Pets Q&A: Cat likes to observe TV. Is that ordinary? | lifestyle

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DEAR JOAN – My Maine Coon cat seems to enjoy watching TV. It sits about 3 feet from the 49-inch television. Her eyes follow the action and if the scene changes quickly she jumps.

Is that normal? My previous cat couldn’t care less about the TV.

Michael, Gilroy, California

DEAR MICHAEL: It’s actually not uncommon for a cat to watch TV. That said, none of the cats I’ve had in my life have ever paid a little attention to the TV, so I think your kitten is special.

Experts say that cats that watch TV, especially those that follow and respond to screen movements, have highly developed prey instincts and may become bored.

You don’t have to worry about letting your cat watch TV unless you are counting a serious case of cute overload. For cats who spend a lot of time alone, it can provide some mental stimulation for them. The main concern is that the cat will be too busy and attack the TV, which could hurt the cat and also not do the TV much good.

For those who don’t want their cats to turn into couch potatoes for cats, try spending more time with them, getting them interactive toys, and providing them with a seat near the window. If you don’t mind TV but don’t want them to see “The Catchelor” or too many cat food commercials, you can buy DVDs of birds and other animals for them to watch, but it doesn’t hurt.

DEAR JOAN: The other night we had an animal visitor in our garden who amazed us.

Our cat saw it out the patio door window first and made a noise we had never heard of her before, which made sense because we had never seen it before.

At first glance, we thought it might be a small possum. It had a very long snout, but looked more like an aardvark than an opossum. It seemed almost hairless and when it turned to one side it had a full tail like a fox. It was like something out of a science fiction movie.

I’ve just spent half an hour online saying weird combinations in Siri including, “Can an opossum and a fox mate?” and I couldn’t think of anything.

There is a small channel at the foot of our hill. Last year we had both foxes and possums, but nothing like that. Any ideas?

C. and M., Benicia

DEAR C. AND M .: One thing I can tell you for sure, I will not visit you, not with a fossum or a possox roaming around.

But seriously, I think there’s an excellent chance you’ve seen something that not many people will ever see, and it isn’t from space. It sounds like you’ve had a visit from a ring-tailed cat.

They are shy and shy, so they tend to stay away from people and built-up areas for nighttime foraging.

Although we call them cats, they actually belong to the raccoon family.

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