Cat/man advice: Another cat in a small space?

Dear menandcats.com,

I have an almost one year old kitten I found on the street last labor day. I live alone in a studio apartment and I am a very busy law student who is often gone most of the day, and when I am home my nose is generally buried in a book. Obviously, I am concerned that my kitten is not getting enough attention. However, I am also concerned that she does not have enough space to run around, play, and stay occupied. So, I am tempted to get another kitten to help keep her company, but I am also worried that I have too little space for one kitten, much less two.

Also, I was curious if you have any advice about cat toys. My cat only seems to like the feather attached to a string toy, and maybe a stuffed bear to occasionally pounce on and wrestle with. All those jingly balls and catnip mice barely hold her attention for more than a few seconds, and then they get lost underneath my desk or the refrigerator.

Sincerely,
Man with a cat

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Man and Cat advice – Cat with a bald belly

Dear Menandcats.com –

My cat has had a normal, furry belly for years, but lately he seems to be losing fur on his belly! I noticed that he’s been licking it a lot. Is it worth an expensive trip to the vet to figure out why he’s licking his belly, or should I just leave it be?

– Cat Lady

Dear Cat Lady,

The menandcats.com household has extensive experience with the too-much-belly-licking problem. Thurston, our beloved tabby, went through a period where ALL he seemed to do was lick his belly constantly. He licked all his belly fur right off. I did take him to the vet (Oh, the vet has laughed at me several times for the minor things that I have brought Thurston in for) and it turns out he had a condition called Psychogenic alopecia. Translation – it was all in his little kitty-head, and he was licking himself neurotically for no real reason. The vet said we could put him on kitty meds, but that his belly-licking was basically harmless and we could just leave him alone. She also said that trying to figure out what was stressing him out could be nearly impossible – it could be a smell somewhere, another animal nearby, etc. Well, we tried all sorts of things to calm the Thurstonator down (he already has a brother, who he gets along with) like playing classical music for him and putting a holistic calming remedy in his water (after being assured it was safe – it had no effect). Nothing worked. Then we moved to a new apartment – and I thought the move might send him over the belly-licking edge. But our new place has a little more space and it’s not on the ground floor (no more strange cats coming right up to the window). Lo and behold, he’s stopped licking himself excessively. Although he is still excessively attached to his cat-mom, but cat-mom really doesn’t mind. :)

Of course, each cat is different. Your cat could have psychogenic alopecia, or he could have an allergy or something like fleas or mites causing him to lick himself. Just to be on the safe side, you should probably bring your feline friend to his vet to have him checked out.

Man and Cat Advice

As faithful readers of Menandcats.com may or may know, your humble webmistress has had advice columns on the Internets previously at Gothamist (“Ask Gothamist”) and Insound(“Insound Advice”). So, I would like offer my services as an advice columnist to Menandcats readers. If you’re having a problem with a cat and/or a man, just send an e-mail to janine@menandcats.com and I will give you my (un)professional advice. I have no formal training in advice-giving other than being a good listener and having two advice columns under my belt! All questions will be anonymous, no real names will be used. So, ask away!