Last month, we launched our new “Ask the Cat Behaviorist with Mikel Delgado” segment. Once a month, we’ll post a reminder for you to post your questions for Mikel. She’ll answer as many of them as he can each month, and I’ll publish her answers in a subsequent post.

Mikel is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant at Feline Minds, offering on-site consultations for cat guardians, shelters, and pet-related businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area, and remote consultations around the world. She is currently completing her PhD in Psychology at UC Berkeley, where she studies animal behavior and human-pet relationships.

Sleep deprived cat guardians

I am becoming sleep deprived! My Kat wants my attention all during the night, yowling and pushing at me. Could close door but she doesn’t like closed door. She refuses to play at bedtime to tire her out..I need my sleep! (Patricia LeBlanc)

Dear Mikel,
I adopted 5 yo littermates Bo & Ellie last summer (days after saying goodbye to my 19 yo Evi). Their daddy, who’d raised them together from the age of 6 weeks with a ton of love, was being shipped overseas and they were in desperate need of a home together, so in they moved.
The problem is the habit dear BoBo has of meowing ever so loudly outside my bedroom door every morning starting around 5:30am. I’ve been sleep deprived since they moved in. Sadly I must keep my bedroom door shut because I’m allergic to cats. I adore cats, have always had cats, will always have cats, but I have to sleep in a “clean room” to prevent attacks of allergy-induced asthma. These kitties always slept on their daddy’s bed, so being shut out of the bedroom now must make them feel sad, lonely, forlorn, confused. I’d hoped they’d just get used to the new normal, but nothing’s changed in 9 months. I leave plenty of food out before I go to bed, and there’s usually some left in the morning, so it’s about attention, not food. I do give them a long play session at night to tire them out. Earplugs fall out by morning. I tried to just ignore it and stay in bed, knowing that if I got up when the meowing started then I was just cementing this bad habit — but he won’t stop meowing (I waited 90 minutes once!), and eventually I do have to get up for the day — so of course he’s learned that if he continues meowing, mama will get up. Apparently they’re 1/2 Siamese (and 1/2 Maine Coon), so that might explain some of the vocal volume. Help! I’m sooooo sleepy. Thank you! (Karin Moore)


Patricia and Karin,

Your complaints are similar enough that I’m going to address them together. Cats waking up their humans in the middle of the night is one of the most common reasons I’m called for help. Sleep deprivation takes its toll, on our well-being, and on our relationship with our cats!

This behavior is usually being maintained for a few reasons, the key ones being that the cat gets something out of it and that they aren’t sleepy when we are – and so they need a “schedule shift.” Sometimes the situation is complicated by the fact that there has been a change (such as with Karin’s kitties, where they were used to sleeping on the bed) or a housing situation or cat that doesn’t allow for the cats to be separated from humans at night.

So, to sleep through the night: the first step is to keep the cat more active throughout the day, and for some cats this means more than just a play session at bedtime. Food puzzles, bird feeders attached to a window, and vertical space can encourage more activity during the day. At least one or two daily play sessions with interactive toys will help.

Patricia, I wasn’t sure if Kat is only difficult to play with at night – so there may be a special toy that you reserve for a night time play session, OR you may want to shift your feeding schedule so she plays FIRST, then gets a meal. A lot of humans feed their cats first thing when they get home from work, and it can be difficult to get cats to play when they’ve recently had a meal – just like we don’t like to exercise with a full tummy!

Food can also get cats more on your schedule. I recommend meal feeding (or some variation thereof) so that your cat has exercise and the largest meal of the day shortly before your bedtime. That will make them more likely to settle down for the night. If you don’t want to meal feed, then perhaps pick and choose when your cat has food freely available, picking up their bowls in the early evening so they are hungry at bedtime.

Now is when things get a little gnarly. To really stop this behavior, you have to ignore it consistently. If you give in after 5, 10, or even worse, 90 minutes, then you have just rewarded persistence. Now it is true, Karin, that at some point, you have to get out of bed. Why not use clicker training and reward your cat for going to a perch when you leave the bedroom – only click when he has settled and stopped meowing. You can reward with treats or praise.

