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The issue of whether cats need humans.For months, I've been meaning to write a post that addresses the misconception that cats don't need people and are just fine with our prolonged absence. In doing research, I found click bait and misinterpretations of studies that concluded something completely different than the title of the article about it. I came across one particular article that enraged me (more on this later). This isn't completely new to me. The last time I got this angry, I read a "news" article that claimed that cats see humans as big, ugly, dumb cats. Intrigued, and with an open mind to understand cats better, I read the entire book the article cited. The book said nothing of the sort. In fact, I got to the end of the book and scratched my head because while I found a section the title could've been twisted from, the expert never claimed what the author of the article said. For some reason, cats are the easy target. For every "study" I've seen claiming to prove some aspect of feline lives, I've seen just as many studies suggesting the very opposite. For some reason, cats are polarizing. The problem is that for cats, people believe the click bait and misinterpretations because it serves their agendas. What are their agendas? To minimize what they can't understand - cats and our relationships with them. To point the finger at a bad guy - an adversary. Because it feeds the human desire for juicy and salacious. For some people who don't know cats, it can be easy to hate them. But is it true? Do cats really not need us? Or is it a case of us not being able to understand the ways they communicate with us? Then, what do we get by maligning cats because we don't understand them?  And what's so scary about cats? What provokes the worst in humanity? Is it about control? Do these people not like cats because they can't control or manipulate one? It seems to me that we can't blame the cats for our lack of understanding. I'm sure if cats could tell us, they would. But until humans scratch and spray to mark their territory - or use the litter box, play with the milk ring, and scratch a scratching post, let's agree that judging cats on human parameters is unfair at best. And compare them to dogs? You lose that essence of cat-ness that we cat people love so much. Until cats dig up the yard, chase a stick, love to go swimming and for car rides, roll around in nasty things, and lick your face ... maybe we should leave the comparisons to dogs to the, well, dogs. 



My cats.
Just because cats don't love in the same way as dogs, doesn't mean that they don't love us. When I was in middle school, my parents finally relented and we got a cat. I was expecting endless cuddle parties and a best friend. Kitty was not a cuddler. For years, I didn't think she cared whether I was there or not. Then I realized that there was a reason she was always in the same room with me. There's a reason that, when she was a kitten, it was MY room she played in all night long. And when she became a mouser at age 11, she brought them to MY bedroom. Sure, her love could've been more obvious if she knocked me over and licked my face - or even cuddled with me for more than a couple minutes a day. But that's not who she was. It doesn't mean she didn't love me or need me ... just that her way of expressing it wasn't as obvious. And did she care while I was gone? I'd say so. She peed on or mauled anyone else I asked to take care of her. Yes, she occasionally got desperate for attention and might jump on a substitute caretaker's lap - but the second I got home, she was back to being my girl with no thought of the caretaker. So, yes, cats need attention - and they DO care who they get it from. 



Bear is, in almost every way, Kitty's opposite. I found Bear on the street. The first time we saw each other, I put some treats out - but he wouldn't come out from under the deck while I was there. I went inside and came back to find the treats gone and a curious cat looking at me from under the deck. So I put a few more down and left. The next time I saw him, he rolled on his back and encouraged me (by wrapping his arms around my wrist and pulling my hand to his belly) to pet his belly. That was it right there. I was owned by another cat. It took me a couple weeks to work it out in my head. I had a fifteen year old cat with multiple health problems. I was afraid of shaking the boat. But Bear (from bear hugs - like the ones he did around my wrist so I'd pet his belly) came to our door EVERY MORNING at the exact same time. I'd give him food and he'd sit in my lap. My lap was more important than the food. Now how is that? A HOMELESS, STARVING KITTEN and he preferred my lap and belly rubs to food. And there was no guarantee he'd get the food after the cuddles because there were always a couple other cats circling the area closing in on the food. But he didn't care if they ate his food. This is when I realized cats are capable of way more than we give them credit for. I was expecting instinct to rule - and yet here, it was love - it was connection - it was all the things people claim cats aren't capable of.

Right after I adopted him, there was a bit of an adjustment issue - he wanted to cuddle ALL THE TIME. I wasn't used to that - and I admit I was probably more aloof than his tastes preferred. So what did I do? I adjusted MY behavior to match what he needed. I white-knuckled it for a couple months until it felt natural and not anxiety provoking to me to always be close to him. There's another lesson for you: just like any human relationship, you get out of it what you put in. If you insist on being distant - not wanting the cat to disturb you as you go about your daily life - and pushing the cat away and getting mad because of the "annoyance," I imagine your cat wouldn't need you. But that was YOUR choice - not the cat's. It doesn't represent HIS preference - but yours. It's not HIM that doesn't want or need you - but YOU that are incapable of being those things. Perhaps that's the problem - with cats you have to work on the relationship - unlike the easy enthusiasm of a dog. And let's be honest, with the divorce rate being what it is, we're not a people that want to work in a relationship - we just want it ready-made and perfect. With cats, you get out what you put in - you choose the degree of interpersonal interaction - you set the tone and rhythm of your life with the cat.


I know. It's just a cat. I changed myself for a cat? Let me tell you why that means everything to me. Growing up, my parents were so involved in their own heads - their own issues - their own STUFF, that they didn't really see my brother and I. It didn't occur to them that we might need something from them. Without any children of my own, by changing myself to be closer to what Bear needs - I'm ending the legacy my parents propagated. I am not my parents - and no place is it more obvious than my relationships. I'm proud of that. Whether it's Bear or a child or a goat ... I am not continuing the pain of the way I was raised. I've mastered it and said NO MORE!

Over the years, Bear and I have been through a lot. Thousands of times of him being in the front window and then at the front door when I get home. Thousands of times of him misbehaving to get my attention. Thousands of times of looking at me for reassurance when he can't understand the circumstance (vet visit, storms, etc). But the thing I hold closer to my heart than all the rest is that when he's not feeling good - he comes to me - he doesn't hide. He had a tumor removed some years ago - and he's had several dentals with extractions. And every time I bring him home and he's a little woozy from the anesthesia - he comes to me for love and reassurance. A few times, we've fallen asleep with him in my arms - all the way around him. So what's the difference here?


If your cat doesn't need you, what does that say about you as an owner? Has your own aloofness rubbed off on the cat? You rejected him before he could reject you? Quite frankly, if your cat doesn't care about your presence, that says more about you and how you treat your cat than about your cat and what he's capable of. Dogs trip over themselves to please us - but cats know they are wonderful already. They don't try to shove a square peg into a round hole. 


Now, Ellie is a bit of a cross between the two. The first time I saw her in the rescue's enclosure at the store, I looked at her and she got up from her nap and started rubbing against the front of the enclosure. She was dancing for me! Thank goodness the representative of the rescue came in at that time - because they could let me in so I could pet her as she so desperately wanted. Ellie is our lap cat - she's happiest on a lap. 

Good luck trying to convince me that she doesn't need me and doesn't care if I'm around.

Several times now, I've been out of town and my two haven't eaten much. Yes. As we see in feral cat colonies, cats can SURVIVE without human interaction - though the humans feeding them might be necessary. But just because they can survive doesn't mean that they PREFER to be left alone. Ferals in particular try to stay as far away from humans as they can - but it's not because they don't need us. Staying away from humans - who drive cars - who torture - who will kick a cat until she loses her kittens and almost her life ... that's just smart. If humans weren't such jerks to those who depend on us, I think it would be a much different world.

For us cat people, when one hears that cats don't need us, it's easy to be full of rage, emotional arguments, and shock. It's easy to react. But is it true? And can I prove it? Emotional arguments prove nothing - no matter how heartfelt and passionate. And as many times as I share the traits Bear has that completely disproves any nonsense about cats not needing us, the behavior of one cat (or even three) doesn't prove anything either. As a numbers person, I set out to find actual hard evidence. I learned long ago that numbers CAN lie and CAN be manipulated to just about any end. And just about any conclusion can be twisted into an article that sells papers, or we share on social media, or is a thinly veiled invitation to click on a headline used as click bait. I've come up against irresponsible click bait before. If you'd like to learn more about the issues of irresponsible (and incorrect) journalism, my friend posted on, "When Popular Media Use Sensationalist Headlines to Report on Scientific Studies."

