Dear Doctor: Name Game

Do cats know their own names? It seems like sometimes my cat recognizes her name - shell turn her head slightly or look at me when I call out to her. But other times, saying her name makes no difference. She acts like Im not in the room.

You Want Another Shelter Cat?

The primary reason cats are given up to animal shelters is unfulfilled expectations, reports the American Veterinary Medical Association. You may have wanted a lap cat and instead brought home one that prefers to prowl, or hide. Or you may have fancied a retiring cat who pretty much just likes to lounge, but got a boisterous one instead. Thats why you really want to make an informed decision when deciding on a new feline. Choosing completely on impulse rather than on some knowledge of the cats temperament wont serve you, and it definitely wont serve your pet.

Who Will Take Care of Your Cat If You Cant?

Sometimes pets are discovered in a persons home days after a tragedy such as an illness or accident that sends the owner to the hospital, or after the persons death, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Because cats have shorter lifespans than we do, we generally expect them to go first and dont make arrangements for their well-being. But because we love our pets, we should plan for the unanticipated. Heres how, according to the Humane Society.

Managing Territorial Aggression in a Multi-Cat Household

Cats are by nature territorial animals. They work hard in the wild to carve out their own space because, as solitary predators, they rely on their own abilities to catch prey rather than acting in groups. They also try to avoid chance encounters with other cats in order to sidestep fighting and injury. What that means is that even if two cats claim the same territory and forage in the same general vicinity, they dont forage at the same time.

Why It Takes Patience to Teach a Cat Tricks

When it comes to teaching tricks to a cat, it isnt that theyre not smart or cant learn, says the head of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM. They actually can be quite good learners. But you have to teach them how to learn.

Litter Boxes to Suit Every Cats Preferences

Kicked litter, spraying, onerous clean-up of not only the box but also the surrounding area…no wonder litter boxes are often a source of vexation for cat owners. But what if you could find a model that best suits your cats proclivities, making her elimination time easier and more pleasant - which in turn could make your life more pleasant as well?

Dear Doctor: Catnip Concerns

Is it really okay to give your cat catnip? My husband and I are teetotalers and also would never smoke marijuana, so Im wondering if its okay to make my cat high. He does seem to like it and I dont want to take away something he enjoys, but am I inadvertently turning him into a drug addict, with attendant harmful effects? Also, is it just plain wrong?

Dear Doctor: Cat eyes

I think one of the things that makes cats so attractive is their large eyes. But are they really large, or do they just seem that way because of their relatively small heads?

Why Writing an Obituary For Your Cat May Be a Good Idea

People who lose a cat often experience what social workers have called disenfranchised grief, says veterinarian Karen Fine, a graduate of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts. By which she means that the grief one feels upon losing a pet often is not considered socially acceptable and is given short shrift by others. Youre still upset? people will ask cavalierly, Dr. Fine says. That was a couple of weeks ago. They dont realize that people often have a closer bond with their cat than they do with many of the other loved ones in their lives, caring for their pet every single day and developing a daily rhythm through feeding the animal, perhaps sleeping in the bed with her, enjoying quiet kneading sessions, goofy antics, and being greeted by their pet when coming home from work.

Dear Doctor: Dandruff flakes

My cat has always been a fastidious groomer but has developed dandruff. Are the flakes something I should be concerned about?

Feline-Focused Vacations

Tourists who enjoy far-flung locales from Roman ruins to the palm trees of Hawaii, but who miss their snuggly, purring companions while traveling, can now have it all. Vacation spots around the globe offer opportunities for petting, cooing over, and connecting with cats. Some even permit adoption, opening up the possibility for the best souvenir ever. Heres a sampling of cat-themed travel destinations.

Can Your Cat Become a Therapy Cat?

Youve most likely heard of therapy dogs, who offer comfort to hospital patients, stressed out college students, children with disabilities, and others in need. But therapy cats? Yes, therapy cats spread cheer to strangers, too - and these interactions not only enrich the lives of the people they visit but also those of the cats themselves.