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What's Wrong Whiskers?

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"What's Wrong Whiskers?" Book Cover

Story was created by the KMAC Kids 2002-2003

Kitten looking up at the night sky.

The tiny black and white kitten cried in the velvet night. She missed her mama and her brothers and sisters. The stars shone bright and the breeze played a gentle lullaby, but still she cried.

The sun rose.

When the sun peeked up above its watery nest, Grandma Jean and Aunt Julie heard her call. They searched and searched. The day passed...

Kitten hiding in the ivy.

When the sun rested and dusk gave way to darkness, Grandma Jean and Aunt Julie lit the way to the ivy-hiding place. First they spied the shimmering green eyes and then the wispy gold and white whiskers.

Kitten hiding behind the refrigerator.

They worked hard to coax the kitten from her secret place, but at last here she was in the warm friendly kitchen. The refrigerator purred. A perfect place to hide.

Whiskers and Grandma playing with yarn.

When Aunt Julie went home and Grandma Jean and Whiskers were alone, they played.

Whiskers loves Grandma.

Whiskers knew she loved Grandma Jean. She loved her voice and her laughter and her kindness, and she could tell Grandma Jean loved her back. They were pals! The best of pals!

Whiskers dressed up in jewelry.

Sometimes Grandma Jean would let Whiskers wear her necklaces and play dress-up.

Whiskers sitting on Grandma Jean's lap.

Whiskers made Grandma Jean smile, even when her day had been long or her heart felt sad.

Whiskers on the old quilt on the bed.

Sometimes Whiskers would spring up to the second floor window. Grandma Jean would find her sweet kitty settled on the soft quilt on the big old bed.

Whiskers peeking out the window at robbers.

One dark night when the wind from the sea blew the branches against the house, Whiskers heard a commotion! She looked out of the window and saw two robbers breaking into Grandma Jean's car.

Whiskers wearing a hero's medal.

Whiskers pounced on Grandma Jean and woke her up. Grandma Jean called the police and the sneak thieves were caught and taken away. Whiskers was the hero of the neighborhood!

New house in Chico with Whisker's playing in the yard.

When Grandma Jean and Whiskers moved to Chico, Whiskers liked to sit on the porch of her very own little white house and gaze at the birds in the trees.

Whiskers hiding among the flowers.

Whiskers was always ready to help Grandma Jean in the garden.

Whiskers watching a line of ants.

Most days Whiskers watched the ants as they marched along the path.

Whiskers looks sick.

One day in the spring, Grandma Jean noticed that something was wrong with Whiskers. "What's Wrong Whiskers?"

Grandma Jean petting Whiskers.

Whiskers was sick for a few days, but then she felt better. Grandma Jean felt better too.

Grandma marked the calendar and noticed Whiskers was sick every month.

But over the next few months Whiskers got sick again and again, always at the same time each month, always for a few days at a time.

Whiskers in the flowers.

Could it be that Whiskers was nibbling plants like Lilies or Oleander or Rhododendrons or Azaleas? Many plants are poisonous to cats!

Whiskers hiding under the car.

What about antifreeze or oil or gasoline from the car? All of these are deadly you see!

Whiskers with the ants who were being sprayed with pesticides.

Did the cleaning products Grandma Jean used make Whiskers feel puny? Or what about the ant and spider spray the man used each month?

Whiskers licking the dryer sheets.

Could Whiskers have licked the dryer sheets in the laundry or dabbled in the potpourri oil? Did she nibble on the chocolate in the pantry or snack on the bait for the snails?

Whiskers playing with moth balls in the closet.

Perhaps she played with the mothballs from the back of the closet. Did she take medicine each month?

Question marks in the air.

Whiskers, sweet Whiskers, what can it be? There are so many hazards for you.

Grandma holding Whiskers.

Grandma Jean held Whiskers for a long time and promised to find the cause, so together these pals could enjoy their days and be health and happy and strong.

Just whiskers.

Now their tale is told and our hopes are high that other animal pals will feel the love that these two did share and provide a safe place for all... 

All cats and dogs and kids...and goldfish...and canaries...and hamsters and guinea pigs...and horsed and ... all living things!


The KMAC Kids hypothesized that Whiskers was being exposed to something in her home or yard environment. They sleuthed for clues to solve the mystery of her illness. Although Whiskers may have been exposed to many hazards that could be harmful, her symptoms were cyclic (that means that she was sick at the same time each month). Because Whiskers did not take monthly medications nor did she have cyclic exposures to the other hazards in her environment, the KMAC Kids' investigation led them to conclude that the monthly yard and garden treatment for ants and spiders may have caused her ill health. Whiskers' exposure to the chemicals applied each month may have caused more health problems because she was an older cat. She may also have ingested more chemicals from the spray because she not only licked and cleaned herself, but she also cleaned Tiggy, the other kitty that lived with Grandma Jean.