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BEHAVIOR

Training Your Cat to Use the Scratching Post

Scratching, for a kitten, is actually a means of climbing to higher ground. To a new cat owner, it may appear that you kitten has Velcro paws, as you watch him scale furniture, drapes, beds, and the clothes hanging in the closets. Take a deep breath and be patient. This phase will pass. Even though you kitten may do nothing with the post other than climb up and over the top, very soon he'll discover…

Can My Cat Train Me?

Your cat willtrain you - or drive you insane trying to do so. They have the ability to communicate their basic needs and desires - and trust me, communicate it they will. When you cat wants something from you, you'll know it. Cats usually use a form of behavior modification when they are trying to teach something to humans. Typically, they'll just keep getting in your way until they get what you want.

(Why Don’t Cats Go Bald #2) Can Cats “Speak” With Their Tails?

Tail expression is only a small part of a cat's vocabulary, but it is probably the easiest to comprehend for a new student of Felinese. A cat may signal a change in its attitude by flicking or just bending the tip of its tail. It's a great place to begin your mastery of catspeak. …

Why Do Cats Scratch?

Here is the reality: Scratching is a necessary action for your cat to keep its nails in good shape and to mark its territory. You can't eliminate it, but you can channel it.

Can I Train My Cat Not to Scratch?

You can teach a new cat new tricks. Sort of. Sometimes. It's worth trying. Young cats or newly adopted kittens can be trained to use a scratching post. But like training any animal to behave properly, it takes time and patience. You need to start with a good post, made of heavy hemp...

Dear Doctor – March 2016

Socializing the shy cat
Q For years, I adopted kitten siblings that required close to zero socialization to adjust to living in my home. However, the last four cats Ive adopted from shelters took a long time to feel comfortable enough to come out of hiding from under my bed or behind my sofa. I am happy to report that they are all now well adjusted and contented, but it did take some time.

Debunking 10 Feline Urban Legends

[From Tufts January 2010 Issue] [IMGCAP(1)] In past centuries, people invented fanciful explanations for cats mystifying behaviors. Modern science and common sense have debunked such notions as supernatural cats conspiring with witches. We know that cats have only one life, not nine. And black cats dont cause future bad luck by dashing across our paths. …

Home remodel safety tips for cats

[From Tufts January 2010 Issue] Cats crave consistency in the household routine. Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, veterinarian and director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, provides six tips aimed at keeping your cat safe and reducing the risk of unwanted behavior issues during a home remodeling project: …

Cats and Home Remodeling Projects

[IMGCAP(1)] [From Tufts January 2010 Issue] Before Dave and Jody Rundle embarked on a major home renovation project two years ago, the Santa Barbara, California, couple sat down and planned every step of the process - including a discussion on how to make life as stress-free as possible for their three cats, Izzy, Smudge and Blue. …

Dear Doctor – How Can I Quiet my Chatty Cat?

Please, I need help on what to do with my chatty cat, Bubba. He is 7 years old. My other cat, Melissa, is 8. Bubba has been a rascal ever since I brought him home. I have had cats for 30 years , but I am puzzled by Bubbas behavior because he talks all the time. …

Tail Talk in cats

Ever puzzled by what your cat is trying to tell you? Or wonder what her mood is? One way to communicate better with our cats is by learning how to interpret their body postures - especially the tail position.The versatile tail definitely does more than provide balance or act as a rudder for swim-minded cats. Cats use their tails to signal their moods.

Myth Buster: Cats and Water

[From Tufts March 2011 Issue] In spite of their reputation for tolerating only dry land, a surprising number of domesticated cats not only tolerate but love pawing water or swimming. Some like to play in standing water; others are fascinated by running water and prefer to drink from a faucet rather than a bowl. …

Senior Cat Stopped Using Litter Box

We have two wonderful 14-year-old cats who are sisters. In November, our veterinarian cleaned their teeth and discovered that the one named Julie had a bladder infection that was treated with an oral medication for two weeks. She lives a comfortable life, napping in a bed buddy located under our dining room table. She regularly uses the litter box located about 12 feet away.