A few other things that may help you out: a piece of cardboard with double-sided carpet tape outside your bedroom door will make your cats less likely to sit there (just be careful not to step on it when you get up!). I’ve also found that a heated bed that is turned on only at night can be really helpful for getting cats to give up their human sleeping habit – turns out a lot of them just use us for body heat! 😊 Also, I’m a light sleeper, so I use an air filter for white noise, which helps me sleep, and might dull some of those annoying middle of the night meows!

Male feral cat is aggressive with other feral cats and stalks caregiver

I have a small colony of feral cats that I care for and have my own indoor cats that go outside. A male cat joined the colony early this year I had him trapped and neutered but 4 months later he has become very aggressive with the other ferals and my own cats as well – I have the feeding stations on the perimeter of my property but now he will stalk me and my cats near the front door. Is there anything that I can do short of relocating him to tone down his aggressive behavior? Thanks! ( Karen Aseltine)


Hi Karen,

Unfortunately, some cats are more territorial than others – and it is natural for cats to be wary of other cats. I think I would need a bit more information about the interactions and what type of behavior he is displaying to give you concrete advice. The fact that he “stalks” you, suggests to me that he is at least a little bit socialized. This is also complicated by the fact that your own cats spend time outside, so tactics that might keep him away from your front door (such as the motion-sensitive air cans) would also be unpleasant for your own cats.

What might help: spacing out resources so that the ferals’ feeding stations have plenty of space between them. Encourage him to get his needs met as far away from your home as possible (or even off your property). If you can set up any deterrents, in areas that your cats do not go, you might be keep him from getting to comfortable. If he is friendly enough, you might try giving him some playtime with feather wands (yes, you can try them with outdoor cats) to blow off some of his steam, especially if there are particular times of day that he tends to be more aggressive toward the other cats.

Unfortunately, when we let our own cats outside, it makes it complicated to manage what happens outdoors. You might want to consider keeping your own cats indoors part time so that you can set up deterrents to let the ferals know that your home is off limits. I would not rule out relocating, but we also know that for cats in colonies, it often takes several months and several attempts for them to accept each other, so it’s possible that time will heal some of these wounds.

Kitten suckles and kneads on everything, bites and claws

Hi my name is Cindi and we just got a kitten and i think he was weaned too early he suckles and kneads on everything including us(me my fiancé n my 9yo son) also how do i get mittens to stop bitting n clawing us it getting bad we tried the use toy instead of fingers thing and still bites us all the time thank you. (Cindi)


Hi Cindi!

I feel strongly that kittens need a buddy – have you considered adopting a second kitten? This will allow your kitten to have another kitty to take out all that biting and rough play on. Cats can communicate “you’ve gone too far” much more easily with each other than we can with them. If she gets too “bitey,” it’s best to just walk away than try to correct her. Over time, she’ll learn that if she is too rough, she will lose your attention. Be sure not to force her to be held or petted at times that she would rather be playing!

Kittens are at the stage of life where they are going to be most active and they do need a lot of playtime with interactive toys – so things that keep your hands far away from the biting activity, like feather wands (these toy should be kept away from kittens when not being directly supervised), are best.

In regards to the nursing and kneading, your kitten may also benefit from some appropriate toys that let her chew and kick, like kick bag style toys. Cat grass can be another way to give cats an outlet for oral behaviors that might be related to early weaning.

All that said, I still think it would be great to adopt another kitten. Although it sounds like it would be more work, in most cases, the kittens keep each other busy and it ends up being less work for the humans. Plus your kitten has the possibility of a life-long companion of her own species!

Demanding cat won’t stop screaming

Oh if only you could get my cat to stop screaming. She wants her way…to overeat, go outside, whatever…it’s always something….mostly food. She was about double her ideal weight when I got her 4 years ago. I cut back on her food, let her roam outside when I was at home and the weight came off in about 9 months. Now the neighbor got a sport’s car with a cover and she ripped through 3 of them that I had to pay for…so now she can’t roam free outside. I try to walk her supervised every day for a bit before one of her 3 mealtimes. That is the only way to get her back indoors…she is so food driven. But she screams constantly about 2 hours before her next meal. It is driving me crazy so I try to outscream her…send her to the bedroom but she just screams in there! What can I do to get her to stop? I have NEVER had this issue with ANY of my other cats before. Thank you! (Samantha Sandy)


Hi Samantha!

