When your cat walks between your legs, paws at your ankles or edges into the space between your neck and the sofa, he has one goal in mind: He wants to get close to you. The behavior can help further your bond - theres no need to stop it. But when he walks over your keyboard while youre trying to work or meows nonstop, attention-seeking behavior becomes annoying or even destructive - for example, if you lose work that you hadnt saved.
Youve probably seen those clever cats on the Internet praying, rolling over and high fiving and wonder how they do that. All you want is for your cat to stay off the kitchen counter. It may come as a surprise, but you can train your cat to demonstrate a variety of behaviors. The biggest misconception people have about cats is assuming that they cannot be trained. They usually can if we avoid common mistakes in training.
A growing number of animal shelters and veterinary clinics around the country are offering kitten kindergartens in an innovative way to socialize kittens and increase their adoptability. Australian veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kersti Seksel developed the program about a decade ago.
At the end of a long workday, you look forward to uninterrupted slumber, but your cat has other plans. In two hours, he jars you awake by leaping on the bed - knocking the air out of you. An hour later, he swats a book off your nightstand. And 30 minutes before your alarm sounds, he begins loud, demanding meows.
An article in the February issue on alternatives to relinquishing pets to shelters featured a dashing photo of Rascal, a feral cat who was neutered, vaccinated and adopted to work as a Rodent Ranger. A small study by the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Scottsdale, Ariz., suggests that owners sleeping with their pets can experience positive effects. Replies to a questionnaire from 150 consecutive patients found that nearly half had pets; 41 percent had several.
We followed a small study that assessed the bond between children or pet dogs and their caregivers when theyre in potentially threatening or unfamiliar environments. The researchers observed the relationship between 20 cats and their owners with the cats in a new environment with their owner, with a stranger and on their own. They assessed the amount of contact the cats sought, their level of passive behavior and signs of distress when the owner was absent.
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 Associations 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.
Your curious, agile cat effortlessly leaps and lands on the top of the refrigerator, deftly missing your glass serving bowl. Your first instinct may be to scold him, grab his front legs and oust him off the refrigerator. Such a response could bring you face to face with an angry, frightened cat who may lash out or bite you during the tussle. In your attempt to shoo your cat, he could also lose his balance, falling hard on the floor and injuring himself.
There are pros and cons in dressing up pets, says Allen Schoen, DVM, Ph.D., a pioneer in integrative animal health care and author of Kindred Spirits: How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live. Dressing up pets is an opportunity for some people to just be joyful, fun loving and it brings the child out in us. It can increase our laughter, which is all positive in supporting our overall health and immune system, but care must be taken to make sure that the pet also enjoys being dressed up.
Prevent access to tempting items by hiding them. Even if your cat doesnt have pica, its a wise idea to keep items like yarn, rubber bands, and tinsel and Venetian blind cords out of reach. Instead, offer a variety of safer toys.
Your indoor cat needs and deserves daily play sessions to keep him physically and mentally fit. Play can help prevent him from engaging in destructive behaviors like shredding the sofa out of boredom or becoming obese from overeating to pass the time.
Meowing can be endearing, but lets face it: When our cats meow to excess, it can sometimes drive us crazy. The same sort of meowing that is not a problem at 6 p.m. can be a huge problem at 4 a.m. when the owner is trying to sleep, says behaviorist Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. What cat owners consider excessive meowing in cats depends largely on what time of day it is.