I want to note here that it's reckless to paint all felines alike. Just like a few humans, there are probably a few cats that want nothing to do with humanity (not that I blame them). Just like human terrorists or serial killers, we don't condemn humanity based on the actions of a few. So why condemn all cats because of a person's ONE bad experience with them? Just like us - cats are individuals. Missing?! The cruelty with which us humans live. When a cat kills something, it's not because it enjoys it - but because instinct tells it to.

All my cats have shown that they love me - and in drastically different ways. I didn't come into the relationships with a closed mind. I let cats be cats and I loved them for it.

What studies say.So much of the research we have is relational from cats - to dogs or humans. But you don't shove a square peg in a round hole and expect it to keep out the water, do you? Maybe the first step is recognizing felines are just that - felines. They aren't dogs - they aren't people - and until they act alike, they shouldn't be judged alike. Obviously cats aren't dogs or humans and by trying to fit them into human or dog shoes we're not doing anyone any favors. As Emilia Evans said, "Maybe instead of studying how cats aren’t dogs (duh), they could actually study cats as cats." 

Why have I been so clear about the trouble with comparing cats to dogs and humans? Many of the studies I came across tried to fit cats in with or equate them with dogs. As you might imagine, the studies found that cats aren't like dogs. One study in specific, "Domestic Cats Do Not Show Signs of Secure Attachment to Their Owners," claimed that cats aren't securely attached to us like dogs are. They concluded that there wasn't evidence to support the interpretation that cats are securely attached to humans. I would like the highlight that there wasn't evidence to support that cats SHOW secure attachment to humans - not that it's absent entirely. What can be measured and seen does not equal reality. They were very clear however, that their operational definition of "attachment" was very precise - and was more than just an affectionate bond. Great. So cats aren't bonded to us as dogs are. I really want to make a smart-aleck remark about how cats aren't attached to us in the same way as fish - so clearly cats don't feel attachment if they don't bond with us as fish do. If that wasn't bad enough, a news article took it ten steps farther and claimed the study proves cats don't need us at all. WHAT?!?! Title of the article? "Cats do not need their owners, scientists conclude." I'm sorry, but I can't in good conscience include a link to the article. What does the first paragraph say? "Cats ... do not need their owners to feel secure and safe." WHOA! BIG DIFFERENCE. Do not need at all and do not need their owners to feel secure are two totally different things. Isn't it possible that they ARE securely attached, we just can't read the signs yet? Or maybe they don't show the attachment at all. It's just madness to try to fit cats in a dog sized hole. They are DIFFERENT SPECIES, with different domestication processes, different personalities, and different needs. To read more about these differences and irresponsible journalism, please visit my friend's article about those things, "When Popular Media Use Sensationalist Headlines to Report on Scientific Studies."

Besides observation, how do you study what cats feel? While cats might experience and express their emotions differently, their brain structures are similar to ours. By comparing a cat's brain to a human's - we can guess what the cat is feeling. Brain activity should be similar in the two species for the same emotion. At first, this strikes me as brilliant - but then I find we're back in the place where we compare cats to humans and that doesn't quite sit well with me. It seems like instead of trying to fit cats into human or canine matrices, we should construct their own. They can be very independent - so having their own matrix just makes sense, right? 

John Bradshaw, the author of Cat Sense, after years of study concluded that cats don't understand us the way dogs do. But they are also super-smart and learn what works with which person. Dogs recognize us as being different from themselves - and they change their behavior in our presence. Dogs act relatively different around other dogs than they do humans. Researchers haven't found specific cat behavior that indicates our cats see us as different from them. Around humans cats haven't adapted their social behaviors much. Instead, cats communicate with us as they do other cats. Oddly enough, his book Cat Sense is the one misquoted by the media with it being reported as him saying, "cats see humans as big, ugly, dumb cats," - the  incorrect conclusion that got me started on challenging the media's conclusions on scientific studies. Back to cats, below, I list the ways cats show us they love us - and you'll notice they are also the way cats communicate with each other. 

A study, "Social interaction, food, scent or toys? A formal assessment of domestic pet and shelter cat (Felis silvestris catus) preferences," tested which stimuli cats prefer. The preferred stimulus was the one with the highest proportion of interaction during the session. Of thirty-eight cats, 50% (19) preferred human interaction, 37% chose food (14 - not significantly statistically different in terms of the difference between the human interaction condition and the food condition), 11% (4) chose the toy, and 3% (1) chose smell as their preferred stimuli. The authors reiterate individual variability with cats - that instead of looking at an average to determine a single cat's preference, one should test the individual in question for a preference. And I agree that all cats might not even fit in the same construct. A cat's sociality is influenced by many factors - including biological predisposition and their life-time experiences (a feral cat for life isn't going to respond the same as a housecat for life); in many ways, feline sociality is more complex than sociality of pack-type animals like dogs. They posit that environmental enrichment can be improved and expanded by noting preferences of individuals. Interesting, in the human interaction condition, the cat's favorite way to interact with the human was through play. This makes me think that perhaps the way we meaningfully relate to cats is completely different than how we meaningfully interact with dogs or other humans. Either way, this study goes far to substantiate that cats are not all about instinct - but they they have social needs we don't give them credit for. And if the cat just wanted human interaction for what we give them (play, food, etc) - why would the cat prefer human interaction with those items when it could just save the trouble and chose the item individually? As an aside, I couldn't help but think how I'D react to the choice of stimuli. I'm embarrassed to admit I'd choose food. Maybe things aren't quite as simple as experts would have you believe.



How cats express love.If you've ever lived with a cat, you know the love of a cat is something very special - almost magical. While cats might not express love in the ways we're accustomed to from dogs and other people, there is nothing like the love of a cat - and to be the object of their affection is one of the best feelings in the world. Perhaps the best way to prove that cats love and need us is to show the ways they express those feelings. Cat people know the signs when they see them - but let's review how cats express their love for us. Amy Shojai wrote an excellent post on "How Cats Show They Love You," and while it's the main source of information in this section and I follow it closely, I found all of the signs mentioned in at least one other source in the course of my research. So there is at least some consensus that these are ways cats show us they love us. Amy Shojai shared that, in regard to playing, sometimes the cats even seek to control the  interaction by moving just out of our reach so we're forced to come to them. I believe they might also do this when they want our affections. 

*** Purring *** 
Purring is the pinnacle of cats expressing their love. While cats can also purr when scared or sick, the majority of your cat's deep rolling purrs are for you as a show of relaxation, contentment, and joy.

*** Meowing *** 
As cats grow up, they usually grow out of meowing at other cats. So the majority of vocalizations you hear from your cat are for you and for your benefit.

*** Bunting *** 
When your cat head-butts (gentle ramming of the top of the cat's head into your hand or head) you or brushes their cheeks (and scent glands) on you, they are marking you as theirs. Being owned by a cat is the highest of compliments.

*** Tail position/carriage *** 
If you've ever noticed you spend the majority of time with a cat butt in your face, that is affection and a carry over from kittenhood when they presented their mothers with their butts. Petting the base of a cat's tail often results in lifting his butt so your attention remains on the base of the tail. If your cat walks toward you..
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MK: Momma Kat
EM: Ellie Mae
BC: Bear Cat

As you might have noticed earlier this week, Momma's funny is broken and she's devoid of funny inspiration. We're working on another serious post for next week, but I want to do the topic justice and that will require more time. In the mean time, we owe Chewy a review on their Holiday Goody Box for cats. The pictures tell the most of the tail ... err ... tale ...

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Disclosure: We received Chewy's Holiday Goody Box for cats - for free in exchange for an honest review. Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat only shares information we believe would be of interest to our readers. The content is ours - Chewy in not responsible for the contents of this post. #ChewyInfluencer

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MK: Are you two ready?
EM: YEAH! What'd we get? What'd we get? And is there any tuna?
BC: Whatever.
MK: TADA!

BC: A box? Unless it's full of bazookas. tanks, and tasty whole chickens ... THIS is what you dragged me out of a nap dreaming about torties and crab cakes for? Momma, you really need to get out m ...
EM: WHOOOOOA! How did you know that this is EXACTLY what I want? You even got the right color! This is the best thing ever! Oh! I'm just try it ...

BC: She just has to make me look bad ...
{Pause}
EM: Oops. You got me a box that's not really a box for me? I don't think I'll fit ... and if I can't fit, I can't sit!

