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BEHAVIOR

Turns Out Theyre Not Aloof After All

Popular thinking has it that, like Greto Garbo, cats vant to be alone. But a new study out of Oregon State University shows thats not true. In a two-pronged experiment involving pet cats and shelter cats, both types of felines spent much more time with a stranger sitting on the floor when that person called out to them and pet them as they approached, as opposed to having no attention paid to them.

Dear Doctor: Sexual aggression even though he is neutered

I have a male cat and a female cat, and normally they get along very well. The female has been spayed and the male neutered, so they kind of get on as brother and sister. Once in a while, though, the male jumps on the back of the female and bites her neck. Hissing and crying ensue, and I often have to break it up. Whats going on?

Dear Doctor: Ruining the furniture

My cat is driving me crazy with the scratching. She has ruined not just upholstered furniture but also the wooden legs on my piano. Would it really be inhumane to have her declawed? Shes a house cat and doesnt need her nails to defend herself outside.

Overcoming Litter Box Aversion

When a cat will not relieve herself in her litter box, its either for a medical or a behavioral reason.

When the cat gets into the dog food

If your cat gets into your dogs food here and there, its not something to be alarmed about. But dog food is most certainly not appropriate as the mainstay of a cats diet and should never be fed instead of cat food. In fact, a dog could much more easily get by on cat food than a cat on dog food (although both cats and dogs should be fed diets prepared with their own species in mind). Here are some of cats unique dietary needs that make dog food the wrong - and unsafe - choice as a cats meat and potatoes, so to speak.
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Purring Has More Than One Meaning

Many cat lovers assume felines purr only when theyre content. And while its certainly true that a cat basking in the sun, half on her back, might purr as an expression of contentment, she might also purr when shes afraid or in pain, say, during labor or when she has experienced physical trauma. The low frequency of the vibrations inside her body can ease breathing and is even thought by some to help to heal injuries.
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Is the Pica a Medical or a Behavioral Issue?

Does your cat lick or devour non-food items while displaying passionate interest in those objects? Is he eating nylon stockings or chomping down on paper towels?

Biting and Scratching? Recognize the Trigger Signs

Do you have a cat who will bite or scratch, seemingly out of nowhere? Rest assured its not out of nowhere. Our enchanting pets have their reasons. We just have to learn what those reasons are so that we can be prepared to avoid triggering an aroused or anxious cat into a harmful response. Cat bites and scratches can have serious consequences for loving owners. (See box.)

Anxious Cat? Try Music

Were all looking for that special bond that allows a cat to fall asleep in our lap, or initiate play. If that bond seems to be missing between you and your pet, she might be suffering from anxiety. And music might be just the thing to take the edge off and soothe her anxious mind, says the Head of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM.

Dear Doctor: Stoner Cats

Q. Just what is it about catnip that gets cats high? And why do they go from being so intrigued by catnip to bored by it so quickly? Joe Easterbrook Eau Claire, Wisconsin Dear Mr. Easterbrook, A. Not just pets but also lions and tigers and other big cats are very susceptible to a volatile oil in catnip called nepetalactone. When the odor hits the nose and the nose alerts the brain, they exhibit behaviors common to females in…

Walk This Way

A cat, a giraffe, and a camel walk into a bar…in exactly the same way. These are the only three species who move the front and back legs on one side, then the front and back legs on the other.

Play Therapy for Our Pets

Aprevalent myth about house cats is that felines are low-maintenance pets (or an even worse assumption: no-maintenance pets!). Perhaps their reputation as easy keepers is based on the idea that cats require far less attention than canines; but this misconception is actually far from the truth.