to dogs or fish. — Cat Mom and Grandma
Dear Cat Mom: To be totally honest, I didn't consider that the letter writer might actually be coating his cats in butter. I assumed he was pulling my leg. But I hate to think I came off as flip regarding feline health. I'm printing your letter to atone.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]