Olives are cat's best bud

News-DemocratJanuary 31, 2014 

Q. When my husband eats pimento-stuffed olives, our cat acts like he has been around catnip. Why does it affect him that way?

-- Laverne Timmermann, with Lee

A. Hmmm, and I was wondering why my furballs always attack my Papa John's deluxes like Garfield goes after a pan of lasagna.

As it turns out, experts say olives and pimentos apparently contain substances similar to those found in catnip. Depending on the concentrations, when this hits the nose, your pet may turn into a space-kitdet.

If you like to throw around seven-syllable words, your cat and many other animals (but not humans) have a vomeronasal organ in their nose. It's an auxiliary sense organ used mainly to detect pheromones, which essentially are chemical messages sent between members of the same species. (That's probably why I often catch my cats sniffing each other's ... well, you know.)

However, it is thought that plants may have evolved similar substances to serve as pest repellents. So when the nepetalactone in catnip binds to receptors in this primitive organ, it sends Fluffy into a feline frenzy.

Similarly, green olives and pimentos apparently contain isoprenoids in their essential oils similar enough to nepetalactone to bring out the same crazed behavior.

Olives are apparently safe, so you may or may not want to try this at home, but not every cat may be affected just as some cats seem immune to catnip. However, I have found several similar crazed accounts on the Internet.

"Pouf, went absolutely bananas for (Greek olives)," wrote one. "He would bite into it, roll, make funny sounds, eat around the pit, roll and roll. Then we would take the pit away and he would totally play and roll in that area of the floor."

Q. I'm curious why April Simpson has not been on the KTVI-TV morning show again lately. I know she had a brain tumor in the past, so I'm hoping that she's not having medical issues.

-- M.G., N.M., et al.

A. It wasn't the Christmas present most of us would have wanted, but Simpson obviously is hoping that the artificial right hip she had implanted on Dec. 23 will be just what the doctor ordered for a more pain-free future.

"I got my wish," she wrote to her fans on Facebook on Christmas Eve. "My surgery was successful. Thank you for your prayers. I felt them all."

As you're obviously well aware, it's the latest medical procedure for this Fox-2 morning favorite. In late 2010, she underwent 10 hours of surgery and radiation to vanquish a brain tumor. Then in July 2012, she had her left hip replaced. She still fights severe headaches, but is looking to get back in front of the camera.

"Gradually getting better, thank God," she wrote on her most recent post on Jan. 15. "I wish you all knew how important you are to me. When I'm at my worst I know my Facebook family is there for me. And for that I humbly thank you. You all are amazing!"

She told me in a Facebook message that she hopes to be back this month. If you'd like to see her in her surgical gown, follow her progress or send her a get-well message, search for "April Simpson on Fox 2" on Facebook.

Q. On the BND stock page, Royal Dutch Shell (RoyDShll) lists stock as RoyDSHllA and RoyDShllB. Both are currently trading a few dollars apart. Can you explain what the difference is between these two stocks?

-- P.T., of Collinsville

A. This little Shell game started on July 20, 2005, when the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company of the Netherlands and the London-based Shell Transport and Trading Company became Royal Dutch Shell plc.

So, the two classes of stock -- A and B -- are identical except for how their dividends are taxed. The A shares (about 57 percent of the company) are listed in the Netherlands and its dividends are subject to a Dutch withholding tax of 15 percent. The B shares, which comprise the other 43 percent of the company, falls under the United Kingdom tax system and are not subject to withholding.

As a result, the A shares should trade at a discount, but this is not always the case, brokers say. When the company buys back shares, it usually takes the A shares, which can make them more attractive to investors and, thus, command a higher price.

Today's trivia

When you add up every season, what team has the best won-loss percentage in NFL history?

Answer to Thursday's trivia: In 1950, when all the Emmy Awards went to Los Angeles shows and stations, the first sports Emmy went to a pro wrestling show on KTLA-TV. KNBH's coverage of the Rams would win in 1951.

Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or rschlueter@bnd.com or call 618-239-2465.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service