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It’s Happy Cat Month. How Will You Let Your Cat Know?

In some circles, September is considered Happy Cat Month. Of course, you always try to make sure your cat is happy. But what can you do to emphasize your desire to bring her joy? Here are some ideas. Fresh grass indoors. Your indoor cat doesn’t have an opportunity to chew on grass, but if she […]

Ways Not to Modify Your Cat’s Behavior

You can’t keep your cat from jumping on the counter, but you can get him to jump back down by spraying him with a water pistol. Still, we advise against it. It’s an aversive tactic that involves physical punishment. Not only will it fail to teach your cat what you expect of him, it will […]

Do We See What They See?

Cats can see better than we can in the dim light of dawn and dusk, but the anatomy of their eyes puts them at a color deficit. Like a colorblind person, they are not good at distinguishing red from green because their eyes don’t have the number or types of cones to differentiate those hues. […]

If You Die Before Your Cat

Because cats live an average of about 18 years while our life- span averages closer to 80, we don’t generally expect to go first. Yet more than a half million pets are orphaned each year due to an owner’s death or disability, according to at least one estimate. Shelters are full of pets whose owners […]

Dear Doctor August 2022

Helping at a shelter — virtually Q: I would love to be able to volunteer at my local cat shelter, but my schedule makes it really hard to get over there when they need me. Is there anything else I can do to help that doesn’t involve physically being on site? Johnna Owens Taos, New […]

Dementia, Heart Disease, Less Likely Among Cat Owners

Death from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia increased by 16 percent during the COVID pandemic, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. But people with pets, including those with cats, may be protected from cognitive decline. Investigators from the Universities of Michigan and Florida made the finding when they combed through data on almost 1,400 […]

Allergic to Love

Cats are thought to be the third most common cause of indoor allergies (after pollen and house dust mites). Yet few allergic cat owners are willing to part with their pets. In one online survey, 84 percent of respondents reported that they would ignore advice to give up their cat to help manage allergies.  The […]

Dear Doctor: Human emotions, or just emotions

Q. You often hear that you’re not supposed to anthropomorphize and that you’re guilty of a scientific error if you do. But what does that mean, exactly? Pippa Merta St. Louis, Missouri Dear Ms. Merta, A. To anthropomorphize is to attribute human emotions to cats (and other animals). For decades it was said that doing […]

What Not to Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Cat

Which of the following things should you not say to someone whose beloved cat has died? A) He’s not suffering anymore. B) At least you got to have him for as long as you did. C) You gave him a good life. D) Give it some time. E) Better not to say any of the […]
Jackie Dobrovolny wonders if her two cats, Ebby (left) and Pumpkin, can be left alone at home longer than a cat by itself.

Dear Doctor: Can two cats be left alone longer than one?

Q.  In your article “Home Alone, But For How Long?” (November 2021 Catnip), you said that even though the rule of thumb for how long a cat can be safely left alone is 24 hours, cat owners should definitely have someone at least come in to check on and pay attention to their pet two […]
He’ll need attention after the baby comes, too.

Baby on the Way? Start Adjusting Your Cat Today!

You or someone in your household is expecting — congratulations! But don’t expect your cat to be thrilled. A lot of cats do not accept change very well, and a new addition to the home who will sometimes be noisy and shift the focus of attention may not be taken in stride by your pet. […]
He’ll need attention after the baby comes, too.

Baby on the Way? Start Adjusting Your Cat Today!

You or someone in your household is expecting — congratulations! But don’t expect your cat to be thrilled. A lot of cats do not accept change very well, and a new addition to the home who will sometimes be noisy and shift the focus of attention may not be taken in stride by your pet. […]