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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.

In the News: Kitten Kindergartens Trending at Shelters

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.

Assess That Cute Kitten Before Adoption

Come spring and fall, animal shelters across the country are flooded with newborn kittens often in need of round-the-clock care to help them survive, thrive and eventually be adopted. As adorable as shelter kittens may appear, how can you tell if theyre healthy?

Cats’ Behavior Affected Crucially Early in Life

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.

Unlike Adults Battling Over Resources, Kittens Learn the Limits of Roughness

As engaging as kittens play fighting is - and hours of YouTube can attest to it - the behavior serves a serious purpose. Thats how kittens learn to stalk, to hunt and how rough to be, or not to be, with people and each other, says animal behaviorist Tracy Kroll, DVM. Kittens learn from each other what hurts.The challenge for owners is determining when to intervene in unbridled chases, leaps and attacks. If one kitten is no longer enjoying the play behavior and is hissing and trying to escape, he wants the game to be over, Dr. Kroll says. With young cats, each has a time limit for games.

Whats Your Cats Age in Human Years?

If there were an AARP for pets, your cat would get his membership card when he turns 8. Thats about 50 years old in human years, according to Feline Life Stage Guidelines from the American Association of Feline Practitioners and American Animal Hospital Association.

A Second Chance for Newborn Kittens

Volunteers at an animal adoption center in Los Angeles are keeping kittens alive with one simple act of kindness. They’re feeding newborns in two-hour shifts around the clock. They view their effort as crucial: Among 13,000 healthy or treatable pets euthanized at Los Angeles City shelters last year, more than 6,000 were neonatal — or newborn — kittens.

Ask Elizabeth: September 2013

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 (and their food and waste) 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.

‘Stranger Danger’? It’s Genetic

Scout was camped out under the sofa, refusing to eat. The cat’s fearful behavior began when Richard and Sue-Ellen Stillwell Jones’ daughter and her husband came to visit. When they walked into the Fort Collins, Colo., home, Scout looked terrified and disappeared under the sofa. She didn’t emerge for most of the day, and Jones was afraid that the stress of having strangers in the home, combined with her lack of appetite, would cause the cat’s pancreatitis to flare up. Scout’s fear of strangers isn’t uncommon, says Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, Ph.D., behavior specialist and professor emeritus at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. It’s a natural reaction to people who don’t smell familiar. “It’s not surprising that cats are fearful,” she says.

Ask Elizabeth: July 2013

I completely understand your thoughts on this matter, as recent developments have caused many owners (and cats … believe it or not!) to reconsider their habits and the effects that their lifestyle may have on native populations. The recent study suggesting that domestic cats are contributing to the demise of billions of birds and small mammals points out the fact that the interaction of domestic species with native wildlife is an important issue, one that requires careful thought and action.

Short Takes: April 2013

A survey of more than 50,000 U.S. households has uncovered a puzzling disconnect between cat owners’ beliefs and actions. Owners in 2011 said they increasingly consider their cats family members — 56 percent, up from 49.4 percent in 2006. Yet just 27.1 percent of owners say they took their cats to the veterinarian only when they were sick. Given that the feline population in the U.S. is approximately 74.1 million, about 20 million pet cats went without regular checkups and care in 2011.

A Commitment to Improving Well-being

Imagine veterinarians being able to sterilize feral cats by vaccination instead of surgery. Or to identify the connection between a relatively benign form of feline coronavirus and feline infectious peritonitis, which is nearly always fatal, with the hope of finding ways to diagnose and combat it. Or discover how and why vaccine-associated sarcomas may trigger DNA damage in some cats and how this damage may be used to predict which cases of the sarcomas are amenable to chemotherapy. These are just three of the many scientific studies funded by the Cornell Feline Health Center where, under the guidance of Director Colin Parrish, Ph.D., Professor of Virology, the goal of bettering the health of cats continues to be the focus and commitment, as it has been since the center opened its doors in 1974.