Multicathousehold

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."

Two’s Company — Sometimes

Cats are naturally solitary creatures; in addition, they are also naturally independent and self-sufficient — traits that we alter and/or suppress when we domesticate them. The idea of a second cat can be very alluring: "One cat is so entertaining and such a wonderful companion … two would be twice the fun!" Or, "I want to do my part to ease the burden on my local shelter and give one more cat a good home." These are common thoughts for cat owners and may, in fact, be true; however, the decision to add a second feline family member should not be taken lightly. A second cat can either add joy and companionship, or it can add strife and mayhem.

Twos Company – Sometimes

Cats are naturally solitary creatures; in addition, they are also naturally independent and self-sufficient - traits that we alter and/or suppress when we domesticate them. The idea of a second cat can be very alluring: "One cat is so entertaining and such a wonderful companion … two would be twice the fun!" Or, "I want to do my part to ease the burden on my local shelter and give one more cat a good home." These are common thoughts for cat owners and may, in fact, be true; however, the decision to add a second feline family member should not be taken lightly. A second cat can either add joy and companionship, or it can add strife and mayhem.

Make Safe Cat-Dog Introductions

Some folks are "dog people," while others have an affinity for cats. But what do you do when enthusiasts of both persuasions share the same home? Despite the conventional wisdom that dogs and cats cant peacefully coexist, both species can inhabit the same space without the fur flying. However, introducing a cat into a dog-centric home requires planning, patience and a commitment to the process. How long it takes to successfully integrate a new cat with a dog depends on the situation, says Katherine Houpt, VMD, PhD, board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and emeritus professor of animal behavior in Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine. "It can take anywhere from days to weeks, and it varies a lot with the dogs reaction," she says. "I think its important to increase exposure gradually when doing an introduction so you can monitor both animals reactions. That usually happens over a number of days."

Ask Elizabeth: October 2010

My main concern is that Buster, a fierce hunter of mice, will bring about an early demise to any small pets we bring home. Do you have any tips on keeping Guinea pigs (or other small creatures, since Im sure that, once we bring home one, others will follow) safe from cats in the home? And will these precious little beings be stressed, living in the home of a proud hunter? I wouldnt want them to live an unhappy life!

Ask Elizabeth: February 2010

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?

Ten Ways to Go Green

It should come as no surprise that Mother Nature is on the verge of taking a permanent sick day. After all, harmful climate changes due to greenhouse gases, air and water pollution, and the destruction of natural habitats are putting our planet and its inhabitants - both two- and four-legged - in peril. Hopefully, many of us have begun to make some changes in our daily lives to help reverse the damage done to, well, everything. But what role can our cats play in being good stewards of our beleaguered planet? There are many practical ways to reduce your felines carbon pawprint, which include switching to a corn or wheat-based cat litter and recycling cat food containers instead of throwing them in the trash. Get a jump start on Earth Day (April 22) by incorporating the following tips into your daily routine. Start out slowly if you wish by trying one or two new tips each week. Encourage your friends, family members and co-workers to join in your quest for a sustainable future. Youll find that its not only fun and easy to "go green," but youll see that you can make a positive and lasting impact on our world, which will please Mother Nature.

Ask Elizabeth: 12/08

I do believe that CatWatch readers are the most kind-hearted souls on earth! Thank you for wanting to help these little creatures. Its very common for female cats to bring home prey. Mother cats will first bring home dead animals to their young kittens, teaching them to eat prey animals. When the kittens are a bit older, the moms will bring home wounded animals, and will show the youngsters how to kill. Its possible that Marley is attempting to teach you how to hunt. The best thing that you can do when presented with an injured wild animal is to call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for advice and assistance. Many well-meaning people are especially tempted to keep baby animals and care for them at home. Keeping wild animals - except to transport them to a wildlife rehabilitator - is against state and federal laws for lots of reasons. Many wild animals, even tiny babies, can transmit diseases to humans or other pets. Diseases, parasites or injuries may be difficult to detect and to treat, and each species requires specialized care.

A Mother’s 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 stay together in the same household. "The least amount of conflict occurs with cats that have been brought up together," says Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, the James Law Professor of Animal Behavior at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine. "Feline siblings often become friends in the household." But staying together in a small area, such as inside a home, is not the usual course of events for adolescent cats, says Dr. Houpt. Friction can occur. There may be skirmishes for social ranking among cats, especially the males. Most of these conflicts involve some threatening posturing, but usually dont result in all-out fights. Eventually, one cat will probably assume an "alpha" position in the hierarchy, while the others become content to sit on a lower rung on the social ladder and maintain the peace.

Are Your Cats Compatible Companions?

Once upon a time, cats were considered to be solitary creatures. Since they hunted alone rather than in packs, it was assumed that they preferred to be alone. As it turns out, some cats do indeed avoid the company of others. Yet even more cats clearly choose to remain close to fellow felines. They snuggle and groom and maintain proximity even when there are plenty of comfortable, safe resting places nearby. Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to predict whether an individual kitten will mature into a cat that seeks rather than shuns companionship. When two kittens are adopted together, particularly when they are siblings, the expectation is that they will benefit from one another. Initially, most kittens do play together, groom one another and share a bed. Even as their second birthday passes, all may seem well.

Two’s Company -Sometimes

Cats are naturally solitary creatures; in addition, they are also naturally independent and self-sufficient - traits that we alter and/or suppress when we domesticate them. The idea of a second cat can be very alluring: "One cat is so entertaining and such a wonderful companion … two would be twice the fun!" Or, "I want to do my part to ease the burden on my local shelter and give one more cat a good home." These are common thoughts for cat owners and may, in fact, be true; however, the decision to add a second feline family member should not be taken lightly. A second cat can either add joy and companionship, or it can add strife and mayhem. Dr. Julia Albright, resident of animal behavior at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine, states, "Cats may tolerate, but rarely enjoy the company of another cat. I see so many problems from people having too many cats, but shelters are so overcrowded with cats that I hate to deter people from providing good homes."

Two’s Company —Sometimes

Cats are naturally solitary creatures; in addition, they are also naturally independent and self-sufficient — traits that we alter and/or suppress when we domesticate them. The idea of a second cat can be very alluring: "One cat is so entertaining and such a wonderful companion … two would be twice the fun!" Or, "I want to do my part to ease the burden on my local shelter and give one more cat a good home." These are common thoughts for cat owners and may, in fact, be true; however, the decision to add a second feline family member should not be taken lightly. A second cat can either add joy and companionship, or it can add strife and mayhem. Dr. Julia Albright, resident of animal behavior at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, states, "Cats may tolerate, but rarely enjoy the company of another cat. I see so many problems from people having too many cats, but shelters are so overcrowded with cats that I hate to deter people from providing good homes."