Multicathousehold

Short Takes: October 2015

Students and volunteer citizen scientists, using motion-sensitive cameras at more than 2,100 sites in six Eastern states and the city of Raleigh, N.C., collected millions of images of domestic cats roaming outdoors at night. The result of North Carolina States exhaustive analysis of the images showed that the cats avoided parks and protected areas frequented by coyotes. Instead, they remained in residential areas, small urban forests and city trails.

Maybe Home Environment Isn’t To Blame

Research on pica in cats has found that the behavior does not appear to be the result of a suboptimal environment, early weaning or increased appetite. A report on the Characterization of pica and chewing behaviors in privately owned cats: a case-control study, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery and based on research at the University of Montreal Veterinary Teaching Hospital, sought answers about pica via owner questionnaires.

Studies Suggest Both Biology and Mental Health Figure in Hoarding

You want a fifth or 10th cat, so does that make you an animal hoarder? Actually, hoarding is not related to the absolute number of animals, despite the common perception, says Randall Lockwood, Ph.D., the ASPCAs senior vice president of forensic sciences and anti-cruelty projects. Someone with 50 animals may provide perfectly adequate daily care and veterinary care. Theirs is not an animal cruelty case.

So You Want to Add One More Cat?

If youre debating whether to bring home a new cat, you may stop and wonder: Do I dare add one more? We love animals, but the point comes when we should stop adding them to our households and hearts, whether due to our current pet population, expense, time involved in caring for multiple pets or this basic point about feline nature:Cats are mostly happy as only cats, says animal behaviorist Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, Ph.D., emeritus professor at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.It may seem that a second cat could provide companionship for your lone feline or that a new kitten could enliven an old cat, but Dr. Houpt cautions, If you have a cat, there are lots of things you can do to improve the quality of his life - but getting another cat is not one of them.

Doing The Math: 1 Cat + 2 Dogs = Harmony

When it comes to household harmony, animal behaviorist Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, Ph.D., emeritus professor at Cornell, offers these rules of thumb: One cat per household works best.

Why Do They … Chase Lasers Beams?

Cats love to chase lasers’ points of light, twirling, leaping, pouncing. They engage in the behavior with gleeful abandon for one simple reason: “The jumpy, erratic movement of the light beam can stimulate predatory-like play behavior,” says Pamela Perry, DVM, Ph.D., a lecturer in animal behavior at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Why Do They … Chase Lasers Beams?

Cats love to chase lasers’ points of light, twirling, leaping, pouncing. They engage in the behavior with gleeful abandon for one simple reason: “The jumpy, erratic movement of the light beam can stimulate predatory-like play behavior,” says Pamela Perry, DVM, Ph.D., a lecturer in animal behavior at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Smart Tactics to Stop Destructive Chewing

Pipper loved to lick plastic and crawled eagerly into every plastic bag she could find. But the longhaired black cat’s fascination with plastic eventually progressed to a big problem — chewing the plastic and ingesting tiny pieces to the alarm of her owner, Pamela Perry, DVM, Ph.D., a lecturer in animal behavior at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. While some dogs chew sundry objects from shoes to sofa legs, cats tend to focus on houseplants, thread, string, yarn and electrical cords. Some, though, like Pipper, chew plastic, and Dr. Perry reached a turning point with the threat to her cat’s health. Ingested plastic could lead to an intestinal blockage. “I had to make sure that all plastic bags were put away,” she says. “They had to be well-hidden or she would find a way to get them.”

Ask Elizabeth: April 2013

First, I think it is great that your friend is taking advantage of the joy that a service dog can bring into people’s lives, and I want to give a shout out to my dedicated canine friends and the wonderful people who work so hard to make their mission possible. These dogs are awesome and are, for the most part, very carefully screened with respect to behavior, so I doubt there will be any problems with the dog having difficulty with the cats. It wouldn’t hurt, however, to speak with the foundation providing the dog to see if it has advice regarding the introduction.

Ask Elizabeth: December 2011

Dear Elizabeth: I have a five-year-old indoor cat, Baby, with whom I’ve shared my home ever since she was born. I’ve never had any other companion animals, so it’s been just Baby and me for all that time. Here’s my problem: I recently became engaged and at some point in the near future will be moving into my fiance’s home. He has two cats — both females. One is just about Baby’s age and the other is probably about seven years old. Neither one of them is very friendly. Naturally, I’m concerned about moving Baby into this new environment. I’m afraid that the animals will fight and hurt each other. I’ll appreciate any advice on how I can best address this dilemma.

Ask Elizabeth: July 2011

Dear Elizabeth: I have four cats in my household and one of them, Tabitha, has a tendency to chew and eat plastic. Ive caught her chewing on plastic bags that Ive carried in from the store, as well as items in the basement that are wrapped in plastic. I worry that she could choke to death or hurt herself somehow. Why does she do this? One of my other cats is aggressive and chases her. Tabitha is afraid and will not fight back; could her plastic obsession be stress-related? Any ideas of what I can do?

Is It Really a Mothers Love?

If anyone has learned to accept the empty nest syndrome, its the mother cat who watches her kittens leave one by one by at about 12 weeks or so - either through adoption or by wandering off to fend for themselves. So its interesting to see how mother cats and their kittens behave when they remain together in the same household. Sibling Rivalry? "The least amount of conflict occurs with cats that have been brought up together," says Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, the emeritus James Law Professor of Animal Behavior at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine. "Feline siblings often become friends in the household."