BC: But she manages to make herself look even worse ... you've never let not fitting stop you before! Look out! WIDE LOAD!
EM: This box isn't for me to sit ... it's a box full of ... 

BC: Stuff!
EM: YEAH! NOT tuna!
BC: That color makes your butt look even bigger ... no, wait. It has nothing to do with the color. Your butt really is that big!
{Pause}
EM: Wait just a minute ... I smell ... I smell ...

BC: FINALLY! Smellie admits it!
EM: AHA! Catnip!
MK: Get out of the box, Ellie!
EM: But ... but ...
MK: I need to take a picture of the contents of the box!

EM: But ... but ... I'M not part of the contents of the box! First you give me a box that's already full ... and THEN you take pictures of the stuff instead of pictures of me! I need a lap! That's the only thing that will make this better.
MK: It will only take a minute ...{Momma snaps away}. That's a good one ... now I just arrange the rest of this ...
EM: Maybe you didn't hear me ... but I NEED A LAP! The service is horrible around here!
MK: I'll be done in a minute, Ellie. Then you can have my lap.
EM: But ... but ... I found the catnip! I saw ... err ... got it FIRST! Can I have the catnip while I wait?
BC: Niphead. She's stupid even when she's not under the influence.

MK: Look at all this good stuff! Comfort Zone Calming Cat Diffusing Kit, Calm Paws Calming Collar, Solid Gold Triple Layer Cups in turkey and pumpkin, Ethical Pets Shimmer Balls, Inaba Churu Lickable cat treats, Weruva Slide n' Serve pouches in Lamb and Mackeral and ...


EM: XTREME CATNIP!
MK: Xtreme catnip.
EM: That's mine!
BC: Phht. Over my dead body. Chill out! Put on the calming collar! Hahahaha.
EM: Why don't you play with the Shimmer Balls? You know, since you don't have yours anymore.
MK: You two have tried the Weruva Slide n' Serve pouches in Lamb and Mackeral and neither of you touched it.
EM: We didn't eat it either.
BC: TOO. STUPID. TO. LIVE. TOO. STUPID. IT. HURTS.
MK: And we've tried the Royal Canin too. The chunks are kind of big. Bear wouldn't touch it - and Ellie just licked up what little gravy there was. As for the Triple Layer thing, Bear doesn't like pumpkin ... so this might be mostly a bust food-wise. I bet you'll love the lickable treats though - treats like that are the only ones I can depend on that you'll eat.

{Pause}
MK: Let's try the Royal Canin again. Not much gravy ... and almost too big chunks ... but the company has a great reputation. I find it kind of sketchy that there's no indication what meat these pouches contain ... poring over the list of ingredients didn't really impress me either.
{Momma sets down the plates for the cats}
BC: What's that?
MK: Food.
BC: What kind of food?
EM: {already eating} The yummy kind!

BC: That's a ringing endorsement ... you eat my barf.
EM: Surprisingly, our food tastes the same going down the second time ... well, except for the hair. I eat around that.
MK: Come on, Bear. At least TRY the Royal Canin?
BC: Phht. If I wouldn't eat it the first time ... the best thing I have to say for that food is that it doesn't have vegetables.

MK: PLEASE try it?
BC: What is it?
MK: FOOD!
BC: Yeah, but what kind?
MK: Give me a minute to look over the ingredients and I'll tell you.
{Pause}
BC: So much for a GOODY box. More like a BADDY box.
MK: Catnip?
BC: No thanks. I'm trying to avoid nips.
MK: NO! Not a drink or nip for cats ... CATNIP!
BC: Did you say catnip? Gimme!
{Pause}
BC: Oh, yeah. That's the good stuff! Even Smellie doesn't look as Smellie with this stuff!

EM: HEY!
{Pause}
BC: Oh, yeah. Right there. That's the spot.
 
{Pause}
BC: Come to papa, my sweet.
{Pause}
BC: I love you, catnip! I love you, carpet! I love I love I love ...
EM: Even me?
BC: Even you? You're not even, you're ODD! Hahahahaha.
EM: You were saying that you love everything. What about me?
BC: This stuff isn't THAT ... I just saw the cheese run away with the spoon!
EM: Did you say cheese?! For some reason I have the munchies all of a sudden! WHOA! There goes the neighborhood after the cheese! The big cheese indeed!
BC: If I just pretend she's not here ... not here ... not here ...
{Pause}
BC: Nope. This stuff is not THAT good.

MK: You two want to play with the balls?
EM: But Daddy said ...
BC: Eh. You've handled one ball, you've handled them all. Now bring me back that catnip!

EM: Momma said you have to share!
BC: Not if I get there first.
EM: HEY! Bear's hogging the catnip!
BC: Don't even think about it!

EM: But Momma said ...
BC: Phht. You know as well as I do that I never listen to her.
EM: MOMMA!!!

BC: MROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!
EM: {taking cover under the kitchen table} You have a really bad attitude problem!
BC: No. I have a really big sister problem. And the sister is even bigger than the problem.

{Pause}
BC: That sounded a whole lot better in my head.

BC: There's always an annoying critic.
EM: But I want the catnip! You have to share!
BC: As I was saying ...
MK: BEAR! Share with your sister.
BC: If I shared with my sister what I'd like to share with my sister, I'd be in big trouble.
MK: BEAR! Go to your shelf! It's your sister's turn with the catnip!
BC: Well, EXCUSE ME for telling the truth! Like I know what crawled up your butt and died! 
MK: Oh, boy. What fun it is to live with TWO cats.
EM: It's more fun than one, right, Momma?
BC: I don't think fun is the word she wants to use ...
MK: Chewy is easy to love: they have a wide selection of QUALITY pet products, freshness is guaranteed, and they offer fast shipping and easy returns on all orders. With orders over $49, one to two day shipping is FREE! After hearing so many bloggers talk about Chewy's fast shipping, I was eager to see the difference for myself ... and sure enough! FAST! Much faster than any other seller I've encountered. Though my favorite part is 24/7 customer service. How many times have I been up late at night shopping for cat supplies, had a question, but couldn't ask it because chat wasn't available?

Interested in trying Chewy's Holiday Goody Box for cats? Go visit Chewy and order a box for your favorite feline!

Wonder what we've thought about the other products we've reviewed as part of the Influencer program? To find our past reviews you may follow this tag: #ChewyInfluencer.
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Do owners take their cats to the veterinarian less often than their dogs?A few weeks ago, I took Bear Cat to the veterinarian for his yearly wellness visit and vaccinations. What struck me while there was that he was the only cat there! I can't remember the last time we saw another cat at the office; it's been YEARS!!! With my scientific background, I understand there could be a variety of reasons: people are taking cats to cat only veterinarians, the veterinarian tries to schedule cats at the same time and I called to request a certain day and specific time, I'm not in sync with other cat people who tend toward specific times of the week or day, our veterinarian's doggy daycare business is booming ... or the explanation that I fear. People just aren't taking their cats to the veterinarian as much as they are dogs.



I've seen various statistics on this - indicating people take cats to the veterinarian far less often than dogs. And to be honest, I understand not wanting to deal with the hassle to some extent. I dread taking my cats to the veterinarian. I hate shoving a cat in the carrier and trying to be sneaky about it. I hate that quite often, by the time I get the cat secured in the carrier, I'm out of breath and in need of a nap and a stiff drink. I dread the car ride with a very unhappy cat meowing the whole way. Not to mention the horrible feeling of betrayal I feel from the cat's reaction. I feel horrible when I see how scared my cats are when they're in the veterinarian's office. Any one of those reasons is enough to make those who share their lives with cats take pause. Err ... paws [sorry, couldn't resist].



So are people really not taking their cats to the veterinarian as often as they do dogs? An informal poll suggests that there might be something to my fears - though many of the people I asked reported that they see cats all the time when they take their cats in. But before we move on, let's be clear as to the question we're trying to answer. Are we asking if cats are being taken to the veterinarian at all? Or are we asking if the average dog is taken to the veterinarian more often than the average cat? The answer to one question might not equal the answer to the other. So I want to be clear that this discussion is relational. It's not whether cats are being taken at all - but why they might be taken less often than dogs in the same family. 



Breaking down the numbers.If you look at the disparity in veterinarian visits and average cost of those visits - you'll see that dogs ARE taken to the veterinarian more often and, on average, more money is spent on their medical care. 