Cats who scream can be really annoying. Unfortunately, they are really hard to ignore so they are often reinforced for their behavior – either because the owner “talks back” or gives in to the cats demands for food or to go outside. Another reason that cats meow incessantly is because they are bored. She needs to be kept busy and occupied enough that meowing for other things doesn’t occur to her!

You didn’t mention your cat’s age, but excessive vocalization and weight loss can be related to medical issues, so if your cat hasn’t had a yearly vet check, it would be worth bringing her in and mentioning the behavior.

It’s great that you are taking her on daily walks! But I think it’s time to give her some more mental stimulation and challenges to keep her busy. Since she is SO food motivated, why not get her working some food puzzles. Cats like this should not get ANY of their food for free. Every bite must be worked for or earned – which brings me to another suggestion. Cats that are food motivated and restless are often perfect candidates for clicker training. You can use the clicker to communicate with her that you like when she is NOT meowing – and you can also train other basic behaviors, such as sitting quietly before meals, or cute parlor tricks like “sit” and “high five.” What I like about clicker training is that it gives cat parents a way to give their cat attention for good behavior instead of responding to their cats when they are being annoying. There are many great resources for clicker training available online or in your local bookstore!

Since she has transitioned to more time indoors, I would also recommend boosting other types of enrichment – such as vertical space, window perches, bird feeders to watch, and playtime with interactive toys. Try to tire her out once or twice a day to help her be more relaxed…and IGNORE the meowing. Trust me, it will be hard at first, but if she gets nothing from meowing, she will do it less.

21-year-old cat won’t play anymore

I have a 21 year old female, Chloe. Chloe doesn’t play anymore. The vet says she’s healthy. I’ve tried several kinds of toys, the feathers, a ball on a stick, catnip mice (she used to play with those.). I just can not get her to play. Is it age related? How can I give he the mental stimulaton she needs? (Rebecca)


Hi Rebecca!

Congrats on Chloe living to such a wonderful senior age! I adore elderly cats, and I’m glad she is healthy. When playing with senior cats, it’s important to change your mind set on what play looks like – it might not be backflips or active chasing. In this case, the goal is mental engagement. That might mean just watching the toy, it might mean occasionally pawing at the toy. More activity than that would certainly be a bonus.

To get seniors more engaged, I recommend using small, quiet toys, such as a cat dancer or feather wand – but try moving it vvvveeeerrrrrrrrryyyy slowly – and try moving the toy under a towel or piece of tissue paper – that is often irresistible!

Most senior cats love warmth and looking out the window, so a bird feeder in a sunny window with a heated bed would probably be dreamy for Chloe. You can try encouraging her to use a food puzzle for treats – if she is very food motivated you could try them for some of her meals, but with most seniors we want to encourage them to eat as much as they want, so check with your vet about whether food puzzles might work for some of her meals. Other enrichment could include cat grass, self-grooming corner combers, and the HexBug Nano cat toy, which is my favorite “automatic” cat toy as it is small and quiet.

I hope you get to enjoy plenty more time with Chloe!

Cat likes to roll in freshly scooped litter box

After I scoop the litterbox my cat Bandit likes to go roll in it. Why does he do this and is there anything that I can do to stop this behavior? (Lorraine Anderson)



Thank you for the question that made me smile. There are definitely some quirky behaviors that are hard to explain! Many cats do like to roll in dirt, this behavior not only feels good, but in the wild, it might have some protective effects, like preventing parasites or helping cats cool off. Cats may also roll to mark an area with their scent glands.

One possibility would be to harness train Bandit and take him out for a walk around the time you clean the litter box – so he can roll in some dirt rather than used kitty litter. Tactile enrichment, such as the CatIt Spa or corner groomers would give him some other ways to scratch that itch and spread his scent around. More playtime with interactive toys after cleaning the litter box might be a nice distraction for him. Finally, you could consider trying a different brand of kitty litter – although when changing litter, we always recommend doing so gradually and offering choices!

Interview of Mikel Delgado with David Feldman

Wow, everyday issues and answers, purrfect to share. I listened to an interview of Mikel Delgado with David Feldman just yesterday, full of information. (Bernadette)


Thank you for your kind words, Bernadette! David Feldman was a really nice guy, I had a lot of fun doing that interview!

