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BEHAVIOR

When Youre Advised to Deliver Fluids Subcutaneously

The day may very well come when your cat cannot take in enough water by mouth or urinates excessively, and your veterinarian tells you to combat the threat of dehydration through your pets skin. After all, a number of diseases that befall cats can rob their bodies of fluid. These include diabetes, liver disease, pancreatitis, and chronic kidney failure. Chronic kidney disease alone affects half of all cats between the ages of 10 and 15 and almost 70 percent of cats over age 15, according to research conducted at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Water Cats: Some Cats Love to Swim and Play in Water

Despite their reputation for liking only dry land, a surprising number of domesticated cats not only tolerate but love pawing water or even swimming. Some like to play in standing water; others are fascinated by running water and prefer to drink from a faucet rather than a cat dish.

Stress: a Big Reason Your Cat May Be Urinating Outside the Box

Last month we covered litter box aversion, one of the main behavioral reasons cats wont go where theyre supposed to. This month we will cover another behavioral reason for a cats failing to urinate where she should - stress. Its something to consider if your veterinarian says theres no medical cause for the problem and if litter box aversion has also been ruled out.

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.

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.

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.