Data from the U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics from 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook:  

  • The average number of cats per household is 2.1 
  • The average number of dogs per household is 1.6. 
  • But the average number of household vet visits show that those 2.1 cats are only taken to the vet 1.6 times a year. That means people aren't taking all their cats once a year. 
  • The average number of household vet visits for dogs is 2.6.
  • The yearly mean veterinary expenditure per dog is $227. The yearly mean veterinary expenditure per cat is $90.

Using those numbers:

  • FOR CATS: 1.6 [yearly vet visits per household for cats]/2.1 [the average number of cats in each household] = 0.7619 [yearly vet visits for each cat]. That means the average cost per visit for cats = 90 [yearly mean vet expense per cat]/.7619 [yearly vet visits for each cat] = $118.13.
  • FOR DOGS: 2.6 [yearly vet visits per household for dogs]/1.6 [the average number of dogs in each household] = 1.625 [yearly vet visits for each dog]. That means the average cost per visit for dogs = 227 [yearly mean vet expense per dog]/1.625 [yearly vet visits for each dog] = $139.69.

Yes. That means dogs are taken to the veterinarian an average of 1.625 times a year - and cats only .7619 times. Dogs are taken to the veterinarian twice as often as cats are! In regard to cost, the second set of calculations indicate that the higher yearly mean expenditure per dog is not simply due to higher costs for dogs. In fact, the average dog visit [$139.69] costs more than the average cat visit [$118.13] - but not enough to account for the $137 disparity in expenditures on veterinary care for dogs vs. cats per year. To read more about the issue and disparity in treatment between the species, Julie McAlee of Cats Herd You wrote an excellent post, Why Cats Visit the Vet Less Often than Dogs about the extent of the problem.



So let's speculate for a minute WHY people would not want to take their cats to the veterinarian. I already shared why I dread taking my cats to the veterinarian. To be honest, taking my cats in is one of the things I wait until the last minute on. I'm not proud of that - but the discomfort and unpleasantness of taking my cats does alter my behavior to a certain extent. I've always been lucky enough to have the resources to take my cats when they need it - but economics might be another reason people aren't taking their cats to the veterinarian. Dawn White from Lola The Rescued Cat just posted on Helping Pet Parents Avoid Economic Euthanasia. Economics are certainly an issue for some. Then again, they seem to take their dogs on a regular basis. Are dogs more valued in our society? Go to any pet store and you'll find the dog section is bigger than all the other sections (cats, fish, reptiles, rodents, etc) put together. Of course, they count on people bringing their dogs and hope for impulse buys with the dog's help. Are dogs more valued and held in higher esteem or is there something else going on? How do our perceptions of each species change how we treat them? Many people still believe the old wisdom that cats are self-sufficient and thus they require little from us. In fact, a recent study cited on Veterinary Practice News, 81% of people believe cats are self-sufficient. Is this mistaken belief why cats aren't being taken to the veterinarian as often as dogs? And when you don't really think about it, I suppose you can convince yourself that not taking one's cats makes sense. But really, what about cats makes people think that they'll survive with little care at all? Or that they don't suffer the same illnesses as humans and dogs do?




Cats get sick too.I can't tell you how many times I've been in a waiting room or area and I've had a conversation with someone who honestly doesn't know that cats get many of the same diseases we do. I've seen many shocked faces when I've talked about dental problems or cancer in cats: "They get that?" I believe part of the issue is in education. Not only do people think cats are self-sufficient, but they also lack the education to know how best to care for their cats. There's no formal training - no group for support like in obedience training. To a certain extent, each new cat person learns as they go on - with little information about the best way to go about it. And our cats suffer for it. What should we teach people? Cats get many of the same diseases we do? Prevention is key? What's certain is that being an indoor-only cat DOES NOT avoid disease. If you wait until a cat shows symptoms of not feeling good - it's often too late. Cats are masters at disguising their symptoms. A quick story - all of a sudden my cat, Kitty, couldn't stop vomiting. First thing the veterinarian noticed was that one of her fangs was seriously inflamed and the tooth needed to be extracted. I felt like such a horrible pet parent that it had gotten to that point - but cats are known for their ability to appear fine. Years later, by the time I realized she was hiding, it was too late and the veterinarian said there was nothing they could do. She was always a bit reclusive ... and a day or two can go by quickly without even thinking the cat is sick. I spoke about educating new owners - and Kitty is the perfect example. She was my family's first cat and there were so many things we just didn't know. In the end, she suffered for it and that weighs heavily on my conscience. I didn't know about cats hiding disease - or dental issues in cats - or how easily it is to develop hepatic lipidosis when the cat stops eating. I believe we can spare many of these first time owner mistakes just by taking the time to educate new owners on how to have healthy cats.



I believe educating people on the diseases and health problems cats get might be the first step toward a more cat-health-friendly society; I honestly believe many people just don't know and don't think about it. So, quickly, let's get specific about the problems cats often present with. I highly suggest you don't stop at the links included below - but look up and read about these conditions from other sources so you know what to look for. The earlier most illnesses are treated, the better the outcome. As you'll see in the links below, I highly recommend Cornell Feline Health Center for information on Feline Health Topics. A close second in terms of quality education is the AVMA or American Veterinary Medical Association. The best way to be a good cat owner is to arm one's self with information and education about best practices.

*** Parasites *** 
This is true even for indoor cats. Indoor cats are not immune to parasites - especially those carried in by other members of the household. Beyond fleas and ticks, worms (tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and heartworms) also take a toll on a cat if not treated adequately soon enough. When we adopted Ellie she had bloody diarrhea - an obvious problem. But when she tested positive again a year later - she wasn't having any obvious symptoms and we were shocked because she hadn't had symptoms for months. To read about our experience with worms, you can read Let's talk about ... WORMS?!? #ChewyInfluencer. For more information on problems with parasites: Gastrointestinal Parasites of Cats and Fleas: A Source of Torment for your Cat.



*** Dental issues ***
Tooth resorption is a common problem in cats. Bear in particular has struggled with losing his teeth to this process. His first extraction was when he was two and he's had several more dentals each with extractions. Anecdotally, it seems that by the time a cat reaches nine or ten, the owner finds the vet saying the cat needs an extraction. Time and time again, the person I'm speaking with is shocked. My father is a great example. He grew up on a farm - with lots of cats - and it took a lot of information to convince him that a cat's dental issues wouldn't just resolve themselves. The biggest difference between the farm cats and the cats we have today are lifestyle. Farm cats are always outdoor - which means they often don't live long enough to experience problems. It's also true that many farm cats are fed human scraps - instead of food specially formulated to provide for all of a cat's nutritional needs. We wrote a post about dental awareness awhile ago ... you may read it here: Watch Out For The Teeth! To read more about the dental diseases cats get: Feline Dental Disease.



*** Kidney disease ***
Kidney diseases are common - especially in older cats - and can take a toll on a cat'a quality of life. I actually had no idea that kidney issues are widespread among cats. It wasn't until I started blogging and meeting all kinds of cats from all over, that I heard about many of the cats I loved the most suffering and in the end dying from kidney issues. To read more about the most common kidney issue in cats ... Chronic Kidney Disease.

*** Cancer ***
Feline injection site sarcomas always top my list of things to worry about - but is relatively rare. Then again, when your cat is the one out of a thousand affected, it doesn't provide any comfort to find out it's rare. And these types of sarcomas tend to grow back and can be aggressive.To read about our sarcoma-scare: Too Close to a Nightmare I Couldn't Handle. To read more about cancer in cats ... Vaccines and Sarcomas: A Concern for Cat OwnersSquamous Cell Cancer: Dangerous, and Lymphoma.



*** Infections of the urinary or respiratory tract ***
These types of infections are common reasons cats are taken to the vet. One thing I've learned on a practical nature ... a cat peeing outside of the litter box should be checked immediately for a UTI. For more information on urinary or respiratory issues: Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease and Respiratory Infections.

*** Obesity ***
Both my cats are on the heavy-side. I believe that's due to free-feeding where they always have a bowl of food available to them. Being bored all day long, with nothing to do but eat ... I'd be obese too. Diabetes is related to this. Kitty had diabetes and while she lived many years with it, there were times when I wasn't sure I could handle and treat the issues. To read more about these issues, please read Obesity and Feline Diabetes.