Leash training a cat

Hi, I recently adopted 3 yo Peanut the cat from a rescue. We think he use to have a home but got lost or dumped at a feral colony. He is confident (tail always high in the air) and curious. He doesn’t mind being picked up tho he is very independent (not a lap cat) and sleeps at the foot of the bed. I would love to leash train him and I think he has the right personality but when I tried it once (no issues wearing the harness) he growled whenever I touched him while he was exploring (but he wasn’t pulling away). It concerned me enough that I took him back inside and he fought me (no injuries). Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on how to make this work? (Tanya)



Thank you for adopting a rescue kitty! Peanut sounds adorable. It sounds like when he’s outside he gets pretty focused on the task at hand (exploring) and doesn’t want to be disturbed. Since he doesn’t have any problem with wearing the harness (sometimes that is half the battle), I think that you could use clicker training to help Peanut understand that when he is on his lead, he should follow (and focus on) you when you call him. Target training in particular can show him that following a target will lead to rewards. These exercises need to be practiced indoors first so that he understands the task at hand – because once he is outside he is going to be distracted by all the things to check out there. But a solid base of training will help mitigate some of the effects of all that distraction!

When he is outside, avoid touching him, but instead use the target or other lure (toy or treats) to encourage him back indoors. I would pick him up only if you must. Start with very short ventures outside and keep the lead short at first so that it won’t be too difficult to lure him back in. As he gets more used to being outside, you can increase his time and range. Finally, try taking him outdoors before meals, when he’s a little hungry, so he is motivated to come back inside for food or treats.

Learning from responses to concerned cat parents’ issues

This is my first time reading your column, and I felt very educated by your responses. Thank you for giving well thought out replies to these concerned cat parents! (Jean McCormic)


Jean, thank you for reading! It’s a great place to be sharing information about cats!

Do you have a question for Mikel?
Leave it in a comment!

45 Comments on Cat Behaviorist Mikel Delgado Answers May’s Questions

  1. I have 7 cats. I keep their trays clean, they are neutered and spayed. My granddaughter claims contract holder of the house (i.e: the BOSS). I’m a senior. She keeps her house very cluttered, hard to walk through. Her child’s expansive toy collection takes up a lot of the downstairs and my cats are accused of urinating in among the toys. She doesn’t realize how HARD I’m trying. What can I tell her? Rehoming the cats is NOT! an options. Housing in my state is difficult to come by. I know it could be territorial .

    Trish McClelland

  2. Hi,
    My 88 year old aunt is in Hospice and she has two elderly cats. These two cats are declawed, morbidly obese, have patches of hair missing and hiss. They have never been outside.
    I have a young family with 3and 4 year old active and loud kids and live rural.
    My question is will these cats adapt to this near 180 degree lifestyle change? Or should they be rehomed it a similar environment?

    • Mikel no longer answers questions here, but is available for remote consultations. You can contact her through her website at In my opinion, a home with two active young children may not be the best fit for two senior cats, but they may adjust. I would definitely confine them to a quiet part of the house, at least initially, until they’ve acclimated. Since they’re declawed, you cannot let them outside.

  3. has anyone ever heard of a cat knocking over a jar of kitty litter so she could do a pee on it, because her litter tray was down stairs

    • I always recommend that people have a litter box on each level of their homes, especially for older cats, but this is definitely the first time I heard of a cat taking matters into her own paws! 🙂

  4. Hi there! We have an 8-year-old cat, who has been with us since she was a feral kitten. She is spayed, vaccinated, etc, and has always been a happy part of our family. She’s free to be in or out as she pleases. She frequently goes on walkabout for days or weeks, and is a prolific hunter (so even when she’s gone for some time, we know she can support herself.) Here’s my question: we moved recently, and for several months, there was a territorial male cat who bullied her. She responded by making friends with a neighbor, who started looking after her until discovering that our cat wasn’t a stray. We have befriended the neighbor, who lets us know when she’s around and stopped feeding her at our request. The problem is that our sweet little cat doesn’t now know that the territorial male has moved and is no longer around. When we are able to catch her and bring her home, she is stressed and unhappy about being confined inside, and when we let her out, she runs back towards the neighbor – and safety. She doesn’t stay here long enough to figure out that the bully cat is gone. We don’t want to keep her in and make her unhappy, but we don’t know what to do to keep her from abandoning us altogether. Any ideas? Thank you so much for your time and advice!

