The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana on December 14, 1997 · Page 48
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The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana · Page 48

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Shreveport, Louisiana
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Sunday, December 14, 1997
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Page 48
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2E SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1997 Features THE TIMES ook dteHves into cats'; minds Author says we just don't understand our feline pets. By LEEKRENIS MORE ' Gannett News Service Freud nrvrr asked. But Dr. Nicholas I)(Klnian. wlio last put dos on the couch in his charming 1&M b'st seller, Vie Dog Who Loved Too Much, is braver. He explores the psychology of cats in his new book. The Cat Who Cried fur Help, the pick of a recent litter of books aimed at the hearts and wallets of cat lovers. (liven the fabled elusiveness of the feline mind, you might think that psyching out cats would be a lot like herding them doomed to fail. But 1 Kidman, who directs the behavior clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in Boston, has at least two things going for him that Freud didn't: a lively sense of humor and an arsenal of mood altering drugs, most of which, in case you're worried, have been successfully tested in humans. Dodman also is a man with a cause. "It is as iniKirtant to understand your cat's behavior," he writes, "as it is to vaccinate it. ... "Millions of cats meet an untimely end annually in the nation's shelters, pounds and veterinary offices because owners erroneously believe their pets have unresolvable behavior problems." Now that cats are the nation's No. 1 pet fit) million "owned" cats share our homes a little understanding could go a long way. Why is understanding cats such a problem? Perhaps because at heart, the cat is an "inaccessible, unrestrained wild animal," in the words of pioneer animal behaviorist Konrad Irenz, who Dodman quotes approvingly. Sex seems to be uppermost in a cat's mind: "If you get a new kitten, you have to start thinking about sex almost before you can say 'Sigmund Freud.'" Dodman writes. Hunting is a close second, along t tin tDK. IX l)l i. : OKK U.iAFJ III SUKMl.lU. 11 H .SUS VVfj Who y " - ' , '-;' .Cried f m: H f 0 r 4 H e I p Altitudes, E in o t i o n s , a n d the Psychology o f C a t s ) r. N I CHOI. A S D ODM A N- juihc-r of Ihr II he I.eveJ lee Murk If you want to know more BOOK: The Cat Who Cried tor Help. AUTHOR: Dr. Nicholas Dodman. PUBLISHER: Bantam Doubleday Dell. COST: $22.95. with grooming. Trouble is. most of the behavior driven by a cat's natural urges territorial aggression, urine marking, furniture scratching is prohibited by its human companions. The result: confused, conflicted, even psychotic cats. Dodman introduces us to quite a few of them, including Thomas, who yowls all night; Ashley, who attacks without provocation; Frankie, who urinates everywhere but his litter box; Rex, for whom warm, fuzzy GPN socks are objects of sexual desire; and Lucky, whose obsessive-compulsive wool-sucking leaves blankets looking like Swiss cheese. Since these stories have more or less happy endings, Dodman is free to have a bit of fun along the way. Here's Bonker, the proverbial fat cat: "It weighed 20-something pounds and slept on its back, giving an impression of a beached jellyfish. ... The only indication that the unidentified lying object was a cat came after close inspection of the mass, noting the slow, rhythmic breathing and the flutter of the eyelids at the sound of the refrigerator door opening." Dodman doesn't hesitate to prescribe drugs for his furry patients usually Prozac or Anafranil for aggression, buspirone for anxiety. Better to feed a cat pills, he argues, than to have it killed because it won't behave. As with humans, finding the right drug often is a matter of trial and error. Cats are not only wild at heart but also consummate individuals. The stereotypical cat is a loner, like Kudyard Kipling's fabled Cat That Walked by Himself. It's cool, aloof and mysterious cooperative to gain advantage, manipulative to a fault Well, maybe. