This week, a reader is faced with a cat that won’t stop meowing or eating

January 26, 2010 12:45 PM

Dear Ethel,

I know you’re a dog, but I still hope you can manage some friendly advice for me and my pretty little kitten, Boobs. Lovely Boobs was left abandoned in her apartment for six weeks with her dog friend when their owner was in a car accident.When I adopted her almost two years ago, she was severely malnourished and incredibly friendly.Since then, she seems to not only constantly crave food, but attention as well.This isn’t so terrible a thing except when she eats so quickly she throws up or when she wanders my apartment meowing all through the night or when she demands food by meowing any time I go near the kitchen.Dear Ethel, is there anything I can do to work on these problems?She’s a lovely cat and I adore her dearly, I want her to be happy!

–Going Deaf and Stepping in Vomit in Brooklyn

GDASIVIB, to preserve your ears and shoes and to stop Boobs from driving you batty, get her a friend. That’s what Carole Wilbourn says, anyway, and she would know. She’s a cat therapist who lives in New York.

Boobs got dealt two low blows when she was abandoned by her guardian, only to be then separated from her dog BFF. “She sounds like a thin-skinned cat, emotionally,” Wilbourn says. “This cat doesn’t have enough. How she gets enough and fills in the spaces is through eating. It’s like having an anxiety attack.” Baggage is the pits, ain’t it?

So, GDASIVIB, the best thing to do for Boobs to have her feel better is to get her a companion animal – if not a dog, then a cat (ideally, a kitten, but if not, a cat that prefers cats to humans). If you’re not home ever, try to be home more often and focus more on her. Distract her when you’re in the kitchen by playing with her and try putting on some relaxing music to make her feel good.

“She’s still a young cat, and she probably has a lot of energy and the energy needs to be worked out,” Wilbourn continues. “If they don’t want to get another animal, maybe there’s someone in the building who has a cat-friendly dog. They can have playdates.”

You might have thought that cats are the opposite of dogs – they’re painted as indifferent, low-maintenance creatures who indulge your attention only when they’re feeling charitable. Well, you (maybe not you, but definitely the stereotype) were wrong. Most socialized, domestic cats need attention. A lot of it.


Got a thorny pet (any pet!) problem that you can’t figure out? Try Ethel – she’ll do her best to help. Send your questions to or send us a message on Twitter or Facebook.

Previously in Ask Ethel:
Frightened Havanese Pees Non-Stop

Ask Ethel: She’s Here to Help Solve Your Pet Problems!

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