Sign Up for Cat Talk
Get the latest health and behavior news and
advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

July 2019

Full Issue (PDF)

July 2019 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

 

Feature

Yes, Your Overweight Cat Needs Very Small Portions to Trim DownSubscribers Only

You might think what bothers cat owners when the vet puts their pet on a weight-management plan is the slow rate of weight loss the doctor sometimes recommends. Indeed, cats who should be thinner for their health can lose weight at a very modest rate — from only 0.5 up to a more aggressive 2 percent of body weight per week. For a 20-pound cat who should lose 5 pounds, that means an eating regimen that could result in as little as one tenth of a pound a week.   More...

Counter Conditioning

It’s understandable that cats like to jump onto kitchen counters; our pets enjoy high places. And while not everybody minds it, some people don’t like their pet jumping up on surfaces where food is prepared. But how can you stop it? The Animal Humane Society (animalhumanesociety.org) has some tips.   More...

Your Cat’s Got the WigglesSubscribers Only

Ever wonder what inspires your cat to lift her rump, wiggle it back and forth in place, eyes black with excitement, and then pounce? It may well be an instinctive hunting behavior she shares with lions, tigers, and jaguars even though domesticated cats split off from their big cousins eons ago.   More...

USDA Ends Decades-Long Cat Experiment After Public Outcry

A decades-long U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) project costing $22 million and the lives of almost 3,000 kittens has ended thanks to public outcry. For 37 years, the government agency has been feeding parasite-laced cat meat bought from Asian meat markets to healthy laboratory cats here in the U.S. in order to research the specific parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. They have then been euthanizing the lab cats when they were no longer needed. The nonprofit watchdog group White Coat Waste Project exposed the experiment, and the USDA has announced its end.   More...

Free Online Seminars At Our Veterinary School

Want to learn about saving cats’ lives through innovative shelter-based research? Or how people and big cats like cheetahs can be expected to share the same landscape? Or even non-cat things, like how to create environmental enrichment for an elephant? And would you like to learn about all these things for free? Well, you can.   More...

Automatic Cat Feeders: For Her Health and Your SleepSubscribers Only

Last month we recommended feeders that are set to open at specific times with specific amounts of food so that you don’t end up overfeeding your cat. But automatic feeders do more than control portions. They also teach your pet there’s no point in begging, allowing you to sleep uninterrupted. Since the food is “handed out” by the machine, your cat quickly learns there’s no use swatting your head at 5 a.m. Further, the feeder will dispense your cat’s meals even if you have to be out of the house from early in the morning until after dinnertime.   More...

Can Your Cat Become a Therapy Cat?Subscribers Only

You’ve most likely heard of therapy dogs, who offer comfort to hospital patients, stressed out college students, children with disabilities, and others in need. But therapy cats? Yes, therapy cats spread cheer to strangers, too — and these interactions not only enrich the lives of the people they visit but also those of the cats themselves.   More...

Those Things They DoSubscribers Only

Zooming. Splaying. Kneading…Let’s face it: cats can be weird. Or seem weird, if you don’t understand why they engage in certain behaviors. In this article, we demystify some of their so-called oddball antics.   More...

Acupuncture for What Ails Him?Subscribers Only

Acupuncture treatment, by all accounts, has had significant effects on cats suffering from musculoskeletal pain and nausea as well as various side effects of chemotherapy. Tufts veterinary school graduate Karen Fine, DVM, who practices in Massachusetts, describes one cat who was over-grooming herself to the point that she had hair loss. But after a few acupuncture treatments, during which Dr. Fine inserted a number of thin needles in her skin and left them there for 20 minutes, she started licking less, and her hair started growing back.   More...

Feline-Focused VacationsSubscribers Only

Tourists who enjoy far-flung locales from Roman ruins to the palm trees of Hawaii, but who miss their snuggly, purring companions while traveling, can now have it all. Vacation spots around the globe offer opportunities for petting, cooing over, and connecting with cats. Some even permit adoption, opening up the possibility for the best “souvenir” ever. Here’s a sampling of cat-themed travel destinations.   More...

Ask the Doctor

Dear Doctor: A cancer medicine for dogs but not cats

Last May my beloved 13-year-old cat was diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma and passed in August. A few months later our shelter’s newsletter told the story of a family whose dog had been diagnosed with the very same thing and, with a prognosis of 8 months, she actually lived 7½ more years with the help of Piroxicam.   More...