Helpful Hints

DEAR READERS: If your cat is a bit chubby, that is not a good thing. Any extra fat that your cat has could cause aching joints, diabetes or liver problems. But how do you really know if your cat is fat? Try this. Can you feel your cat’s ribs or spine? If you cannot, your cat is most likely overweight. Take steps to help your kitty lose any extra weight.

Take your cat to your vet to discuss its weight management. This will include increasing your cat’s activity while decreasing the amount of food and calories your cat is consuming. And this means fewer kitty treats. So schedule lots more play or exercise time and start feeding smaller meals. With a concerted effort, and checking in with your vet to monitor progress, your cat will be healthier and live longer.

DEAR READERS: Be sure to create a special print calendar or online document to track your pets’ medical history, records, appointments and vaccination schedules. This is important to help keep your precious pets healthy.

DEAR HELOISE: I just wanted to say how grateful I am that you print so much about pets. I, too, am a big pet lover, and I am glad you use your column to give many helpful tips about the care and protection of our beloved animals. Thank you for all the good you do for man’s best friends.

— Shirley Noel, via email

DEAR HELOISE: Today’s column reminded me of a hint I can share regarding parking spaces. It was good advice from the reader to park uphill from shopping cart racks. One time, I placed my shopping cart near my trunk, went to get something in front of my car, and a few moments later found the cart had disappeared. I looked around in befuddlement; it was nowhere to be found.

I thought I had lost my mind. A couple of minutes later, someone came up to my car with my full shopping cart saying: “You look like you’re looking for something. I think this might be yours.” It had rolled to the bottom of the lot, past several cars. Now I park directly next to the cart corral, on the upslope side, so one side of my car is protected from any dings from other car doors, and I can easily return my cart to the corral.

— Peggy Cordero

DEAR HELOISE: I have been a faithful reader of this column since 1963, when I was a young bride of 18 years old. I appreciate the hints very much. I read about the expenses of weddings nowadays. Eight years ago, I married for the second time. I had known this guy for over 50 years, since I was in his first wedding. His wife had died.

We decided to get married and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I put out a Facebook message to our friends that we were getting married on Aug. 31 at the park. Including a new dress, a suit for my guy, simple artificial flowers (which I arranged), nice rented chairs and tables, food for 200 guests (we are in a small town and everyone knows us), we spent less than $2,000. It can be done. Spending a lot on a wedding is ridiculous — more effort needs to be spent on the marriage.

— Sondra Dahl, via email

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email