*** Vomiting and/or Diarrhea ***

These aren't illnesses by themselves - though they could be life threatening in and of themselves - but symptoms of an underlying issue. The underlying issue could be something as relatively benign as a hair ball the feline is struggling to rid himself of - or much more serious like in the case of pancreatitis. Cats dehydrate easily and so any case of these symptoms for very long is an emergency. To read more on these issues: VomitingDiarrheaFeline Pancreatitis: Serious and Pancreatitis.


Other veterinary care-related issues.While not a health issue itself, vaccinations are also an integral part of keeping your cat healthy. Many municipalities require rabies shots - but there are so many more available. Because of the injection site sarcomas, vets are especially wary about unnecessary vaccinations and have found ways to do more with less. Speak with your vet - and don't second guess his or her advice. In the end, the relationship between owner and vet is the cat's best protection against illness. Making sure you see the vet on a regular basis fosters that relationship and gives the vet the information and tools he needs to best care for your cat.



Spay and neuter. And DO NOT declaw your cat. Spaying and neutering decreases the risk of certain cancers and also helps eliminate many behavioral issues that often end with the cat being surrendered to a shelter. As much as I want every cat to be adopted from every shelter, if your furniture is more important to you than your cat's well-being, you might just best leave them at the shelter. I've sensed a trend though I don't have numbers to support it. Cats who are valued so little as to be declawed aren't valued enough to keep - especially when they become inconvenient. Declawed cats are surrendered maybe more often that cats with claws. What does that tell you? The owner felt his furniture was more important than a cat being a cat. Doesn't it make sense that someone who cares so little for a cat that he has her declawed would also be the first to get rid of her at the slightest behavioral problem? Declawing has been associated with a wide variety of medical and behavioral issues. You would de-teeth your child if he couldn't stop biting, would you? I've written a heart-felt post about my family's experience when Kitty was declawed. To read that post: My paws have claws. City the Kitty is another amazing source of information on the horrors of declawing.




How often should I take my cat to the vet?
Most sources of veterinary information say you should take your cat to the vet one or two times a year - in addition to when they are having symptoms. This isn't true of kittens - which require more regular monitoring and vaccinations. Older cats might also require more frequent visits. Bear Cat is almost thirteen. I take him for a yearly wellness visit, blood screen, vaccinations, and fecal evaluation. In practice, he usually goes at least one more time a year when the need arises - so in effect, he sees the vet at least twice a year. Ellie is now considered a senior (when cats are seven) and I take her just as often as Bear. For older cats, yearly blood screens are easy way to detect problems before they get to a life-threatening point.



Last thoughts to consider.Cats suffer illnesses just as much as any other living being. Just because you don't see the struggle, doesn't mean it's not there. With both my cats' dental issues, I had no idea the problem was bad enough to affect how much they ate - and Kitty developed a secondary issue of hepatic lipidosis that we struggled with for the remaining six years of..
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The Boy: Momma's fiance
BC: Bear Cat
EM: Ellie Mae
MK: Momma Kat

The Boy: I don't know what about the right to bear arms confuses people.
BC: Umm ... I'm okay with bare arms ... as long as pants are worn. Pants are DEFINITELY required. But bare arms are actually better for me. My bite goes further than when Momma wears sweatshirts. I HATE WINTER! 
The Boy: What?
BC: Yes, I know. My arms and legs are always bared - but I have handsome stripe-y pants. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.
The Boy: I don't even know where to start. I'm referring to the Bill of Rights.
BC: A bill?!? Momma's going to be really ticked off! Last time I used her credit card, I got in big trouble! She doesn't know about ...
MK: Bear?!
BC: Nothing! You don't know about anything! No. Wait. Not you don't know about anything. You're smart - for a human anyway. You know a lot of things ... but I mean there's nothing I'm hiding. 
EM: What about ...
BC: SHHHHHHHHH! Then again, Momma, you don't know nearly as much stuff as I do ... being the fine specimen of intelligence that I am ... 
EM: And you never SHUT UP!
BC: Look who's talking! Isn't there a hot dog stand somewhere near here that you can knock over?
EM: You're usually the one that knocks stuff over. That doesn't sound nice. And I'm a nice cat. I don't want any part of your evil plans.
BC: No. See ... it means you rob the stand of all their hot dogs.
EM: That's still not ...
BC: They're not ACTUAL hot dogs! No. The hot dogs aren't real.
{Pause}
BC: I mean they are real - but they're not hot ...
{Pause}
BC: Now wait a minute ... they aren't dogs like in the animal. I mean, they're made of animals, just not dogs. And they are hot.
{Pause}
EM: COOL! Where's the nearest hot dog stand?

BC: If only it were that easy to get rid of her.
MK: Bear! Your sister will never be a little thief.
BC: Umm ... OBVIOUSLY. She'd be a HUGE one!
MK: I walked into that.
The Boy: He asked about the right to bear arms.
MK: You're going to regret this. By now, you should know better than entering into an intellectual conversation with Bear ... 
BC: Phht. If you call what he possesses intellect.
MK: I hear Ellie meowing. Bye!
EM: No, Momma! I'm right here!
MK: Err ... I have to go find something ...
EM: AWWWWW. I was really hoping for a lap.
MK: Come on. We'll cuddle on the bed.
BC: You humans have the right to bare your arms? Only a human would come up with that. What about the right to bare feet? Or bare knees? Leave it to humans to make arbitrary laws about arcane and inane things. It's like, "I'm a human. I like the sound of my own voice. Therefore I'm going to make up a bunch of nonsense laws to make myself feel powerful."
The Boy: That's not exactly what it means. Bear as in B-E-A-R ... not bare.
BC: Ooooooooooooh! Cool. So all Americans have the right to my arms? Somehow that makes even less sense. I don't really like being petted on my arms - but it's just like a human to think one has a right to them!
The Boy: What?
BC: The right to Bear's arms.
The Boy: NO! The right to bare ... I mean bear ... oh, never mind. It's called the Bill of Rights.
BC: Sheesh! Bill of Rights? I'm going to have to check those out. I'm going to have to look this up.
{Pause as Bear looks at Momma's computer and The Boy makes a hasty exit}
EM: {coming back out} I thought Momma said you're not allowed to use her computer.
BC: HEY! Those kitties were of legal age! Err ... well, maybe not the torties ... but every man has at least one weakness.
EM: Oh, brother.
BC: Me, what?
EM: You're my brother. And you're stupid.
{Pause}
EM: Bless your heart. I suppose you can't help it.
BC: Can't you see I'm busy? I'm learning important stuffs. 
EM: How to get your paws on a tank?
BC: Well, now that you say it ... I'll look that up next.
{Pause}
BC: No, wait. I'll do that first ... search ... buy a tank ...
{Pause}
BC: WHAAAAAAAT?!?!? The cheapest tank is over ninety thousand dollars! QUICK! Check Momma's purse. Surely she wouldn't miss so little money ...

EM: OH! SCORE!!!
BC: I knew this would be good! How much money is in there?
EM: A tuna treat! In the bottom of Momma's purse!
BC: I wouldn't eat that if I were you.
EM: Why not?
BC: {chewing} Because I am. What do you have in your piggy bank?
EM: Our wet food treat.
BC: NO! MONEY!
EM: Why would I eat money?
BC: {sigh} How much money do you have?
EM: I don't have any money.
BC: Then how am I going to buy a tank?
EM: What would you do with a tank?
BC: Run over stuff.
EM: You don't think that'll get old?
BC: Do you know me at all?
EM: I see. You using your claws and fangs never gets old. I think maintenance would cost more than the tank itself.
BC: Maintenance?
EM: It takes a lot of work to maintain a tank.
BC: WHAT?!? So now you are the resident expert on tanks? Let me tell you how to maintain a tank - whack it if it even looks at you funny. RESPECT.
EM: Yes, my brother ... the only cat stupid enough to fight his own ninety-thousand dollar tank.
BC: Phht. Tanks don't have fangs and claws. BOO-YAH.
EM: Umm ... you do realize tanks are heavy metal that you can't just bite through?
BC: Look at you, genius tank expert. 
{Pause}
BC: NOT. Besides, The Boy said we have the right to bear arms. Then again, I might just not understand the human nonsense. But a right to bear arms? Like a tank. Or a bazooka! I wonder if bazookas are more economical. New search ... buy a bazooka ...
EM: You're going to get in BIG trouble if Momma catches you! You'll be grounded FOREVER if the FBI knocks on our door tomorrow morning because of your searches.
BC: It's not like I'm looking into how to blow up a building ... hmmm ... 

