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BEHAVIOR

(Think Like a Cat#3) Charging the Door

Whether or not your cat is allowed outdoors, you certainly dont want him charging past you as youre opening the door.

You should never greet or pet your cat right at the front door (or whatever door you use to enter and exit). If you call your kitty the moment you walk in the door, he may begin to wait there as the time of your arrival grows closer. The sound of your key in the lock could be his cue to slip through as you open the door. Instead of greeting your cat right at the door, walk over to a spot a few feet inside the entrance and make that the official greeting area. Ignore…

Taming Feline Aggression

When a cat rolls over on his back, exposing his tummy, it looks like an invitation. Many cats like having their tummies stroked - right up until the second they dont. Many owners are shocked when their cat, who had just been purring in enjoyment, is suddenly gripping their forearm with needle-sharp claws, or even sinking in teeth. This can be confusing, not to mention painful.

Cat Bites: Serious Business

The most common victims of cat bites are women, the elderly and children. Almost all cat bites occur when a cat is trapped, cornered, startled or restrained. 75 percent of cat bites involve the face, hands or arms. (Kids tend to get facial bites.) However, even with estimates ranging from 400,000-750,000 bites per year, cat bites account for only a small fraction of all mammalian bites in the US. …

Irreconcilable Differences in a multi-cat home?

A certain amount of conflict and discord is natural in any group living situation. Owners of even the most mellow and congenial cat families know just how quickly conflict can erupt as group members experience the normal ups and downs of life. Wise owners understand how powerfully even seemingly insignificant changes can affect their cats and disrupt the harmony of the entire group. They also know how important it is to address the effects of changes…

Positive Steps in solving multi-cat dilemmas

Giving extra time and patience. Some cats will just take longer than others to adjust to a new home, cat group and living situation. If your introductions are going poorly, give your cats the benefit of the doubt, and give them more time. At the same time, take positive steps to increase your chances of success: …

Help! My Siamese Cat Bites Me!

I have a 2-year-old, neutered male seal-point Siamese. Ever since we adopted him, he has been mean, often biting and scratching. In the past year, he has calmed down somewhat, but every now and then when he is sitting in my lap, he suddenly attacks and bites me really hard. A couple of months ago, I had to make an appointment with my doctor because I developed cat scratch fever. Even with medication, my arm still bothers me. Why is my cat acting so weird and so aggressive? We got him when he was a kitten, and we are very kind to him.

How to Stop Cats from Eating Non-Food Items

Frustrated and perplexed as to why her cat Caleb was chewing and ingesting non-food items, Stephanie Billingham, PhD, a psychologist, came to me for help. She couldnt seem to stop this 4-year-old blue point Siamese from eating part of the cuff from a pair of pants, chewing holes in socks and t-shirts and curiously, consuming wrappers.

To Hire a Cat Sitter, or Not to Hire?

[From Tufts April 2012 Issue]

How guilty should you feel when you leave your cat alone for a few days?

If your cat is healthy, not very, say the veterinarians at Tufts Cummings School. "You can't be a prisoner in your own home. You can't never go on holiday," maintains the head of our Animal Behavior Clinic, Nicholas Dodman, BVMS. Even Dr. Dodman's own tabby, Griswold, who is deaf but likes to cuddle and comes running to be tickled and petted when he feels the vibration of footsteps, has to make do without housemates when the Dodmans are out of town for a couple of days.

Fellow Tufts vet Linda Ross, DVM, agrees that a cat in good health can be left alone sometimes. "Some of my cats do get lonesome," she says. "And they like to…

When Our Cats Grieve

Simply put, grief is a reaction that is caused by an abrupt absence of someone or something that provided pleasure, comfort, happiness and reassurance. Much like we do, cats will also grieve following a profound loss. But do cats mourn in the same way as humans? Is their grief as intense as ours? Since we cannot enter into the cats mind, it is virtually impossible to emphatically answer this question. But cats do display their grief…

Litter Box Lessons Revisited

A pile of cat feces in the corner of the dining room, urine-soaked carpets in a guest room closet - such discoveries get too many cats kicked outdoors for good, or surrendered to shelters. But it doesnt have to be that way. In their scrub-desert habitats in northern Africa, our cats ancestors buried their waste in the ubiquitous soft, sandy soil. Most cats take readily to a properly-prepared substitute for the desert sands: a litter box. Because…

Ask the Doctor: November 2015

I would like to know if you can provide some specific information regarding Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome. I have a cat affected with this and most of what Ive read is redundant. I am curious about the best way to introduce a new cat into the home when you have a resident cat that suffers from FHS.

Is Your Cat Too Clingy?

When youre walking around the house, hes weaving tight figure eights around your legs. If youre trying to take a catnap or watch some prime-time television, hes happily draped across your neck, purring away. When you close the bedroom door at night to get some well-deserved sleep, he claws at the door and wails piteously. And hes always between you and whatever youre trying to read or eat.