  5. hi we have a cat that we rescued from the rspca, he was 8 months old and was found abandoned with 30 other cats on a farm. he was terrified and spent days behind furniture refusing to come out. eventually got him to sit on my lap facing out and i was the only person who could touch him. he would go to my partner if I was away. but if any one rang the bell ,or if we had visitors he would bolt. people who fed him when we were away never saw him . he used to get into cat fights and was very territorial. had a few injuries that required vet assistance, not a friendly cat male desexed. Well we moved to a new house, rural with chickens and the like in the first ten months he had some fights with other cats establishing his territory.

    Then about a month ago we pulled into the drive with him trotting towards the back door being followed by a ginger cat. he didnt seem at all perturbed by the other cat, and he ginger cat kept walking close behind him. this went on for a day and then the ginger cat vanished… But returned staying close and following our Kitty Kat.

    Moving on yesterday the ginger cat was back, I was watering plants and patting Kitty kat gave a pat to the ginger cat as they walked away the ginger cat raised his paw and patted my cat. Later I bought out some wet food for the two and they ate side by side. i kept watching there interaction and the ginger cat gently gave a nip to my cats cheek. my kitty did not flinch and they just lay down not to close too each.other.. I have never seen an interaction with cats like this in my entire life. my cat is part feral and has never tolerated other cats. have you ever seen anytihng like this. I have taken some photos if interested. cheers Linda

  6. Dear Mikel,
    I have a one-year-old Female, Siamese Tabby mix.
    She is spayed, and lives strictly inside. Add about three or four months old she began urinating in the cat food and sometimes the water also. I am at my wits end trying to discourage this behavior. Not only am I constantly cleaning up after her but, the high cost of cat food is also an issue especially as it’s mostly being wasted. I don’t know what to do anymore please, please help!

  7. Hi Mikel,

    My cat, Jack is a 7 yr. old grey tabby. He’s sweet and friendly and all “boy cat”. He likes to race me up and down the stairs – it’s literally a game we play, but this morning something interesting happened.

    We were heading downstairs when we reached the landing halfway down where the stairs curve around the corner opening up into the living room. Jack was in the lead as usual and I was right behind him. He stopped to peer around the corner and I stopped over him with a foot on each side of him. Of course, I quickly asked him why he stopped as I started to continue down the stairs, but he reached his right arm out and stopped my left foot from going forward. I immediately stopped moving my foot and said, “It’s just us. What are you doing?” He then continued down the stairs and I followed after him.

    It honestly felt like he wanted me to wait until he checked the situation out before either of us could proceed. Of course, he could have just wanted me to stop so that he could win the race. It wasn’t an aggressive grab – no claws, teeth, or meow – but he definitely pulled back on my foot.

    Have you ever heard of that before?


  8. Hi Mikel. We have 3 cats…Charlotte, Sally and Fred, for about 3 years. We adopted Fred shortly after the girls. Fred and Sally are similar in age, both young and play together and get along well. Awhile back, Fred got sick and spent the night at the vet. When he came home, Sally hissed and growled at him. It never got violent. I realize now that this was probably non recognition agression. He probably smelled strange. After about a month things went back to normal. 2 days ago Sally got out and spent the night outside. Since she came in the next morning, she’s fine with Charlotte but she’s acting the same as before towards Fred. I’m perplexed since he was home and his scent shouldn’t have changed. We have a lot of outside cats on our street and I don’t know if she had any run ins (she’s not injured). She was a stray before we adopted her. Just wondering if you could give any insight on this specific situation. Thanks.

  9. Hi Mikel
    I have a 10 month old female kitten that loves to pat my face. This happens nightly, while lying in bed. She will curl up next to me and stare at my face. She will then reach up and lightly pat me on the nose or on my eye. It seems so sweet, but I hesitate on if I should stop this. (feet in liter box) Is there a reason why she does this?

  10. Hi Mike,
    I have 2 3 year old Tonkinese cats. I married my husband this year and we moved in together. My cats are so sweet and loving to me when I am alone with them. They also are affectionate and snuggle /play with my husband when he is alone with them. But for some strange reason, whenever we are together, one of the cats hides and the other hisses and growls at my husband with a ridiculous look of fear in his eyes. But as soon as I leave, they both want his attention again! Any ideas on what to do to fix this?

