Dear Pet Lady,
Though a lot of people hold the belief that some cats just drool for no particular reason (in much the same way that some people walk around with their mouths hanging open and others don't), excessive drooling in cats [see The Pet Lady, Aug. 1] is usually a sign of irritation or disease. A drooling cat is more analogous to a person with a runny nose than a slack-jawed oaf. If the drool is "thick" and "stinky," it sounds even more like a health problem. The most common cause of chronic drooling in cats is a food allergy (same food every day; same drool every day; the owner assumes, incorrectly, that his cat's just a drooler and there's nothing to be done about it). Infection and liver disease are other possibilities.
Granted, this isn't your reader's problem, since it's not her cat. Still, it should probably see a vet.
DEAR MARTY SMITH,
In her fit of pique over a visiting feline at the Pet Manse, the P.L. was remiss in failing to suggest that dear reader S.B. pin a note to her own cat visitor directing its owner to seek diagnosis from a Pet Physician. The drooling of S.B.'s cat visitor may indeed be a dietary problem; on the other hand, the P.L. has in the past been all too closely exposed to cats that would, upon the administration of petting, burrow into the petting administrator's neck, kneading madly and drooling copiously—behavior that indicates the fur friend in question may associate in its tiny fur brain the pleasures of being petted with the pleasures of its kittenhood nursing (hence the kneading, originally deployed on the surface of the cat mother's side to help express the milk) and, perhaps, was weaned too early. The P.L. finds this both hopelessly disturbing and disturbingly hopeless.
By the by, are you the Marty Smith? Presuming so, the Pet Lady does very much enjoy your new column, "The Ask Master" [in this issue, p. 8]; and intercolumnar assistance is always very much appreciated. Should you find yourself at any kind of a loss, do recall that the P.L.'s office door is always open, and martinis are always at hand.
Cordial best from one colleague to another,
The Pet Lady
DEAR PET LADY,
You mentioned in your Aug. 1 column your three visiting felines. I need advice on the same subject. My two cats have been banned from our marina. The problem has arisen from the complaints of one nasty neighbor who refuses to accept that feral cats are to blame. He sees a cat and goes complaining to the manager that my cat made a mess on his boat. Our cats have been locked up since last fall. They are naturally very vigilant for an opportunity to escape, but these are rare and short-lived. My question is, what can I do to protect myself from this jerk? He has gotten the manager to say that he will evict us if a cat is seen again!
At the End of My Rope
DEAR AT THE END OF MY ROPE,
The Pet Lady is confused by your query: Upon what visiting felines do you require advice? Where are your cats jailed and why? If you are, as you seem to be, a sailor, why do you not just set sail? Perhaps your quandary is one for the Ask Master?
Best and cheers,
The Pet Lady
P.L.-appropriate pet difficulty? Send photos and letters to The Pet Lady, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.