Cats + Behavior

  • Weight loss in cats can be caused by many conditions including inadequate intake to meet energy requirements, poor quality nutrition, and many different medical conditions. Testing for weight loss starts with a thorough history and physical exam. If the cause of weight loss is not clear, then screening tests including a CBC, biochemistry, T4 testing, urinalysis, and fecal tests are performed to further investigate. Based on the results of these tests, more specific diagnostic tests such as imaging, bile acids, or ACTH stimulation may be needed to determine the reason for the weight loss.

  • Caterwauling is cat vocalizations that sound like a cross between a yowl, a howl, and a whine. This disturbing noise may result from medical problems, physical needs, hormonal stimulations, or emotional insecurities. The response to caterwauling should focus on addressing the cat’s circumstances and filling his needs.

  • It can take a week to a year to introduce or reintroduce cats—you cannot rush the process. The cats must remain separated unless supervised. If there is steady progress but still specific contexts in which aggression continues, you likely need to consult a behavior professional who can recommend other strategies. Alternatively, the cats may need always to be supervised or separated to prevent conflict at high-risk times.  

  • Cats exhibit a wide range of behaviors that are quite normal yet may be considered undesirable by the people with whom they share their homes. Most of these behaviors develop to satisfy an innate need. Rather than trying to stop your cat from engaging in instinctual and naturally rewarding behaviors, it is essential to provide your cat with substitute behaviors and outlets that satisfy your cat’s needs.

  • The best way to train your pet is through the proper use of positive reinforcement and rewards while simultaneously avoiding punishment. The goal of training is to "learn" the proper task and/or behavior.

  • Cats are always going to lick but it is sometimes embarrassing when they lick their private parts. Licking after eliminating is normal; however, if your cat licks more frequently or you notice other signs such as discharge, swollen or red penis, vulva, or anus, pustules, discoloration of the skin, or you observe your cat straining to urinate, see your veterinarian for help. Appropriate medical therapy can reduce your cat’s discomfort.

  • A cat’s ability to smell is far more advanced than ours. The Jacobson’s organ, located inside the nasal cavity, opens into the roof of the mouth behind the upper incisors and serves as a secondary olfactory system designed for chemical communication related to mating. Cats use their keen sense of smell, along with a visual assessment, to provide vital information about a new feline acquaintance. The way cats sniff rear ends can establish which of two cats is dominant and set the foundation of their relationship.

  • Turning around before bedtime has its origin mostly in evolutionary history where cat ancestors were practicing these habits for health or protection. These innate habits remain in their genetic code to this day but if your cat is seeming to be doing it excessively, it could be a sign of underlying medical problems, such as arthritis of neurological disorders. Contact your veterinarian if your cat appears to have difficulty settling down.

  • Like us, cats are mammals that are covered with hair. But there are definite differences in the hair that covers our bodies. While we may have whiskers on our faces, they are nothing in comparison to kitty whiskers!

  • While punishment can be effective at decreasing those behaviors that are undesirable (when applied within 1 to 2 seconds), if not administered properly it can aggravate existing problems and cause new ones.