Mind of Your Cat

December 2015 Issue

Cats' Behavior Affected Crucially Early in Life

Neglect, abuse, isolation and nutritional deficiency are among factors adversely affecting early behavior.

Most of us recognize obvious signs of stress and anxiety in our cats — taking up residence under the bed being high on the list — but we may not be aware of more subtle signs, such as lowering the head and eyes, lifting a paw and staring at middle distance. These are among nearly 40 behaviors that may require intervention, according to the American Animal Hospital Association’s “2015 Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines,” published this past summer. “Behavioral problems affect more dogs and cats than any other medical condition and are one of the most common causes of euthanasia, relinquishment or abandonment of pets,” the association says, adding that their management is essential in veterinary practice. It urges “a culture of kindness” that avoids the use of forced restraint.

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