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Dear Ann Landers: You recently printed a column listing various "solutions" for getting rid of stray cats that wander into flower gardens. Please know that some of the solutions you listed are downright cruel. Setting out mousetraps and painting the underside of a cat's tail with turpentine can cause a great deal of harm. We understand that you do not condone these solutions, but the fact that they appeared in print might encourage people to try them.

While we recognize that roaming animals can be a nuisance, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests managing the problem by contacting your local humane organization or animal control agency for guidance. Often, roaming animals have an owner who should be held accountable for the damage done by their pets. Also, they may be violating local animal control/leash laws. If nuisance animals are strays, local rescue groups or humane societies may be able to offer help in a way that is compassionate.

The ASPCA believes domestic animals should never be allowed to wander loose. Encourage your readers to go the extra mile to solve their animal problems humanely. For more information, write to the ASPCA's Public Information Dept., 424 E. 92nd St., New York, N.Y. 10128 or visit our Web site at

-- Larry M. Hawk, DVM, President, ASPCA
Dear Mr. Hawk: Your gentle comeuppance was well-deserved, and I have no defense. As you can imagine, the mail from cat lovers from every part of the Western Hemisphere darn near ignited my office. Those goofy suggestions on how to keep cats out of your flower garden must have come from readers who hate cats. That mousetrap suggestion created a firestorm of criticism, and I was told how mothballs are dangerous and wire mesh can pull out a cat's claws. But painting under a cat's tail with turpentine brought the cat lovers to their feet screaming for my scalp.

Believe me, there will be no more cat letters for a while. I'm sticking with monkeys.

Skin deep

Dear Ann Landers: This is in response to "Council Bluffs, Iowa," who was married to a terrific guy, but said she wasn't attracted to him sexually because he wasn't good-looking. She said he was a devoted father and a hardworking, kind, loving person. After 11 years of marriage, she thought his appearance shouldn't matter, but she was becoming obsessed with the fact that he wasn't better looking.

She has her priorities messed up. I was married to a great-looking man who turned out to be a loser. He had a serious booze problem, was a terrible father, and alienated all my friends and relatives. Eventually, he left me for his secretary.

"Council Bluffs" should adore her homely husband because he treats her well and has good character. If she cannot do this, she should find someone as shallow as she is, and let that terrific guy go.

-- Stroudsburg, Pa.
Dear Stroudsburg: Women who marry for good looks or money are in the same leaky boat as men who make that same mistake. Men can get bald, women can get fat, both can get wrinkled, and the money picture can change overnight. Marriages built on true love, mutual interests, respect and the willingness to weather the storms together are destined to succeed.

Gem of the day

If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

-- David Broome in Mesa, Ariz.
Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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