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BEHAVIOR

A brand new wariness, even though one of the cats was only out of the house for a short time.

Dear Doctor: Sexual aggression in a neutered cat

Q. My 6-year-old boy Hawkeye was neutered when he was 6 or 7 months old, but he clearly likes to “make love” to soft fleece-like blankets. He grabs a little in his mouth, then ends up straddling the blanket, turning in a slow circle and humping away. My old gal Mitzie, who was also spayed […]
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She may actually be trying to groom you.

Love Bites, Or Just Bites?

You are gently stroking your cat, and she is clearly enjoying it, when out of nowhere she begins biting you. The bites are not aggressive. There’s no hissing or tail swishing involved, and she’s not trying to scratch you with her claws. There’s something almost casual about the bites, in fact. But while these “love […]
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If your cat becomes angry in ways he didn’t when he was younger, he may be suffering from physiologic changes that need to be tended to.

Has Your Cat Grown Grouchier Over Time?

You expect your cat to slow down as he grows older — more sleep, less frenetic darting around that seems to start out of nowhere. But some cats grow increasingly temperamental. They’ll swat you away with little warning — or no warning — when you try to stroke them or give them attention in other […]
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For a very anxious cat, medication, along with behavior modification, may do a world of good to help her reach a calmer state.

For a Super-Anxious Cat, Drugs May Help

Any cat so anxious that she cannot relax or overreacts to stimuli like the presence of visitors or common household noises should be evaluated by a qualified animal behaviorist. A veterinarian board-certified in animal behavior or a certified applied animal behaviorist will offer advice about behavior modification that can help her cope with her fear […]
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Cats like vertical scratching posts, but it’s good to have two or three different types in the house, including a horizontal one.

Helping Cats Satisfy Their Scratching Instinct

Cats don’t just enjoy scratching. They scratch for a number of reasons both psychological and physiological. For instance, they scratch when they are excited, as well as when they are bored or anxious. They also scratch to flex their bodies and stretch their feet. And scratching is a way to mark territory. It leaves a […]
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It’s Okay If Your Cat “Covers” Her Food

Many cats go through the motions of covering their food by scratching or pawing around the bowl in a simulation of digging. They’re not actually putting dirt over their food, of course. An instinct just has them acting as if they are. A cat who does this is not neurotic. She’s acting on a genetically […]
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The Weakest Sense

With almost 40 times more odor-sensitive cells in their noses than we have in ours, cats have it all over us when it comes to the sense of smell. They can also hear more frequencies than we (and most other mammals) can. But when it comes to the sense of taste, we humans have got […]
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A cat who always keeps away from the action needs help feeling more comfortable in your home.

Does Your Cat Act or React?

Does you cat feel secure in his surroundings? Does he see the territory he inhabits as his own and feel free to move about as he would like? You can tell by the way he interacts with his environment — and with you. A confident cat will enter a room with a relaxed posture, tail […]
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Another cat with a hankering for her owner’s feet.

Dear Doctor: Cat attacks my feet

Q. My new kitten won’t stop charging at my feet. Sometimes he just comes over to sniff them, but often, he literally jumps at them and starts batting, scratching, and even biting them. It really hurts. What is this obsession with feet, and how can I get him to stop? Crystal Hummer Detroit, Michigan Dear […]
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Feline Behaviors Often Seen as Normal — But Are Not

I see about one cat for every 10 to 15 dogs,” says the head of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM. Why is it that people with dogs are more apt to seek professional help for their pet’s behavioral problems than people with cats? It’s because those who care for cats often do […]
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Clamoring to Go Out

Your cat has always tried to rush out the front door when it is opened, but lately he seems more determined than ever to make a run for it. You feel bad that he is cooped up inside, but you also know he is infinitely safer in the house. What could be going on? Any […]
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If a cat is super-fearful all the time, something is wrong;

A Veterinarian’s Behavioral Assessment That You Can Make On Your Own

The American Association of Feline Practitioners says there are eight questions regarding behavior that a veterinarian should ask about your cat during every visit. The answers are important not only because they help uncover behavioral problems that need to be addressed for the cat’s (and your) comfort—they also can help diagnose medical problems because behavior […]
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