{Pause as Bear thinks}
BC: Yet. That's another good one. Too bad I didn't think of that before my yearly vet visit. I should write this list down so I don't forget. Also include, "how to get rid of pests."
EM: Don't you think a tank or bazooka is a bit too far?
BC: Every self-respecting cat should have a bazooka for self-defense. Bazookas are WAY cheaper than tanks! I'd say every self-respecting cat should have a tank too - but it's not really attainable by the masses. 
EM: Thank goodness for that.
BC: As I said ... every SELF-RESPECTING cat. You're not exactly included in that category.
EM: I thought your first goal was to buy a tasty whole chicken farm.
BC: Priorities, Smellie. Priorities.
EM: I have priorities! 
BC: What? Laps? Food?
EM: And other stuff.
BC: Like what?
EM: I don't have to tell you.
BC: CHICKEN CANNON!
EM: Excuse me?
BC: How to buy a chicken cannon ...
EM: I really think running these searches is a bad idea.
{Pause as Bear notices a wand toy moving in front of his face}
BC: OOH! I've got it! I've got it! Wait ...
{Pause}
BC: Phht! NICE TRY. Distract me from my important business. Can't you see I'm busy! Get that thing out of my face or your face will look like that wand toy.

EM: I'm just trying to keep you out of trouble!
BC: I'm BAD TO THE BONE. No one keeps Bear Cat Kat out of trouble.
MK: {walking back into the room} Bear?
BC: Err ... except for her. No. Wait. She's the source of all my troubles. Err ... I mean she's the source of all my troubles about my trouble. And she's got eyes in the back of her head. I hope she doesn't see ...

MK: BEAR CAT KAT! 
BC: RATS! I didn't do it!
MK: You didn't search for ...
{Pause as Momma reads}
MK: BUYING A TANK?!?!
BC: Err ... that I did. But I didn't buy one!
MK: You know you're not allowed to use my computer.
BC: Sheesh. A cat changes the screen saver ONE time! Err ... and the wallpaper. Oh. And the e-mails. They even let you out of the contract to buy the tasty whole chicken farm! No permanent damage ... err ... yet.
MK: {sigh} Some battles just aren't worth fighting. Leave my settings alone and don't change anything! OH! I have to remember to clip Bear's claws tonight.
BC: I don't think so. The Boy said as an American, I have the right to bear arms. Tell her! Tell her!
The Boy: The Bill of Rights doesn't apply to cats.
BC: WHAT?! Who made up that nonsense? We OWN this country! This is just a ploy to keep good cats down!

The Boy: Sorry. The second amendment protects people.
BC: So which amendment protects cats?
The Boy: Err ... none of them.
BC: Humans require protections only because they are too stupid to keep themselves out of trouble.
{Pause}
BC: Let me tell YOU ... cats get things right the FIRST TIME. We don't need any of this amendment crap. Much less TWO - how many more are there?
The Boy: Eight.
BC: That's a whole lot of ...
The Boy: It's not the same amendment amended ten times. Each amendment is different.
BC: Oh, yeah! FANCY PANTS. FINE! I'll make our OWN bill of rights that will put yours to shame! Who better than a cat to elucidate the truths and rights of our time?
{Pause}
BC: Leave me. My brilliance needs space to blossom and create works of great value.
The Boy: You don't have to ask ME twice! {walking away} Now where did Momma and Ellie go?
BC: Hmmm ... first I should check the original. What did The Boy call them again? Something about bill and rights.
{Pause}
BC: THERE IT IS! Bill of Rights! Hmmm ... this could use some work. I'll just get started ... 
{An hour passes as Bear types feverishly to "correct" the American Bill of Rights}.
BC: {stopping for a minute} Hmmm ... I don't really know how to ... WAIT! I'm a cat! I have to be right! So change that ... and add this ... It's a tough job. But some cat has to do it. Show the humans how to do a bill of rights right!

{Pause}
BC: Hahahahaha. A bill of rights that's right!
{Pause}
BC: TADA! Momma? The Boy? SMELLIE?!? Where did every one go?!?

{Pause}
BC: WHERE ARE THEY?!? My masterpiece is complete! I'm ready to rock and roll ...
{Pause}
BC: Well ... after a well-deserved nap. They'll thank me later.

To be continued ... stay tuned for the presentation and discussion of Bear's Bill of Rights with the tyrants ... err ... humans!

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Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat by Momma Kat And Her Bear Cat - 3w ago
BC: Bear Cat
EM: Ellie Mae
MK: Momma Kat
Vet tech: Vet tech at our veterinarian's
Vet: Veterinarian

BC: {grooming himself} You're ONCE! TWICE! THREE TIMES A TORTIE! And I loooove ...
EM: {thinking to herself} Great. He's singing in the shower. AGAIN. I don't feel bad at all to interrupt ...
{Pause}
EM: Psst!
BC: Who?
EM: YOU!
BC: ME!?!?
EM: Do you see any other YOUS around here?
BC: Now that you mention it ...
EM: Don't look, but there's some kind of monster behind you.
BC: {GASP} {GULP} {whispering} What kind of monster?
EM: The really mean kind!
BC: With lots of sharp teeth and sharp claws?
EM: How'd you know?
BC: I KNEW it! My luscious loins are coveted across the universe. Wait ... Momma clipped my claws last night! I can't defend myself!
EM: I think you should run.

BC: Good idea.
{Pause}
BC: {running} AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
{THUNK!}
BC: It hit me! That's IT! This is war. I dare you to hit me again!
EM: {thinking to herself} Or you ran into the wall ...
BC: {running} AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! {running back the other way} AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
{Pause}
BC: {taking a break to catch his breath} Is it {HUFF} {PUFF} {HUFF} still behind me?
EM: I can't look!
BC: Is it that bad?
EM: RUN!!!!!
BC: {running} AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! HEEEEEEEEEEEEELP! HELP! Is it off ...
{THUNK!} 
BC: Whatever this is, it's got a mean right hook! Shake it off. Shake it off.
EM: {thinking to herself} Or you ran into the wall again genius ... no wonder you're "special."
BC: {running} AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! {ricocheting off the couch} {running} AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
{Pause}
BC: {taking a break to catch his breath} Is it {HUFF} {PUFF} {HUFF} {PUFF} {HUFF} still behind me?
{Pause}
BC: Wait a MINUTE! Why aren't YOU running from the evil monster? You're not afraid of the monster? It could eat you! Then again, you're not nearly as tasty as I ....
{Momma snatches Bear}
BC: PUT ME DOWN! THE MONSTER'S GOT ME! THE MONSTER'S GOT ME! Get Momma! And my lawyer! And Momma's lawyer! And HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLPP!
MK: Relax, Bear. It's just me.
BC: YOU'RE the monster?
MK: Yep.
EM: Hahahahahaha. You should see the look on your face!
{Momma sets Bear down in the carrier and then quickly zips it up}
BC: HEY! You never said anything about prison! LET ME OUT!!!!! I swear! Let me out or I'm going to total this carrier and anyone touching it!

MK: That was a good idea, Ellie. Tire him out from running so I can grab him and put him in the carrier.
BC: WHAT!?!? SMELLIE is behind this? I'm not going to forget this! I'm going to kill you once! And then again ... for effect! LET ME OUT OF HERE!
MK: Sorry, Bear. Time for your yearly check up.
BC: I KNEW IT! Momma was stalking my poop for a week! I should've known she's not making litter castles - but looking for poop to bring with me.
EM: Because you're not enough poop yourself? You don't have enough poopy ideas?
BC: HEY! Now don't act like your poop doesn't ...
{Pause}
BC: HEY?!? Why isn't Smellie coming?
MK: She had her yearly six months ago. Now it's your turn.
BC: That's so un ... wait. That's good!
EM: Huh?
BC: When Smellie goes she complains and talks the whole time. She tries to drown me out and I can't get a word in edgewise! But don't think this lets you off the hook, Smellie! I'm going to rearrange every part of you until your teeth stick out your butt!
MK: All right. Time to go.
BC: Put me down!!! I REALLY REALLY HATE YOU! This is the LAST straw! And Smellie's going to pay!
EM: BITE ME! Oh! Right. You can't. Because you're in a carrier going to the vet! Hahahaha.

