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BEHAVIOR

Feline Landing Skills

Much like Olympic gymnasts, cats sport a keen sense of orientation when twisting in mid-air. The majority of the time, they land with all four feet touching the ground, but do not always escape injury from falls. Credit the cats flexible musculoskeletal system, righting reflex and a flying squirrel-like parachuting pose for enabling them to survive most falls. The cats ability to land safely is the result of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, explains…

How to Help Your Shy Cat

When it comes to cats, the term shy covers a lot of territory. Some shy cats are just very quiet and timid. Some get along well with their fellow felines, but want nothing to do with people; these people shy cats often flee or lash out when approached by humans. …

Dear Doctor – Housemates suddenly feuding

Letters to Tufts Veterinarians - Feline Aggression, Teeth Cleaning

Feline Agility: A Fun Hobby!

The truth is, you can herd cats. You can even get them to jump through hoops, weave around poles, climb ladders and scoot through tunnels. Its called feline agility. Its the most fun Ive had in ages - its a hoot, says Jill Archibald, a retired physical education teacher who is now the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) Feline Agility Coordinator. When you learn feline agility, it really helps you to develop a good relationship with…

How to Get Started with Agility Training for Your Cat

If your curiosity in feline agility is piqued, heres what to do next: You should visit the CFA websites feline agility page. Heres the link: http://agility.cfa.org/index.shtml. Be sure to check out the video of a kitten doing agility on a kitty-sized course - as well the five training videos. Try it at home. Get comfortable with your cat. Theres no need to create a real course now. Sit in a chair with a lure on a long stick,…

Cats Keeping Score

The goal of feline agility is for your cat to complete the 10-obstacle course, the right way, in the right order, as quickly as possible. You have five minutes in the ring. From the moment your cats paws touch the first step, until his front paws touch the floor after jumping through the hoop (the 10th obstacle), the stopwatch is on. Your cat starts out with 420 points, and loses one point for every second…

Sexual Aggression in Neutered Cats

Unless youre planning to breed your male cat, there are several very good reasons for you to have your pet sexually neutered at some point during the first six months or so of his life. Most importantly, the procedure will prevent his contributing to the worldwide problem of feline overpopulation. …

Here, Kitty, Kitty!

A study recently published in the journal Animal Cognition shows that cats appear to recognize the voices of their owners as opposed to the voices of other people. However, the study also concludes that the cats dont seem very much to care - showing little response in comparison to similar studies using dogs, who responded much more readily and with more pronounced behavior when they heard recordings of their owners voices. …

Why You Should Microchip Your Cat

Your cat may never leave the safety of your home. She may wear a collar with an ID tag. Even so, its a smart move to have your veterinarian implant a microchip, according to Emily McCobb, DVM, MS DACVAA, a clinical assistant professor at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. …

Want to Train Your Cat?

If youve ever been to Key Wests Mallory Square at sunset, youve probably seen Dominique LeForts trained cats jumping through hoops of fire. Sure, thats showy, but you can in fact teach your cat more useful tricks that dont run the risk of burning the house down. Wait just a minute, you may be thinking to yourself. Youve always been told that its impossible to train cats - and especially not to perform tricks. If thats…

Tips and Tools for Clicker Training Success

Before you begin a training session, teach your cat what the sound of the clicker means. Click and give a treat, click and give a treat. Repeat this 20 or 30 times until your cat springs to attention at the sound of the clicker. Now he knows that a click means good things are coming. Practice no more than two or three minutes at a time. Cats get bored quickly, and its best to leave off…

Dear Doctor May 2014

Letters to Tufts Veterinarians - Medication-related trauma