DEAR JOAN: I recently adopted a 10-year-old kitty whose owner died. Muffin has adjusted well, but I am surprised by one of her eating habits.
With wet food -- any kind, any brand -- she licks all of the sauce off, but barely, if at all, eats the meat or fish. A friend says his cat does the same.
Our cats of old always scarfed everything down. Is she picky? Should I just make her some gravy and let the dry food be her main nutrition?
DEAR NANCY: I absolutely adore cats, but I think they all have a little OCD.
I had a friend whose 20-year-old cat ate the same dry food without a problem every day of his life. Then the company changed the shape of the food -- not the recipe, just the shape -- and the cat refused to eat it.
I suspect Muffin was never a canned food sort of cat, so she doesn't really care for it. However, the gravy is tasty and likely has the most flavor in it, so she'll have that.
If she will eat dry food, I'd try her on that. The money that you save on expensive canned food can be used to buy a higher quality of dry food. Just be sure she also has plenty of water with her meals.
DEAR JOAN: As with the rest of the Bay Area, we in Rodeo and West Contra Costa have a terrible feral cat problem. I'm responsible for a colony at my home of up to 30 cats.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that we have so much open space around us. In the past five years I have trapped babies, domesticated them, gotten them adopted and tried to trap the adults. I have only been able to get them spayed or neutered one at a time and it's very costly for me. But the best way is to trap them all at once and make sure you get them all.
Recently I found a group called Outcast Cat Help. Julie Linford is the director and the website is www.outcastcat.org.
Julie has been a lifesaver. She and a volunteer came and set traps all around my house and the house next door. For two weeks we fed them in the traps to get them used to it. Then they trapped 39 cats over a three-day period. Julie took them to Martinez Animal Hospital where they were spayed, neutered and microchipped. This was all paid for by Outcast Cat Help.
When ready, they brought the cats back and released them, and come spring, there will be no new babies from these cats.
Julie and Martinez Animal Hospital deserve a lot of credit for what they are doing. Although I have been making regular donations to another animal rescue group, I feel Julie right now is more deserving and I want to get as much help for her and her work as I can.
I'd like to engage your help through your column to gain support, donations and publicity for the tremendous job she is doing. The website tells of things they need besides money.
Thanks for any help you can give us.
DEAR CAROL: I'm always pleased to be able to spotlight the good works of good people, and Outcast Cat Help certainly qualifies on both counts.
This is a time of giving and I know we're all stretched pretty thin, but if you've a mind to help out somewhere, I'm sure Outcast Cat Help, as well as other organizations, would be appreciative.
Outcast Cat Help is operated completely by volunteers -- no paid workers at all.
I've also added the group to our evolving list of animal organizations, which you'll find at www.mercurynews.com/pets-animals.
Contact Joan Morris at email@example.com; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.