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, in her 1994 book Vie Tribe of Tiger (Simon and Schuster, $12), isn't convinced. Although cats "don't follow leaders" the way dogs do, they aren't loners, she argues. In fact, they're very social; we just don't understand them: "In truth, most of us don't know our cats. ... We interpret cat signals to tell us, for instance, that they don't care about us and don't miss us when we're gone. If people were giving off similar signals, we'd be right. But they're not people, and we're wrong." All cats, from lions to tabbies, are obsessive about hunting, Thomas writes. This explains much of their behavior: "Their caution, their reserve, their stealth ... even their play is a simulation of hunting." , Watch a cat's body language for clues, veterinarians suggest By LEE KRENIS MORE Gannett News Service To understand your cat. you need to "read" its behavior for clues. Pay attention to body language, advises Dr. Kathleen Wakefield of Clark Animal Care Center in Pri.field. N.Y, If a cat closes its eyes in front of you. it doesn't mean "I don't care about you." but "I trust you, I'm com fortable with you." she says. If the cat's eyes are protruding and it's staring at you, back off. she adds. The animal is very nervous and may be about to pounce. A cat whose ears are lying flat against its head is sending much the same message: "Don't come any closer!" Wakefield also advises people not to project their own feelings onto their cats. Your cat doesn't urinate on the rug or claw the furniture out of spite because you came home late from work. "Cats rarely do things like that," she says. "They're nonaggressive; they want to avoid their owner's wrath." Such behavior is, instead, "a territorial thing." Another common misperception: thinking that because you're often gone all day, your cat is lonely and you should get another cat to keep it company. "Cats aren't a pack animal like dogs. They're more used to being solitary," Wakefield explains. "They tolerate humans, even dogs, better than other cats." But she adds, somewhat sheepishly, "I'm one to talk, because I've got six cats" at home plus two dogs and two parrots. Software abounds for holiday gifting Continued from IE "Mighty Math Number Heroes" and "Mighty Math Zoo Zillions" covering basic math skills: fun but intense repetition. "SAT, PSAT & ACT Deluxe 1998" (Macintosh, PC CD-ROM; Kaplan; 15 and up) A great product to help improve test scores for entry into college. Includes complete prep for all tests, plus a guide to over 1,600 colleges, a financial aid and scholarship finder and study-skill help. Printing Disney's Print Studio Series (Macintosh. PC CD-ROM: Disney Interactive; 6 and up). Fun printing programs based on Disney animated Dims. Features printable banners, calendars, envelopes, greeting cards, invitations, suckers and more. Hot Wheels Custom Car Design CD-ROM (PC CD-ROM; Mattell Media; 8 and up); Print your designs on blank stickers to customize model cars and trucks. Create personalized pretend driver's licenses, license plates, birthday cards. Comes with one Hot Wheel vehicle to get you started. Print Paks (Macintosh, PC CD-ROM; Print Paks; 8 and up); Print Paks offer printing products unlike any other on the market. They allow you to create magnets, T-shirts, iron-, on designs and more. New packs include The Party-Fun Kit. 3D Greetings, Pinwheel Kit, Super Jewelry Kit. B The Print Shop Premier Edition (PC CD-ROM; Broderbund; 13 and up) and PrintMaster Platinum (PC CD-ROM; Mindscape; 13 and up); Adobe PhotoDeluxe 4.0 (Macintosh, PC CD-ROM; Adobe; 17 and up); Photo Creations All-in-One Studio (PC CD-ROM; Creative Wonders; 13 and up); Cravola Print Factory (Macintosh, PC CD-ROM; IBM; 6 and up); Click Art 200,000 Deluxe Image Pak (PC CD-ROM; Broderbund; 17 and up). These printing programs are great to create cards, letters, labels, calendars and business cards. The only major difference between them is how the graphics look. (I tried these with the new Hewlett-Packard 772C and Canon BJC-7000 color printers, price about $300; the results had a very professional look.) Reference College Advisor '98 Edition (Macintosh. PC CD-ROM; The Princeton Review and Time Magazine; 16 and up). If you're a high-school junior or senior, you need this guide. Features profiles of over 1,200 colleges based on 75,000 student surveys; a financial-need calculator; an online scholarship search function. Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1998 (PC CD-ROM; Compton New Media; 10 and up). Similar to Microsoft's Encarta but with better video and easier access. Excellent. Microsoft Bookshelf 1998 (Macintosh. PC CD-ROM; Microsoft; 8 and up). This multimedia entry contains Encarta 1998 Desk Encyclopedia and World Atlas, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and The Bookshelf Internet Directory 1998. Eight hours of sound, samples of 60 languages. 7,800 photos and illustrations, and an atlas. National Museum of American Art: Smithsonian Institution (PC CD-ROM; Macmillian Digital; 13 and up). More than 750 master works of American art, plus tours, tools and a media library. Edutainment Board Games on CD-ROM (Macintosh. PC CD-ROM; Hasbro Interactive; ages 8 and up). Gifts to give you and your kids a break from learning include these classic board games, now available on CD-ROM: Pictionary, a drawing word game; Boggle, word-search game; Puzz 3D, which allows you to build a three-dimensional Notre Dame cathedral; and Monopoly, Scrabble and Battleship. (All are still available as board games, of course.) Disney's Animated Story Book Series (Macintosh, PC CD-ROM; Disney Interactive; 3 and up). Reading is fun when your favorite Disney characters from Hercules, 101 Dalmatians, Toy Story and Winnie the Pooh come to life on your computer. Features reading, games and music. The latest is Nightmare Ned, an adventure that turns fear into fun within an animated cartoon world. Disney Children's Software (Macintosh, PC CD-ROM; Disney Interactive; 6 and up). Math Quest With Aladdin, Ready for Math With Pooh help kids learn without knowing it. Tamagotchi CD-ROM (PC CD-ROM; Bandai Digital; 6 and up). The '70s had the Pet Rock, the '80s had Cabbage Patch Kids, and the late '90s has those annoying (to adults) Virtual Reality Pets. This new variety loads into your PC where you let your child play with them, feed them and nurture them. You can even , print out snapshots or e-mail your present or past pets to friends. MM I , i . i .5 tn ; -X. I II I . II If . Bf i V X . i mi ur twj U . - -Vi LVJ V T V BY THE mtjmaimmiutm CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION in Longview jn shreveport 305 West Loop 281 Suite 103 1950 E. 70th Suite A (903) 663,6776 call now 798-1808 Resolve to Lose I Not a fad Diet virtually No Hunger No Calorie Counting filcLABOLIC RESEARCH CENTERS WEIGHT LOSS SPECIALISTS Pierremont Mall 4801 Line Ave. 865-1919 Mon.-Sat. 10-5:30 Sun. 1-5 fcnont (gj F I l k k t M o N I MALL Tls The Season Handmads, Handpaintad Dinnarwar Ovan, Microwavt & Dishwasher Sat Santa's Snacks You Couldn't "Pick" A More Luscious Gift... Crape Cliip & Dip Tray wDish VfM For friends, family, vf v oryourscli arthur court designs 4ti ft rtirmmrtt. available now at... MALL ST. VINCENT 425-3100 3312 YOUREE DR. 868-4451 Unfinished & Custom Finished Furniture our furniture. To com d I eta vour house wa tuaoest vou finish m 's ai l JOwiVlgsr j,0 lEXEXii! P Sz ..i!ril r-M:Ji fnn Minns ii 'Mik-s -t iMiMi'n ( jlojDoCT-OO J St. PauF s Gift Shop James Avery Jewelry Jeep Collins Jewelry Fontanini Nativities David Frykman Santas New Selection of J.. Duban Decorative Tiles F! Mon. - Uoli8ayHours-4 - ' Fri. 9:30-4.00 ' Sat. 10:00-4:00 Located in St. Paul s Episcopal Church 275 Southfield Rd. Shreveport, La. 868-8968 arthur court designs Arthur Court Designs make great Christmas gifts! if Thank you, a portion of four purchase is donated to The Arthur and tlena Court Nature Watch Conservancy for the protection and preservation of wildlife and the environment. 1 5733 Youree Drive Southfield Shopping Center 865-8108 PUBLIC NOTICE The Bossier Parish Section 8 Housing, at 700 Benton Road, Suite B, will begin accepting applications for the housing assistance Waiting List at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, January 5, 1998 and will stop accepting applications at 4:30 p.m. on January 16, 1998. A lottery system will be used to draw only 300 applications and the rest will be discarded. Regardless of what day during the two week period an application is turned in, each family's application has the same chance of being drawn. The Times: December 14f 1997 ii

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