There has been a fair amount of research on the faces cats make to communicate with people, along with research on their expressions when they are in pain. What hasn’t been well studied are their facial expressions to communicate their feelings to other cats.
Q: Is it possible for cats to have mental illness, or is it always just a matter of behavioral issues?
There are 12 steps on the Feline Ladder of Aggression, a graphic devised by veterinarian and behavior consultant Sally J. Foote, DVM. But a cat who is feeling particularly threatened can scale the entire ladder in little more than a second, Dr. Foote points out. And some cats will skip steps as they escalate and suppress their body language as they go, taking someone who is handling a stressed, frightened cat even more by surprise.
Your cat starts urinating more frequently and often does so outside the litter box, straining while he relieves himself. He also has started over-grooming “down there” and may even have blood in his urine. Is it a urinary tract infection? Nope. The vet checked for that. A bladder stone? No, not that, either. In fact, the doctor has screened for a number of conditions that fall under the umbrella of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), and all the tests came back negative. So what is it? Is your cat just being difficult?
Like dogs, cats can learn tricks with clicker training. The sound of the clicker comes super fast, faster even than the short amount of time it takes for you to get a treat reward from your hand to a cat’s mouth for doing something right. In that way, the clicker lets your pet know that a treat is coming and keeps him motivated. There’s literally no time for his attention to wander. Here are some ways to optimize the training.
A Second Reason Your Cat May Jump onto the Kitchen Counter
Cats in general like a fair amount of alone time, but if your cat’s “MO” is one of almost complete avoidance of you and others in your home, something’s wrong. A cat should not want to spend his entire day under the bed, behind the bed skirt, or at the far reaches of some other piece of furniture. He should not consider it a risk to walk across the middle of the floor and instead always slink around the perimeter of a room in order to try to avoid being noticed.
Some 90 percent of cats develop arthritis over time, research suggests, with about half of them actually suffering from arthritis pain. That comes to almost one out of two house cats in pain, yet people often aren’t aware. They think their cat isn’t as nimble simply because he’s getting older. Or they believe that if a cat had arthritis, he would start limping. But while dogs limp from arthritis pain, cats work to hide their discomfort. They like to mask their vulnerability so predators can’t see their weakness. No matter that there may be no predators in your home. That feline tendency is genetically built in.
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat meat to survive. But they are also what some scientists have called a non-obligate social species. Group living is not obligatory for their survival. Yes, they have come to be able to tolerate, and sometimes even appreciate, the company of other cats, and also people. But “Do they need us?” Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic head Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM, asks rhetorically.
Q: My cat used to be incredibly fastidious, licking herself until her coat gleamed. But that has dropped off precipitously, and we can’t figure out why. She is on the older side — we think about 9 or 10 — but certainly not near the end of life. Why would a cat who used to be so particular about self-grooming let herself go?
Sounds, scents, sights — all of these are much different for a cat than a person because they hear, smell, and see things very differently than we do. Moreover, they often perceive things through their senses more acutely than we do, meaning that what’s just right for us may be too much for them. Here’s a look at some of the differences, along with how to accommodate your cat’s exquisitely tuned sensorial attributes so that your pet will feel more comfortable and relaxed in your home.
We know cats are sleek and graceful, but the way they move or even just hang out can look a little, well, odd. Here’s why they do it.