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How to Make Your Cat Smarter

People tend to rate their cat’s intelligence by how much their pet interacts with them. Cats deemed smart are often those who spend time connecting with their people. But it may not just be a perception on our part.

The Meaning of “Veterinarian Recommended” on Cat Food

You know those television commercials that have a dentist in a lab coat recommending a particular toothpaste? Well, the marketing ploy has drifted over to products meant for our pets, in a manner of speaking. A number of cat food manufacturers have a burst in large letters on the front of their packages that says the product is “Veterinarian Recommended.”

New Guidelines for Helping an Itchy Cat

A healthy cat scratches himself for a total of about one minute per day, and he spends about one hour altogether grooming himself by licking his coat. Much more than that, and there’s a good chance something is wrong.

Older Cat Less Active? Maybe Your Floors are Too Slippery

Laminate and tiled floors and even wood flooring can prove very slippery for an old cat who’s not as steady as she once was. And that, in turn, can make her less likely to be active. If your cat is avoiding a particular room or space in the house that she used to frequent, consider putting a runner there. You might be happily surprised to find her confidently making her way across. 

If Your Cat’s Ears Look Dirty, Don’t Clean Them!

You notice some gunk in one or both of your cat’s ears and are tempted to clean out the dirt. Don’t, especially not if the debris keeps accumulating, your pet’s ears smell bad, she’s scratching or swatting at them, or she keeps shaking or tilting her head. It means her ears are not just dirty. Something’s wrong that requires a veterinarian’s attention.

Can Cats Use Facial Expressions to Signal Friendliness to Other Cats?

There has been a fair amount of research on the faces cats make to communicate with people, along with research on their expressions when they are in pain. What hasn’t been well studied are their facial expressions to communicate their feelings to other cats.

Worried about dehydration

Q: I’m worried my cat is not drinking enough water. I never see her at the water bowl. She is on dry food. Should I try to switch her to canned food or other moist cat food that contains more water than dry?

cat depression

Mental illness in cats

Q: Is it possible for cats to have mental illness, or is it always just a matter of behavioral issues?

Download The Full February 2024 Issue PDF

  • Keep Your Cat from Climbing the Feline Ladder of Aggression
  • Morsels
  • The Brain-Bladder Connection in Cats Can Cause Disease
  • Interior Design with Your Cat in Mind
  • The Cat Myths that Won’t Die
  • Yet Another Reason Not to Let Your Cat Become (or Remain) Overweight
  • Sticking to a Routine is Critical for a Cat’s Health
  • Dear Doctor

Keep Your Cat from Climbing the Feline Ladder of Aggression

There are 12 steps on the Feline Ladder of Aggression, a graphic devised by veterinarian and behavior consultant Sally J. Foote, DVM. But a cat who is feeling particularly threatened can scale the entire ladder in little more than a second, Dr. Foote points out. And some cats will skip steps as they escalate and suppress their body language as they go, taking someone who is handling a stressed, frightened cat even more by surprise.

Avoiding Extreme Conformation in Your Bred Cat

In recent years, veterinarians have seen an increase in the popularity of pedigree cat breeds with extreme body shapes and features, such as flat faces or folded ears. Though these features may seem endearing or striking to pet owners, many are unaware of the associated health and welfare issues that can result in lifelong suffering. For instance, a very pushed in face (think of a Persian whose face is flatter than usual) can make it difficult for a cat to breathe comfortably, as well as lead to skin and eye problems. Folded ears are associated with a very serious condition known as Scottish Fold Disease, which affects a cat’s joints and makes getting around extremely painful.

How Delicious Is Your Cat?

If you haven’t yet met a cat named Marshmallow, Pumpkin, or Cinnamon, you will soon. Almost one in every seven cats is given a food-themed moniker, according to a database of more than 50,000 pet names. More cats are given food- or drink-themed names than dogs, in fact.