  11. I have a cat who is almost 2 years old that I rescued out of the woods (a 3-day process) when she was probably 6 maybe 7 weeks old. I assumed she was feral; to this day, I am the only person who can touch her and she is afraid of everyone else. In the past months, I have been feeding another cat in a shed that belongs to an empty house nextdoor. I assumed she was also feral, but she has started to let me pet her, and I get the impression that, at one time or another, she has known humans She appears to be a young adult. I would like to bring her into our house; the fact that she is living alone in a shed with a dirt floor bothers me, even though I did supply her with a box with a big down comforter in it, and I feed her everyday. The problem is the cat I have already from the woods (Luna) attacks the other new cat (Blackie) if Blackie tries to come into our yard. Any suggestions on how I can incorporate Blackie into our household would be most welcome.

  12. I am a married male dog lover. My wife’s cat decided to have her litter in my hair at 3:00 am. My wife insisted I not move as she was by then having the last one. So there I lay with Babbies, afterbirth, and movement in my hair. Whatever made her decide to use my hair. BTW the hair is very very long.

  13. I have a question about my indoor cat she’s just over the year. Lately she has a visitor who sits outside the sliding glass doors. It’s also a female. They yell in Howell at each other. The outside one is kind of quiet but my cat seems to want to attack the outside cat

  14. My 12 yr old tom keeps staying further away from the house every week. He use to stay close but now is about 300 ft.awsy.Also he constantly scratches and grooms but we treat him for fleas and put fish oil in his wster. We live in woodsy area and I wonder if some animal might be frightening him. We try to keep him in at night but he howls to get out.I think he is suffering from anxiety and plan to take him to the vet today.Any suggestions would be appreciated

  15. I have two FEMALE cats that hate each other. Every time they pass each other there is at least some hissing if not a fight. My main issue is one or both of these cats are peeing in the house and ruining my new upstairs carpet as I can’t get the odor out. I have 3 litter boxes. I really don’t know how to fix this. Please help.

  16. I have 2 cats that are both about 2. About a month ago I wound up taking in a rescue kitten. One of the 2 yr old cats is having a hard time accepting Jelly[the kitten) everyone says give the cat time. But she still hisses a lot at the kitten. I supervise any of their time together. The other cat is not as aggressive but it’s been a month now and Chloe still hates Jelly. Is there any hope she will ever accept her?

  17. I took in two cats, unrelated, one male, one female, both fixed. They are both around 5-7 yrs, different breeds and sizes, have lived together for many years and seem to tolerate each other fairly well. I feed them some wet food twice a day. I used to feed them side by side but noticed the male would move in on the females food and eat from her dish. I was fearing she was not getting enough food so I started feeding them in different rooms, not closed off but with a bit of distance. He still eats some of his food then comes to her dish. He pushes in and she passively moves aside until he’s finished then she comes back in and eats more. He seems focused on the gravy so there’s usually some food left. Sometimes I move him back to his own dish. I’ve tried giving him extra gravy to dissuade his wandering but to no avail. Should I continue to try to actively discourage this behavior or separate them completely during feeding (I tried a baby gate but he learned to jump over it ) or is this perfectly normal? Should I go back to feeding them side by side? She is not losing weight so she must be getting enough nutrition. I fear I’m exacerbating the behavior by trying to fix it. I’m guessing its just a dominance thing. He also sometimes jumps at and chases her immediately after she uses the litter box even though I have two boxes. Thanks.

    • I have 1 adult male cat and 3 adult female cats. 1 of the female cat is his daughter. He really dont like his daughter and always fighting till bleeding. May i know why he react like this to his daughter and can you teach me how to gather both of them back and no fighting again after this. I really needs your help

  18. hi mikel
    my family adopted two kittens (brother and sister) about 11 years ago and the sister recently died. they never really got along because kona (boy) would always pick on her so she avoided him most times. his behavior has seemed to change since her death however. i didn’t think he would act differently since they never got along but he’s meowing more, following me wherever i go, and he eats some of his food then goes back for the rest later (which is extremely weird because he would always scarf it all down in 1 minute then go eat some of his sisters food too!). i was just wondering if these could be signs of possibly missing her?