{Momma closes the front door}
BC: Is it my imagination or is she getting worse? Taunting me?!?
MK: Alright, buddy. Let's strap you in.
BC: Momma? Why are we going so slow?
MK: Because I haven't started the car yet.
BC: RATS! I was hoping this was almost over. They should have a drive through vet - cats and dogs don't even have to get out of their cars!
MK: Alright. Off we ...
BC: Momma? Why are we going so slow? At this rate, it's going to take fifteen minutes to get there!
MK: It always takes us fifteen minutes.
BC: WHAT?!?!
MK: We're not even out of the neighborhood.
{Five minutes pass}
BC: Why are we stopping? Are we there yet?
MK: People are crossing the street.
BC: Well, just run them over! Show them not to get in a two thousand pound vehicle's way.
MK: Bear, that's not very nice ...
BC: I'M A CAT! I don't DO nice! Now run them over so we can get this whole thing over with!
{Pause}
BC: Are we there yet?
MK: No. We stopped for a red light. 
BC: I thought this was a DRIVE in a CAR not a STOP. More driving and less stopping!
MK: Bear, there are rules of the road that I have to follow.
BC: Says who?
MK: The police!
BC: Let me at 'em. I'll set them straight.
MK: That's kind of what I'm afraid of.
BC: One hasn't really lived until he gets a Bear smack-down. Are we there yet?
MK: A few more minutes.
{Pause}
MK: That will seem like an eternity because ...
BC: HEY! You went around a turn there!
MK: I thought you wanted to get there faster.
BC: You forget you clipped my claws so I have nothing to use to hang on!
MK: Oh, for ... fifteen minutes is TOO LONG!
{Pause}
MK: We're HERE!
BC: REALLY?! I couldn't tell ... you know, since the car stopped moving.

{Momma and Bear walk in the front door}
MK: Hi. Bear Cat Kat for the vet.
BC: I'm going to #@$% your *&@% so good, you won't know which end is @(!*% up!
{Pause}
BC: Why does it smell like dog?
{A dog barks twice}
BC: Oh, that's just *#&@ing GREAT! I dare you to come anywhere near my carrier punk! I'll rearrange your ...
Vet tech: Let's go to room two. You have a lot to say, handsome.
BC: Phht. You should hear my sister! She's always talking and I can't get a word in edgewise!
Vet tech: Would you have really fought that dog?
BC: You better believe ...
MK: He has no problem antagonizing a dog from the safety of his carrier - but it's a different story when he's face to face.
BC: HEY! I'm not scared of ANYTHING! Put me in a room with that *^*@ dog and I'll %*!& him up!
{The dog barks from the other room}
BC: GREAT! Just like my sister! The dog never shuts up!
{The vet tech giggles}
BC: GREAT! I have Giggles McGiggly as a vet tech.
Vet tech: Let's get a weight on this handsome boy. {picking Bear up} Oh, my. You're a big boy!
BC: That's what my girlfriends say! I have a lot of those!

Vet tech: I'm sure you do.
BC: My Momma calls me her Handsome Stripe-y Pants.
Vet tech: Okay. Got a weight.
BC: WAIT?!?! Wait what?
MK: W ... E ... I ... G ... H ... T. She got your weight.
Vet tech: And you're a BIG boy!
{Pause}
BC: Wait a ... you're referring to my WEIGHT and not my masculine prowess? Let me tell YOU something Giggles McGiggly ... you have no room to talk about how big I am when you have a bigger doughnut butt than my Momma! And that's saying something!
MK: BEAR CAT KAT!
Vet tech: Don't worry. I'm used to grumpy cats. They just don't like the vet.
BC: Wait wait wait wait wait ... McGiggles IS the vet?!? I'm SCREWED!
{Pause}
BC: For your information, I'm always like this. But you shove me in a tiny box to go to a place where I'm called a big boy and where you poke and prod me all up in my grill and insult me and disrespect me and I'm supposed to NOT be grumpy?
Vet tech: You say your sister talks a lot? Genetics.
BC: Well, she's not ACTUALLY my sister. Nope. That would be extra annoying. Not to mention I'd have to scrub my DNA with lots of bleach. If you met my sister, you'd understand.
Vet tech: Black cat? Floofy tail? I remember her! She's pretty. I think her name was Ellie?
BC: Actually, it's SMELLIE. I bet you said she was a big girl too. Because let me tell you ... she's the size of a rhinoceros. And she never shuts up.
Vet tech: So you've said. The vet will be in in a moment.
BC: I swear. Everyone is so talkative and I can barely get a word in edgewise. And I'm SMART when I talk! I don't drivel on about ...
Vet: {walking into the exam room} Well, aren't you a big handsome boy!
BC: WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP SAYING THAT?!?! You're not exactly thin yourself!
MK: BEAR!
Vet: He certainly isn't missing any meals.
BC: Say that again to my face and ...

Vet: How's he doing?
BC: HELLO! I'm right HERE! And I talk, Dimwit! Isn't that what we're here to find out? I mean, if my Momma knew I was doing well, she wouldn't need you!
Vet: No, I'm trying to see if your Momma noticed any problems.
BC: Let's see ... problems. I have a stupid sister that never shuts up. A Boy who insists we're friends. And a Momma who crams me into a tiny box to drag me here! It took FOREVER to get here because my Momma drives like a turtle.
MK: I went five over the speed limit the entire way!
BC: As I said, she drives slow. And Giggly McGiggles here insulted me! Oh, and she tried to pass herself off as the vet! You better watch out ... she's after your job. So what can you do about my problems? I'm all ears.
MK: Would you prefer I get pulled over? Then you can hang out in the car for another fifteen minutes.
BC: Phht. I'd tell the police you cat-napped me. Then he'd haul you off to jail and I'd get a tasty whole chicken buffet. Do cops use bazookas? Or tanks? Because that just seems like a match made in ... heck, I'll get arrested if it means I get access to bazookas and tanks.
{Pause}
BC: HEY! Watch it! I don't like you like that! That's my unmentionables! Let me stick that up your butt!
{Pause}
BC: HEY! Stop poking me or I'll @#(* you up!
MK: It's okay, Bear. You're almost done.
BC: I love my Momma. She's not much to look at ... she can't cook ... she can't sing ... you should see her dance ... and she often won't shut up ... and you'd better stay out of her butt trajectory when she sits down ... but she's mostly a good Momma. She brushes my teeth and clips my claws. Let me tell you ... she's got HIGH. PAIN. TOLERANCE.
Vet: I told her to brush your teeth because you have a genetic proclivity to ...
BC: So you didn't tell her to clip my claws?
Vet: No.
BC: BUSTED!
MK: Oh, for crying ...
BC: Bad Momma! BAD!

MK: If you didn't use them, I wouldn't have to clip them!
BC: I wouldn't use them if you didn't clip them.
Vet: Err ... I'll just give you two a minute of privacy ...
BC: Phht. You can just tell her the truth - that's she's being completely irrational!
Vet: {closing the door behind him} Bye.
BC: Look what you did! You scared the vet away! Now I won't get home any time before Smellie's raid on our food bowls.
MK: Bear ... I swear sometimes ... you're just such a ... a ... CAT!
BC: Ooooooh. That one hurt. You're a person!
{Pause}
BC: No, wait. What I said was actually an insult.
MK: But you're my Handsome Stripe-y Pants.
BC: I do have pretty handsome stripe-y pants, don't I?
MK: I love you, Bear.
BC: Save it for a few hours from now when I'm no longer mad at you.
MK: Deal.

