Hi Sylvia, I just wanted to start by saying thanks for your kind words and welcome to the Cameralabs forums, but I see Thomas has already made you feel right at home!
I'd agree with Thomas that any kind of optical or sensor-shift anti-shake can be a great boon, but as he says, they're designed to counteract your own wobbles and not any motion in the subject. So if your cats are running around, no amount of anti-shake will freeze them.
In terms of the Panasonic compacts, I too am a big fan of their wider angle lenses as they're great for landscapes or big group shots. I'm also really pleased they've managed to get a wide angle in the successor to the Lumix TZ1 which has a massive 10x optical zoom. This is a great compact if you want to sometimes get really close to your subjects. Check out our gallery to see what I mean:
http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Panas ... age5.shtml
So personally speaking I'm very interested to see how the new TZ2 and TZ3 will turn out, as they are based on the TZ1, but with a wider angle option. More info here: http://www.cameralabs.com/cameras/Panasonic/
I would however plant this seed if I may! Have you ever been frustrated by the response time of a compact - ie you see the action, press the button, but the camera takes the picture a split second later and misses it? This is a problem which faces all compacts, and I thought of you because you mentioned photographing your fast-moving cats. If you want something which will respond much quicker, you may want to try out a budget DSLR. Sure, they're much bigger, but they could let you take more of the kind of photos you're after. Just a thought!
In the meantime, the compacts which have impressed us most in our reviews are all in our Compact Buyers Guide, here:
Gordon Laing, Editor