Dear Doctor – February 2015

QMy five-year-old male, neutered indoor-only cat is very timid and shy. We adopted him when he was about seven weeks old. Two years ago, we rescued a stray - a spayed female who is three.

A New Way to Think

From when I was a very little girl, I was lucky to always have cats in my life. But I was a city kid, and growing up in an apartment meant that my family didnt have a big house on sprawling property, complete with numerous critters and barn cats.

Feline Diseases Contagious to Humans

You love your cat dearly, and youd like to think that she feels the same way about you. Unfortunately, some feline diseases stemming from bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections can affect humans as well cats. And according to Linda Ross, DVM, an associate professor of small animal medicine at the Cummings School, several of these ailments - known collectively as zoonotic diseases - can be passed between cats and humans.

Why cats sleep so much; do our cats rely on us for guidance?

The French proverb, Let sleeping cats lie, is advice that cats have taken to heart. As a cat owner, youve probably watched your pet sleep the day away - with plenty of need for rest come nighttime, too. Is there something wrong with your cat?

Helping the Hoarder

When people hear about an animal hoarding situation, often the initial reaction is to have an image of crazy cat ladies who collect needy, homeless animals and dont know when to stop. Many of these people instantly take pity on the rescued animals out of concern for their welfare. But they often dont consider what may have prompted the hoarder to start this behavior - or what role these animals actually play in their lives.

Identification Methods to Help Bring Pets Home

Several identification methods are available that can improve your chances of recovering your lost cat. The more of these measures you take, the better, emphasize experts. The three most frequently used methods are collars with ID tags, tattoos and microchips.

Smart Ways to Look for Your Lost Cat

If your cat has been absent from your home for 24 hours, its time to take action. To recover a missing cat, experts recommend these steps:

A Health Ally: Therapy Cats

Therapy cats are now appearing in greater numbers at hospitals and senior care facilities. Some cats are brought to the facilities in planned visits, while others permanently reside there. And their presence is now demonstrating that their therapeutic value outweighs any outdated concerns about health risks to patients.

Therapy Pet Resources

To learn more about involving cats and other pets in therapy programs at hospitals, schools and other places, check out these organizations:

Picking the right music to soothe the savage beast

According to a study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, cats may ignore human music - but they are highly responsive to music that is written especially for them.

And Heres …. Tony!

Like most of us, I have a serious love for kittens. Ive resisted the idea of adopting one because I know that two would be better - and easier, in some ways - but I strongly resist becoming a four-cat household at present.

The Wonderful World of Cat Shows

Are you thinking about entering your cat in a show, but not quite sure how to begin? Joan Miller - CFA All Breed Judge Emeritus, Chair of the CFA Outreach and Education Committee, CFA Board Member and former breeder of CFA National Award winning Abyssinian cats for 20 years - offers some advice. The first thing to do is to visit a local cat show as a spectator, suggests Miller. This gives you the opportunity to view a wide variety of different breeds, to watch the judging and to talk with some exhibitors. This is an excellent way to get familiar with what a cat show is really all about.