Did you know that sometimes people's pets have their own pets? The best-known pet's pet might be the kitten doted upon by the 230-pound gorilla Koko, a gentle giant who treated her baby cat with great care. When the kitten was tragically hit and killed by a car, Koko was inconsolable. She cried for days and did not want to communicate about cats. Eventually, Koko chose a new kitten. Koko's physician-trainer said Koko "actually danced when her new pet arrived."

Most animals don't have their own pets, but that doesn't mean they are not treated specially to keep them from getting bored or too rambunctious. In order to stay in line with the new European Commission Guidelines for Swine, pig farmers in England must keep their piggies content with toys and fresh straw. These rules, which include fines as high as 2,500 pounds for violators, are designed to keep the pigs busy and not belligerent toward each other, and were written to make sure that the pigs could forage with their snouts as much as they wanted and not get too dirty. Needless to say, not all keepers of porkers are happy about these new regulations. There has been no comment from the pigs, but it is true that their snouts are more pristine.

A story about fictitious applications to the American Kennel Club for unique new dog breeds is making its way through e-mail. Just a few paraphrased examples are the following: The Collapso would result from combining a Collie + Lhasa Apso and would fold up for easy transport. Offspring of the Irish Water Spaniel + English Springer Spaniel might become an Irish Springer, a pooch fresh and clean as an Irish breeze. The Newfoundland + Basset Hound would produce a Newfound Asset Hound, the perfect pet for financial advisers. The Bloodhound and Labrador Retriever cross would be the Blabador, an incessantly barking dog. The Moot Point dog would originate from the Malamute + Pointer and would be predominately owned by attorneys. "The Deerhound + Terrier might have offspring called the Derrier, a dog that is true to the end. Crossing the "Bull Terrier and Shitzu would result in -. oh, never mind."

A cat named Irish Smartmouth Roeder, who lives in Kingsland, Georgia, is an orange cat, whose ancestry is American Tom and Siamese. Smartmouth became his name because he communicates with meows, spitting and hissing. He loves to sneak up on the dog and spit and hiss until the dog jumps up and runs away. Smartmouth's favorite sleeping place is inside a paper bag. He also likes to go for walks in the woods.

Cats' names range from the very ordinary to highly original. Among the names of our five cats and our children's cats are Poolie, Wampuss, Snuz, Birkenstock, Harvey, Gussie, Viggo, Atilla, Hettie, Jessamine, Sola and Bobbie.

A new, fascinating feline-filled book, which might be appealing to those of you with cats, is called PAWMISTRY: How to Read Your Cat's Paws, by Ken Right and Paul Romhany. Lines on your palms are supposed to divulge highly particular information about how long you will live, how many children you will have, how healthy your life will be and how many times you will get married. Sounds fascinating, probably pretty funny, and also might be a good time-filler.

Cynthia Hilden's column appears every other Tuesday.

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