Cambrian: Opinion

Harmony’s musical kittens make Melody a happy mom

Melody, the mother.
Melody, the mother.

What do you call a cat that comes from the town of Harmony? Why, Melody, of course. And what do you name her five kittens? How about Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So? And so it happened for the five kittens recently relinquished to HART, along with their mother, Melody.

The backstory: Surprised when an obviously pregnant, unknown cat followed one of their cats into the house, a Harmony family surmised that the nameless stranger (later dubbed Melody) had been abandoned, an all-too-often occurrence in outlying areas of the county.

The family described the refugee, whom they dubbed Melody, as friendly with both people and ranch animals, including dogs, and more notably, chickens. After Melody’s kittens were born and later out and about, the family decided that a ranch was not the safest place for a wandering litter of curious kittens, and with humane forethought brought them to HART, where the kittens were immediately christened Do, Re, Mi, Fa and So, to the delight of many.

Melody, an all-black cat, bore five tuxedo-marked kittens, four males and one female. All are good-natured and available for adoption, excluding So, already living in a new home, and Fa, who has been reserved for adoption.

Rumor has it that an upbeat tune, “Melody’s Song,” is now in the works, with lyrics to include the terms “unconditional love,” “limitless pets,” “food on demand” and “deferential staff.” While unconfirmed, the sentiment is exactly what HART desires for all its adopted cats, musical or not.

Cat-astrophic surgery

People often think of declawing as a remedy for undesirable scratching: a simple surgery to remove a cat’s nails, much like a fingernail trim. This is a misinformed belief. Declawing is a surgical procedure that consists of amputating the last bone (distal phalanx) on each of the cat’s toes. On a human being, it would be similar to cutting off the end of each finger at the knuckle. The surgery causes extreme pain, can cause lifelong problems, and as a result may cause even more undesirable behaviors.

If your cat’s behavior includes troublesome scratching, there are ways to manage the challenge.

▪  Trim your cat’s claws regularly. Start when s/he is a kitten. Try giving treats after the trimming to make it a more positive experience.

▪  Place scratching posts/structures in varied spots around your home. Different materials such as sisal, wood, and cardboard may attract your cat. If your cat likes catnip, rub it on the scratching structures. Try both vertical and horizontal forms.

▪  Try soft plastic caps (e.g., Soft Paws®) that are glued to the cat’s nails. Be sure to check with your vet before using.

▪  Apply removable “sticky” tape (e.g., Sticky Paws®) to favored, unapproved scratching surfaces. Many cats will avoid them.

The following sites provide further information on declawing and how to manage inappropriate cat behavior, and offer more tips for living peacefully with your cat:

▪  The Humane Society of the United States: www.humanesociety.org, which provided information for this article on declawing in “Declawing Cats: Far Worse Than a Manicure,” www.humanesociety.org/ animals/cats/tips/ declawing.html.

▪  The ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org.

Pet Topics appears on the first Thursday of the month quarterly and is special to The Cambrian.

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