  19. I have some questions I don’t know were eles to turn.i am animal lover especially cats I have a few cats I took in as stray kittens one was in a garbage bag behind Wal-Mart. Last one I took in was 2006. I moved about 2 years ago an ever since I been here I’ve been feeding a stray cat which was small at time. It’s ear was clipped found out it was fixed by vet in a T N R program here in FL. It took a year before this cat would let me touch it. About 6 Mo ago it was in trouble an I rescued her. But she took off. 5 Mo ago we started to get close. I’m able to pick her up. She rubs my face. I’ve been opening my Study window she jumps in window eats, sits I’m my lap but leaves. I want to keep her but it’s been tough. During some bad storms I kept her in over nite. She crys when I leave room but not when I close window anymore. I fixed room up for her. Kitty house, toys lots bedding, she gets a bit anxious records morning, I hate it but I let her out. My goal is to get her to sleep inside at nite if she won’t stay full time. There are lots of coyote, alligators near my property I worry bout her. I just don’t get it. She refuses some nites to stay in room but yet she sleeps on a mound of dirt near window. HOW CAN A MOUND of dirt be more COMFY than a room with Bed , food, A.C. or Heat if winter. She will eat sometimes it seems like she wants to stay an other times she won’t come in or takes off in middle of eating. Q#2 am I being cruel trying to keep her in? I want to intro to my other kitties n Dog. But I would have to get her checked out first. I don’t understand it will start to storm an if I don’t close window she rather jump out an stay in woods than stay in room I made for her, nice dry place. Can you Explain behavior to me so I understand? Should I quit? I’m afraid her luck will run out. Did I mention she is VERY tiny for bout 3 year old. THANK YOU SO MUCH. in advance

  20. We have 4 cats, three of whom are brothers. Shortly after we adopted them, we had to take our daughter’s cat, a female, when she went into the PC. That was 8 years ago. At first, the cats got along, but then the boys started backing her into a corner and she hissed and growled and things progressed from there. So, we separated them and gave them each a time to be out with us. Now, things seemed to have settled down and I am wondering if we can reintegrate them again…she seems very unhappy at being isolated now. And, if so, how should we do it? Thanks.

  21. Hello
    I have a cat, 4 years old and doesn’t allow anyone to be affectionate with her. This morning she displayed odd behaviour. She jumped on my chest, purring loudly and kneading my left shoulder for a couple of minutes. She has never done this before. I’ve had pain in this shoulder for a few months now. It was so overwhelming for me I texted my husband and got emotional when he called because he too was shocked at our cat’s behaviour. Our entire family knows you have at least six seconds to pat her any longer, the first aide kit is needed! Thank you for your time.

  22. My cats, Jasper and Thistle are from the same litter (two years old) and both male. They’ve always gotten along very well, snuggling, grooming, playing etc. Thistle has always been clearly more dominant and athletic, but that has never seemed to be a problem. We’ve noticed, though, that every time Jasper finds a nice spot – on a chair, on a shelf, cupboard or even towel on the floor, Thistle will take it over as soon as he gets up. Their fights – which always seemed playful and fun – are becoming more aggressive and lasting too long. Jasper has just been diagnosed with Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease and while we’re taking other steps – Feliway, anti-anxiety meds, special diet – I’d love to treat the root cause of his anxiety, which I suspect is this complicated sibling relationship. Any suggestions – especially for a way to ensure Jasper’s territory remains his? Thank you!

  23. I have an 8 yr old female. I recently adopted a male kitten approaching 6 mos. She doesn’t attack him, but approaches him in slow motion with her head swaying, then stops and cries from deep inside. Sometimes she chases him or watches him from afar. Not sure if she will ever accept him. She had 3 much older sisters, but they’re all gone now.

    • I have 2 rescue cats – Pepper, female, about 9 or 10. Not overly affectionate but does like attention. After 5 years, I rescue Simba, a big male orange tabby who is skittish at sudden noises. Simba is very affectionate and very vocal. Pepper and Simba have lived together now for almost 2 years and they still hate each other. We moved 2 months ago and Simba is taking this opportunity to make this new house HIS territory since Pepper was alpha at the other house. Simba continually chases Pepper, hisses at her, eats from her bowl, blocks her from entering or leaving a room. I dont know what to do to change Simba’s behavior. I’ve tried playing with them together and Pepper just walks away. I’m ready to return Simba to the shelter because he is making Pepper miserable. She hides from him just to get a break from his aggression. I don’t want her life to change because I stupidly thought another cat would be a good idea. Any thoughts on what I can do to change Simba’s natural male aggression? they are both neutered/spayed. Thank you

