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Cats + Behavior

  • Counterconditioning occurs when the pet's reaction (emotional response) to a stimulus is changed from one that is anxious or fearful to one that is positive and enjoyable. To accomplish this, favored rewards should be paired with each exposure to the stimulus.

  • Under-stimulation, an excess of unused energy, and lack of appropriate opportunities for play can lead to play-related aggression. This may be exhibited as overly rambunctious or aggressive play, which inadvertently leads to injuries to people.

  • Since you and your cat will make many trips to the veterinary hospital over the years, it's best to start preparing your kitty for these visits as soon as possible.

  • Punishment is the application of a stimulus that decreases the chance that a behavior will be repeated. It must coincide with the undesirable behavior, and must be unpleasant enough to deter the cat from repeating that behavior.

  • During the pandemic so many pet owners have been at home with their pets more than ever before. As we return to work and life outside the home after this period of constant connection, our pets may be at risk for developing or displaying signs of separation distress. If your pet is showing the signs listed here, tell your veterinary team right away. Try to avoid pairing specific actions and activities with infrequently leaving home. The goal is to prevent creating a link in the pet’s mind between departure cues and feelings of anxiety about being alone. When you are getting ready to leave, no drama, and the same when you return. Be calm, reassuring, and relaxed. Practice separations help assess if pets are comfortable being left alone. If you are not sure if your pet is comfortable alone, a video camera is a terrific tool to check in. If you are concerned your pet may have separation distress or separation anxiety, reach out to your veterinary team.

  • For most cats, a visit to the veterinarian is an overwhelming experience. Veterinarians recommend the use of a carrier for travel because it is the safest and most secure way to transport pets. You can help your cat get over the fear of a carrier by developing positive associations between the carrier and positive experiences. Safety is the most important consideration when transporting your cat. One of the most effective ways to decrease your cat’s anxiety level is to remain calm and relaxed during the visit.

  • Socialization is the process during which the kitten develops relationships with other living beings in its environment.

  • Deaf cats are virtually no different from other cats except for their hearing. They are trainable using visual cues and hand signals, it just takes a lot of practice and patience. Deaf cats rely on their senses of touch and sight to help them negotiate their environment. Creating lookout areas for your cat can help her feel more secure. Deaf cats should never be allowed outside on their own.

  • 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.