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Fostering a Cat When You Already Have One

Perhaps you’ve thought about saving a cat facing euthanasia at an overcrowded shelter by taking it in until a permanent home can be found, or fostering a cat for a rescue group that doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar facility to house it. But you’ve nixed the idea for fear that your own cat would hate sharing […]

The Way Cats Mourn When a Fellow Cat Dies

One of your cats dies. How does your other cat feel about it? Is he wondering where his housemate has gone and when she’s coming back? Is he taking it in stride? Is he beside himself with grief? He can’t tell you in words, but there are a number of other ways he can make […]

When One Cat “Bullies” Another

One of your cats appears to be lording it over another one. She won’t let him near his food bowl and growls at him if he so much as tries to cross her path, while the cat under assault spends a lot of time hiding, doesn’t try to claim what’s rightfully his, and avoids eye […]

How Cats Point — If You’re 
Paying Attention

When people (and chimpanzees) want to draw your attention to something, they point with a finger. But what if you’re a species that doesn’t have hands per se? If you’re a cat, you use your eyes, looking successively back and forth at the object and the person whose attention you want to get. Researchers made […]

Dear Doctor: July 2022

To sleep, perchance to pounce Q: This is my first cat, and he seems to sleep so much of the time. Is that normal? Annette Slepian Plainville, Massachusetts Dear Ms. Slepian, A: Yes, it’s probably normal. Cats naturally sleep about 17 hours a day, on average — fully two thirds of their lives. But we […]

The Five Pillars of a Healthy Feline Environment

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) speak of the “five pillars of a healthy feline environment.” Are these pillars up in your home? Pillar 1. A safe place. “For a cat, says the AAFP and ISFM, “a safe place is a private and secure area, often […]

The cat attacks me “out of nowhere”

Sometimes my cat seems perfectly relaxed but then bites or scratches me out of nowhere — and it really hurts! What is that about? Morrigan Hawke Taos, New Mexico Dear Ms.  Hawke, Your cat is not lashing out at you out of nowhere. Cats often use their teeth or claws on people when they are […]

Does Your Cat Have ADHD?

Typical scenario in your home: Your cat lets out a yowl before biting the couch, abruptly shifts her focus to digging her claws into a nearby rug, then follows with a running leap onto the dining room table. You know it’s not the “Zoomies,” that sudden burst of energy many cats exhibit in the early […]

It’s Not Out Of Spite

You come home after being out all day to find your cat has urinated on your bed. Was she getting back at you for being left alone? “Clients tell me all the time that their cats act out of spite,” says Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM, the head of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic. “But spite is […]

Are the Cats in Your Home Part of the Same Social Group?

“Cats are solitary survivors,” as both the American Academy of Feline Practitioners and the International Society for Feline Medicine point out. “They need to have free access to key environmental resources without being challenged by other cats….” That said, in a multi-cat household, two or more cats may perceive themselves to be part of the […]

Cat Likes the Laptop

A number of people have written to tell us that their cat likes to sit on something they’re trying to look at: a newspaper, a computer keyboard, whatever. Take it as a compliment. When a cat comes between you and the thing you’re interested in, she becomes the thing you’re interested in. That is, she’s telling […]

Your Cat Is Talking. 
Are You Listening?

Cats don’t have a language center in their brains, which means they don’t communicate with words per se. But their vocalizations have meanings. If you listen carefully, you can tell whether your cat is hungry, angry, feeling affectionate, impatient, or in pain. Here’s a rundown. Meow. Cats don’t meow to each other, unless they’re kittens […]