Like all the Guides at About.com, I'm a real person, and I welcome input from you.
Many readers think that each site is managed by a team, however, with a few exceptions, About Guidesites are the product of the work of one single individual, the Guide. Because writing and managing a web site as large as About Cats, is extremely time-consuming, although my passion for cats is infinite, my time isn't. For that reason, I can rarely answer one-on-one personal questions about cats. Please read this document in its entirety before mailing me. Chances are, you'll find your answer here.
How to Find the Help You Need
Before you shoot off an email to your Cats Guide (or any other Internet expert, for that matter), there are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- Did I read the About.com Cats Site FAQ?
- Did I post my question to the Cats forum?
- Did I use the search function on this site to find the answer?
- Did I check the Topics listings at the left-hand side of the main page?
If you can answer "yes" to all these questions, and still couldn't find the answer you were looking for, then writing to the Cats Guide might be the answer.
Before You Write
Think about the question you want answered. Here are some tips to be sure you phrase your question in a way that will get answered quickly:
- Don't send attachments
I can't open them, and so it won't help your question. If you must show me something visually, post it to a Web site and send the URL.
- Use a meaningful subject in the email[
If your subject looks like spam, chances are it will be deleted without being opened. I have a very strong spam filter, and many spam-like messages I never even see.
- Be specific
Opening a long and rambling email is daunting enough, and if it takes you 500 words to get to the point I may have given up by then. Please be as brief and succinct as you can. If I need more information, I will ask for it by email. (I do not do phone consultations.)
- Be polite
I am much more likely to respond favorably to a politely worded request. And remember, all caps in email sounds like you're shouting at the recipient, and I don't like to be shouted at.
- Saying thank you is always appreciated
If your question is answered and my reply was helpful, it's always nice to know. I am a human, not a computer, and I appreciate human courtesy.
- My cat is sick!! Please Help!
- I'm sorry, but I don't offer medical advice. The bottom line is that your own veterinarian is the best expert for questions about your own cat's health because of his or her personal examination of the cat and knowledge of your pet's medical history. If your cat is sick, please take him to your veterinarian, or to an emergency vet clinic.
See also "Know When to call the Vet." This is exactly the same reply you will receive if you decide to email anyway, so please save us both time.
- HELP! We have found a litter of kittens and are trying to save them.
- My best advice would be to contact your local cat rescue group. These people are experts in the field and have the experience and the resources to save the kittens and find permanent homes. Check the "Rescue" section of my Categories for your area. If you don't find a local group, contact your local humane society or pound, and they will be able to direct you. If you still find yourself in the role of surrogate mother, try the Cats Forum for help. We have many members who are active rescuers.
- Help me with my cat's (one of 10 thousand variations) behavior problem!
I am painfully aware of the turmoil a home can turn into because of one cat's "bad" behavior. But, just as I am not a veterinarian and couldn't diagnose a cat's health problem by email, My knowledge of cat behavior has come by several decades of trial and error experiences with my own cats, and I can't work miracles for a cat I've never met, in an environment I don't know.
Amy Shojai, CABC, was the contributing writer on cat behavior for this site for a year, and she has left behind a legacy of articles on almost every aspect of cat behavior. While your situation may differ somewhat from that in a specific article, you'll still have the framework for working it out. Check these links:
- Amy Shojai on Cat Behavior
- The H.I.S.S. Test
The H.I.S.S. Test is especially helpful. It it the same method Amy worked out to use for her personal consultations, and if you answer the questions honestly, you should be on your way to solving your cat's problems, or seeking veterinary care, as is so often the case.
- Previous Ask Amy Questions and Replies
- How do I submit a photo for one of your photo galleries?
- I no longer accept email submittals of photos. However, the Show and Tell feature presently offers 80 ways to Share Cat Pictureson my site. You may upload up to two photos with an easy do-it-yourself form.
- How do I submit my site for a link?
Due to the high (99%) volume of spam received with a submission form, I am no longer accepting submittals for sites to be linked. As a matter of practice, if I see an exceptional site during my research, I will add it. Note: I rarely add sites which are commercial in nature.
- I really have a question not covered here. How do I email you?
- For all other questions and comments, you can email me at email@example.com. Because of the amount of e-mail I receive, I may not be able to respond right away, but I try to read every piece of mail.
Note: Any email and responses may be posted to the FAQ section or the blog on the Cats site, while protecting the identity of the writer by use of initials. Names and email addresses will not be disclosed to other readers.