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Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat by Momma Kat And Her Bear Cat - 1M ago
BC: Bear Cat
EM: Ellie Mae
MK: Momma Kat
The Boy: Momma's fiance

EM: Stupid couch ate my sparkle ball! It's not that easy to get rid of ... {in a deeper voice} ELLIE-VADER!
BC: {in the other room} Like there's anything scary about an elevator. I hope Momma gets home soon. There are only so many days I can take a bunch of Dweebles and their inane dweeble-ness.
{Pause}
BC: {in the other room} Or is that dweebility? Hahahahahaha. Whatever one calls it ...
EM: AHA! I've got you now ... oh, NUTS!
BC: {in the other room} How nice it would be to not have to listen to Smellie's hunting saga every day ... I feel stupider than I was when Momma left ... at least when Momma's home, Smellie spends part of the day snuggling with ...
{Pause}
BC: PERFECT! It shouldn't be THAT hard. I tune Momma out all the time!
EM: I CAN'T GET MY SPARKLE BALL!!! THIS IS A DISASTER! Am I going to be sparkle-ball-less for the rest of my life?! I can't stand it! I can't live without my ... MOUSIE! Are you ready to crumble?
BC: {from the other room} I don't have the wherewithal to explain everything to her. Some cats are just born stupid ... and are hopeless to ever not be stupid. RUMBLE, stupid! RUMBLE! And you don't sound tough at all!
EM: Whatever. I'm schooling this mousie!
BC: {from the other room} Like you schooled your sparkle ball?
EM: Unfortunate accident. Danger comes with the job.
BC: The only danger around here is your stupidity.
EM: Silly mousie. You can't get away from the Ellie-Vader. I'm coming after you, you brazen hussy-mousie!

{Pause}
EM: I'm not your father, mousie ... but I can still spank you.
BC: {from the other room} I hate when she gets like this. There's no living with her. Hmmm ... come to think of it, there's no living with her at any other time either!

EM: BOO-YAY! I got you now, mousie!
BC: {from the other room} I give up. Besides, I actually like BOO-YAY better. BOO-YAY Momma!
{The front door opens}
BC: WHOA!
EM: YAY! Momma's ho ...
{Pause as Ellie sees what Momma sets down}

EM: HUH? What's THAT?
BC: {from the other room} What's what?
EM: ANOTHER CAT!
MK: BEAR?!?! Where are you? Don't you want to come and say hello to your Momma?
BC: {in the other room} PHHT. OBVIOUSLY NOT. Let her sweat a little ... let her think I left HER! HMPH! Suits her right. Another cat. As if Smellie doesn't count as three.
MK: {walking into the room Bear's in} Bear? BEAR?!?
{Momma gasps}
MK: You unstuffed the comforter again!
BC: Maybe she's not really here and if I close my eyes she'll go away ...

{Pause}
MK: BEAR! I know you're not asleep and are just ignoring me!
BC: RATS! Where are the abducting aliens when one needs them.
{Pause}
BC: You're home early ... err ... I didn't do it. I was just laying here and FLOOF!, the fluff burst out of the comforter! I almost died!
EM: Really?! Because I could've sworn your paw was in the hole.
BC: Err ... I was staunching the flow of fluff?
EM: No, you weren't! I ...
BC: You're REALLY NOT helping! 
MK: BEAR! You are in so much trouble!
BC: You left me here ... with THEM! You owe ME an apology! And quite possibly hazard pay. Oh! And a tasty whole chicken and a bazooka!
MK: This isn't Christmas, Bear.
BC: YOU'RE GOING TO GET ME A TASTY WHOLE CHICKEN AND A BAZOOKA FOR CHRISTMAS?!?
MK: That got out of hand quickly.
BC: YOU BROUGHT HOME ANOTHER CAT!
MK: You destroyed my comforter!
BC: It's not DESTROYED when you can just stuff all the fluff back in the comforter.
MK: Why don't you come and see what I brought home?
BC: Unless it's a bazooka, a tasty whole chicken, or a tank ... NO THANKS.
EM: Bear, you better come look at this!
BC: {walking down the hall} I have to do everything around ... {GASP} ...
{Pause}
BC: What the ... YOU DIDN'T TELL ME IT'S A REAL CAT!
{Pause}
BC: Put 'em up! Put 'em up so I can mop the floor with you.
{Silence}
BC: Don't you arch your back at me! And wipe that stupid smile off your face! I'll teach you proper respect.
EM: They say that those who can't do, teach. 
BC: I'll teach you a thing or two.
EM: Like you know about respect.
BC: I know what it's not!
EM: This cat. If you really thought it was real you wouldn't be antagonizing it, you'd be under the bed like when I came to live here.
BC: I DID NOT hide under the bed.
EM: Sir Hisses-a-lot.
{Pause}
BC: {back to focusing on the invader} What?! Cat got your tongue? Hahahahaha. Get it? You're a cat ... you're not saying anything ...
{Pause}
BC: She doesn't talk much. THE. PERFECT. SIBLING. Or maybe she's even dumber than Smellie ... wanna fight?
{Momma's drops her bag and startles Bear}
BC: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLP!
EM: Mr. Tough Pants strikes again! 

BC: It's going to kill me! It's going to kill me!
EM: We wouldn't be so lucky.
BC: Oh, shut up!
EM: WHAT IS THAT?! It looks like a cat but doesn't smell like one.

BC: Smellie ... always with her nose in other cats' business.
EM: I didn't ask you!
BC: Oddly enough ... more of a cat than my sister. This one's got a backbone and is pretty hard-headed.

EM: Ha ... ha ... ha. Very funny.

BC: Another black cat.
EM: I'm being replaced?
BC: If that's the case ... thank the kitty gods because this one is quiet and not annoying.
MK: It's not alive.
BC: You prove my point.
EM: But ... but ...

BC: Now you know what happened to Momma's LAST black cat. Hahahahaha.
EM: You're kidding, right? I mean, she wouldn't ... she couldn't ...
BC: The cat got your tongue too! I like this!
EM: But ... but ... I'm so much prettier than this cat! And my tail is so much more luxurious! Nope. I'm not scared of this impostor one bit. It better stay away from my sparkle balls!
BC: You two can start a black cat club and do black cat things.
EM: Black cat things?
BC: And braid each other's fur and sing songs ...
EM: And play with sparkle balls? Because I'm NOT sharing my sparkle balls.
BC: Maybe.
EM: A best friend?!? I've always wanted a best friend. Best friends are the best things ever! We could stay up all night ...
The Boy: You already stay up all night!
EM: Did I ask you? NO! I'm planning my sleep-overs with Rhonda.
The Boy: WHO?
BC: You're going to regret asking.
EM: My new best friend! She's not very cuddly but I don't hold that against her.
{Pause}
EM: {GASP!} She's hiding a sparkle ball! That's IT! No more nice cat!
MK: Come on, Ellie. You can be friends.
EM: Nope. Over my dead body.
BC: OOOOOOOOOOOH! Promise?

EM: HMPH! 
BC: The black invader and the Ellie-Vader find themselves at odds.
MK: Food time?
BC: As long as I don't have to share with HER!
EM: HEY! I'm hungry too!
BC: I wasn't talking about you!
EM: REALLY?!?!
BC: Yes.
{Pause}
BC: No.
{Pause}
BC: Err ...
EM: You LIKE me! All it took was a third cat to chase you into my arms.
{Pause}
EM: Err ... paws.
BC: SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Don't give Momma any ideas! Unless you WANT to share our food bowls, litter boxes, and toys with another real cat.
EM: You're RIGHT! Nope. We have the perfect house as it is ...
BC: Well, I wouldn't go THAT far ...
EM: No siblings for us. No siblings to play with.
MK: What are you talking about, Ellie?
EM: How I don't want another cat around here.
MK: Who said anything about another cat?
BC: SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
MK: Okay. Who wants to go first?
BC: ME! ME! PICK ME!
EM: Umm ... HE ALWAYS GETS TO GO FIRST!
{Momma whips out the claw clippers}
BC: THAT WAS A DIRTY TRICK! I'll have you know I won't take this sitting down. Or standing up. Or upside down. Or flying. NOPE!
EM: Never mind. Better him than me.
MK: Come on, Bear ...
BC: PUT ME THE @*&^ DOWN YOU *)@#% OR I'LL &@%$! YOUR *^&# UP!
{Momma continues to clip Bear's claws as he curses her out and she lets a couple choice words flow herself}
MK: Bandages are on. Ellie's turn.
EM: Moooooommma! And to think I was happy you were home!
MK: If you don't fight me, this goes much faster.
EM: I'm really really mad at you! I'm saying some really bad words in my head right now! I'm ... I'm ... just SO MAD at you!
BC: Tell her how you really feel.
EM: Oh, SHUT UP!

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