From the January 2017 Issue

Why Cats Climb Curtains and Scratch the Sofa

Why Cats Climb Curtains and Scratch the Sofa

Cats can seem soft and gentle, but beneath the fur and the purr are claws that can rip and teeth that can bite into furniture, clothing, carpet and more. Scratching is the most common type of feline destructive behavior, but it can also take other forms. “Cats may chew plants, climb curtains or knock over objects because they are playing and exploring, seeking owners’ attention, or trying to get outside,” says Pamela Perry, DVM, Ph.D.

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Current Issue

Batman the Four-Eared Cat Finds Fame and New Home

A black cat with four ears named Batman made national news only hours after being made available for adoption at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society in Pittsburgh. “Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a four-eared cat comes in the door!” says Hala Nuemah, shelter managing director.

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Why Cats Climb Curtains and Scratch the Sofa

Cats can seem soft and gentle, but beneath the fur and the purr are claws that can rip and teeth that can bite into furniture, clothing, carpet and more. Scratching is the most common type of feline destructive behavior, but it can also take other forms. “Cats may chew plants, climb curtains or knock over objects because they are playing and exploring, seeking owners’ attention, or trying to get outside,” says Pamela Perry, DVM, Ph.D.

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The Challenge of Long-term Steroids for Cats

Corticosteroids have proven effective in treating a variety of conditions from allergic reactions to brain disease, but they present a balancing act for both owners and veterinarians. Owners, faced with their cats’ experiencing any one of a long list of health problems, must weigh if long-term use is worth the risk of steroids’ side effects. At the same time, veterinarians must determine the lowest dose of medication to control the condition.

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Food Puzzles for Cats; Going to the Vet

In advocating environmental enrichment for indoor-only cats, it calls food puzzles “foraging devices.” The journal warns that, if not managed appropriately, indoor life can contribute to health problems such as obesity and diabetes, and problem behaviors such as house-soiling and attention seeking. Nutrition is the most pressing subject that cat owners want to discuss with the veterinarian, but the same survey, conducted at the end of summer, found that 60 percent of owners don’t regularly take their cat to the veterinarian.

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Cat Whiskers; Feline Heart Health

If you’ve ever been tempted to trim your cat’s whiskers, it would be best to resist the impulse. Whiskers are essential to cats’ navigation. They also serve as early warning systems and barometers of mood, says Leonie Richards, BVSC, head of general practice at the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital. The Winn Feline Foundation has awarded a grant to research at-home use of Holter monitoring in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

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Cat Scratch Fever Spikes in January

Hand-wrestling your kitten or newly adopted cat may seem like harmless play, but if either would happen to scratch you, you could develop an infection requiring treatment for cat scratch disease (CSD). This rare but potentially serious condition is estimated to affect about 12,500 people annually in the U.S., including 500 hospitalized for treatment. The incidence is higher than medical experts anticipated, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

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Ask Elizabeth: January 2017

I understand why you may want to use these devices for cleaning the air with three kitties in the house, and you are certainly not alone in doing this. Although kitties smell great to me, households with cats can sometimes generate odors that some people find objectionable, and there are a number of ways that owners choose to deal with this. Ionic air cleaners are one of the newer technologies that have been developed to address air pollutants.

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Download the Full January 2017 Issue PDF

Cat scratch disease is caused by the bacteria Bartonella henselae, which is spread primarily by fleas among cats and less commonly among dogs. Kittens and cats harboring flea infestations are especially prone to infection. In some cases, B. henselae may be transmitted from infected cats to humans via scratches or bite wounds. While most healthy people can recover, severe cases can affect the brain, eyes and heart. However, “There is no need to panic,” says cardiologist Bruce G. Kornreich, DVM, Ph.D., Associate Director for Education and Outreach at the Cornell Feline Health Center.

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