Weekly family rail, with a look at cats, a review of "Snow White and the Huntsman" and more.
Tip of the Week
Cat expert Wendy Diamond busts some myths about cats:
Myth 1: There are more dogs as pets than cats.
Fact: According to the Humane Society of the U.S., Americans have 86 million cat pets and 78 million dog pets.
Myth 2: Cats who don't scratch more than usual don't have fleas.
Fact: Even if cats don't itch or scratch more than normal, they may still have fleas. In fact, some cats tolerate fleas in their fur. What may look like a cat's normal nibbling could actually be their reaction to irritating fleas. And fleas can cause more than just itching; in fact, constant scratching from flea infestations can lead to hair loss and other skin issues.
Myth 3: Cats are cold and aloof, so they don't make good pets.
Fact: Cats can be just as social and affectionate as dogs. For instance, if your cat's ears and tail are standing up - even if she's not slobbering all over your face like Fido - she's probably glad to see you!
Myth 4: A purring cat is a happy cat.
Fact: Cats purr, not only when they are happy, but also when they feel uncomfortable, like when they are recovering from an injury.
Myth 5: Keeping cats indoors prevents them from getting fleas.
Fact: Indoor cats may be at risk for fleas. In fact, fleas can be brought into the home by other pets without you even realizing it.
Myth 6: Cats only smell with their noses.
Fact: Cats smell with their noses and also with their mouths. So when a cat appears to be smiling, she may just be opening her mouth slightly so that she can better sniff out the situation!
Myth 7: Cats take care of themselves, and so are low-maintenance.
Fact: Cats may seem like they groom themselves more and complain less than dogs, but they need just as much health care as dogs, including application of a flea preventive once a month, 12 months a year, and at least an annual check-up by your vet.
Myth 8: Cats only need flea prevention during the summer months.
Fact: Since fleas in virtually any weather can pose problems to your cat, the Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends providing pets with year-round flea control.
Myth 9: Cats and dogs are arch-enemies.
Fact: "Fighting like cats and dogs" is an old saying, but cats and dogs can be buddies if they're introduced to each other gradually, allowing them to get familiar with each other. Spaying or neutering cat and dog pets may limit aggressive tendencies.
Myth 10: Milk is good for cats.
Fact: Many cats are lactose intolerant, so even if a cat enjoys milk, it may be hard for her to digest.
Family Movie Night
“Snow White and the Huntsman,” now on DVD
Length: 2 hours, 7 minutes
Synopsis: In a twist to the classic fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the evil queen.
Violence/scary rating: 4
Sexual-content rating: 2
Profanity rating: 2
Drugs/alcohol rating: 2
Family Time rating: 3. If your teen can handle intense scenes, this is OK. But it's not your Disney Snow White.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” by Roald Dahl
Synopsis: Willy Wonka's Famous Chocolate Factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside ... and what Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teavee, and Charlie Bucket find is even wilder than any of the wild rumors they've heard! - Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Did You Know
According to The Associated Press, parents of students in private schools in California opt out of immunizations more than double the rate of public school opt-outs.
GateHouse News Service