DEAR JOAN: We have two cats—a Maine Coon female and an orange tabby male. We adopted them at the same time, and they are about 3 years old. We love them both to pieces, but are curious about their different reactions to water.
The tabby gives us the stink eye if he gets his feet or any other part of his body wet. We’ve tried to bathe him and barely escaped with our lives. The Maine Coon is the exact opposite. We can give her baths, wash her face, clean off her paws and she just purrs away.
Until we got her, we always thought that cats hated water, but maybe we were wrong. Our question is: Which cat is the odd one, the one who hates water or the one who loves it?
Liz and Joe, San Jose
DEAR LIZ AND JOE: Neither of them.
While most cats don’t like being in water, some of them not only tolerate it but will happily submerge themselves in it.
The love/hate gene appears to be breed specific — Maine coons are known for having a water tolerance — but it’s probably more fair to say it just depends on the cat. I’ve had a Maine coon and he was Zen about a lot of things, but he wasn’t too keen on water.
Researchers aren’t sure why most cats have such a dislike for water. It could be part of their origin story, having roots in the desert.
Cats also like to be grounded, no pun intended, and they don’t like anything where they can’t get solid purchase or sink their claws into.
Another reason for a cat’s dislike of water could be because of their luxurious fur coats. If you’ve ever ranked a cat by petting against the grain, you’ll know that they like their fur to go a particular direction, and water can mess that up. Their coats also were not designed to shed water, so the fur soaks it up, making it a very heavy load to carry.
Accept that one cat is a water-loving rarity, while the other cat is merely normal, although both, I’m certain, are assuredly adorable.
DEAR JOAN: The Rowell Ranch Rodeo is scheduled for May 20-22 this year. All the opposition notwithstanding, they again plan to feature the brutal — and blatantly sexist — “wild cow milking contest,” in which a cow was killed at the 2014 rodeo.
The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District board refuses to make any changes in its rodeo animal welfare policy. This cruel event needs to be banned by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors before the May rodeo. The June Livermore Rodeo also plans to feature this same event.
Please shine a bright light on this injustice. It is our moral obligation to help the innocent.
Michelle Setaro, Modesto
DEAR MICHELLE: The first protests of rodeos as cruel to animals were launched in the 1870s, and it took until the mid 20th century before any protective laws were enacted. Critics say even the more recent laws don’t go far enough.
The wild cow milking contest involves a team that ropes and milks a cow that is not used to being handled. Some people find it amusing and harmless, but if you are someone who doesn’t, let your elected officials know.
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