Educational Articles

Cats + Behavior

  • If you are moving with a cat, there are some things to consider to reduce her anxiety, minimize problems, and help her settle in. Before you move, make sure she has adequate identification (a collar or microchip). Make the move to your new home with your cat in a safe, well-secured container, such as a cat carrier, to avoid danger of escape. On arrival at your new home, leave her in her carrier until a room has been unpacked and set up with familiar objects and furniture. Then make this 'her' room for the initial adjustment period. Cats are very territorial and may be reluctant to accept a new environment as their home. There are things you can do to help them settle in and see their home as 'home.' Give your cat lots of extra attention and petting during this adjustment period.

  • Picky eaters are often created by their humans offering too much variety of food. Cats can become picky eaters for medical reasons that need to be determined by your veterinarian. It is safe for an otherwise healthy cat to not eat for a few days; beyond this however, they can develop a possibly fatal condition called hepatic lipidosis. To decrease pickiness, having food available for only 30 minutes4-5 times a day can be beneficial. Human food should not be used as a diet as it will lead to nutrient deficiencies. Certain foods are okay to mix with cat food to make them more appealing but check with veterinarian before including these in your dog’s diet. Many cats work on their own schedule and prefer to eat very small amounts frequently (grazing).

  • Counterconditioning occurs when the pet's reaction (emotional response) to a stimulus is changed from one that is anxious or fearful to one that is positive and enjoyable. To accomplish this, favored rewards should be paired with each exposure to the stimulus.

  • Under-stimulation, an excess of unused energy, and lack of appropriate opportunities for play can lead to play-related aggression. This may be exhibited as overly rambunctious or aggressive play, which inadvertently leads to injuries to people.

  • Preparing your cat to travel to the vet is one of the most important investments you can make during the lifespan of your cat. Cats should visit the veterinary hospital at least once yearly. The smoother the experience goes, the least amount of stress both you and your cat will experience.

  • During the pandemic so many pet owners have been at home with their pets more than ever before. As we return to work and life outside the home after this period of constant connection, our pets may be at risk for developing or displaying signs of separation distress. If your pet is showing the signs listed here, tell your veterinary team right away. Try to avoid pairing specific actions and activities with infrequently leaving home. The goal is to prevent creating a link in the pet’s mind between departure cues and feelings of anxiety about being alone. When you are getting ready to leave, no drama, and the same when you return. Be calm, reassuring, and relaxed. Practice separations help assess if pets are comfortable being left alone. If you are not sure if your pet is comfortable alone, a video camera is a terrific tool to check in. If you are concerned your pet may have separation distress or separation anxiety, reach out to your veterinary team.

  • For most cats, a visit to the veterinarian is an overwhelming experience. Veterinarians recommend the use of a carrier for travel because it is the safest and most secure way to transport pets. You can help your cat get over the fear of a carrier by developing positive associations between the carrier and positive experiences. Safety is the most important consideration when transporting your cat. One of the most effective ways to decrease your cat’s anxiety level is to remain calm and relaxed during the visit.

  • Socialization is the process during which the kitten develops relationships with other living beings in its environment.

  • Deaf cats are virtually no different from other cats except for their hearing. They are trainable using visual cues and hand signals, it just takes a lot of practice and patience. Deaf cats rely on their senses of touch and sight to help them negotiate their environment. Creating lookout areas for your cat can help her feel more secure. Deaf cats should never be allowed outside on their own.

  • Weight loss in cats can be caused by many conditions including inadequate intake to meet energy requirements, poor quality nutrition, and many different medical conditions. Testing for weight loss starts with a thorough history and physical exam. If the cause of weight loss is not clear, then screening tests including a CBC, biochemistry, T4 testing, urinalysis, and fecal tests are performed to further investigate. Based on the results of these tests, more specific diagnostic tests such as imaging, bile acids, or ACTH stimulation may be needed to determine the reason for the weight loss.