  24. We adopted two sister cats from a rescue a year ago. The cats are probably around 2 and have always had a very close relationship. Recently we’ve been having some incidents of redirected aggression. A stray cat in the neighborhood comes by most nights and really gets the cats worked up, particularly one of them. Both of our cats are spayed. On two separate occasions, one of our cats has become crazy with rage and attacks her sister. The fights are very aggressive and after we’ve separated them, the enraged cat will try to stalk her sister for the next 30-60 minutes. This seems to be affecting their general relationship as there is more hissing at each other, particularly from the one who gets attacked. I would appreciate any suggestions. A vet tech friend recommended the pheromones, which is how I found your post about the research on their effectiveness.

  25. My 2.5year old cat has gone missing, for more than a week now, he has never been away from home for more than two days. We live on a small holding so there are other cats in the area, and being a farm there aren’t any fences, so he is not restricted to where he can go. We have informed all neighbors and various animal shelters, but no one has seen him. My question, can he just go “missing” and be okay on his own, can cats get lost? My boyfriend says he is gone and I should stop looking for him.. but I simply cannot do that!! He is a neutered male.

  26. I volunteer at a shelter and there are cats that do not show well due to the stress. They either growl or snap when you try to pet them. How do I use clicker training to stop unfavorable behavior?

    There is a cat the meows with discontent whenever being petted. This was my technique –> I let her sniff my hand to request permission to pet her. I give a kitty treat for her eat, pet her and click simultaneously. I repeat if she does not growl. If she does, than I stop the session and walk away. Am I using the clicker correct to stop bad behavior?

  27. One of our four-year-old neutered male cats (they’re brothers we adopted when they were three months old) “pretends” to spray–he backs up to something, usually a cabinet door, and does the shimmy/wiggle as if he’s marking. He’s not bothering us or anything, and obviously nothing is coming out, but what’s his deal with this? His brother does it too every once in a while, but I get the idea he’s just being a copycat (however, our copycat is also weird; he has a thing for carrots–they make him crazy. Catnip does nothing for him but a give him a piece of a carrot and he rolls around on it).

  28. My male cat Simba likes to overeat and then throws up afterwards. He used to be heavy and now has gotten slender, is that normal during the summer months? My husband thinks we should take him to the vet.

  29. Hi Mikel,

    I have 5 cats all very close. My question is 1, the youngest stops playing anytime a sibling comes near. We have tried playing with alone in a room, but he will still stop when he hears the others at the door. It’s like he is embarrassed to play around them. Any suggestions???

    Thank you,

  30. Hi Mikel,
    My question is. I have (2) 3 year old female cats, both spayed. I got them within 30 days of each other at 10 & 6 weeks. They play, sleep together at times, groom each other and each next to each other. But sometimes, when they play, it is what I call, “too rough” causing one to hiss, growl and spit with the other chasing her. How can detour that behavior from going to far without ruining play time for them? I use distraction, I’ve rescued the one and the aggressor has been placed in a 3 minute timeout in a room by herself. I’m just not what is the most correct thing to do. Thank you

    • I can’t edit but should say, “they eat next to each other”. And “how can I detour that behavior”.

  31. While I appreciate the ‘get a second kitten’ comment (being a foster home for kittens, I always like that idea) it should come with a caveat of “if you can afford it” or “if you have time” Some people get single cats for a reason and pushing hard for a second kitten can be off-putting or in some circumstances ill-advised.

  32. I have a black n white tux. She is so mean. She bites me, other people that come over, and growls like a dog to my other cats.

  33. My “Tortie” doesn’t know what behavior means. It’s her independence or nothing, and I love it. Reminds me of myself.

  34. Hi Mikel.
    My 3 year old tabby has access to a secluded garden, he loves.
    But he has a habit of occasionally eating small twigs.
    I don’t see him doing this.
    But the next day he is very passive and obviously feeling bad, until the same day or the day after he gets rid of a poo with the twig in it.
    I’m rather concerned about this habit and it’s potential danger to his health.
    Any advice, so he can still be in his garden?

  35. I am a blind PRA Siamese cat. An important part of my play is to bath, drown, leave to swim, my toy mice and birds into water bowls placed in the house and if opportunity allows – into the toilet. Why am I doing this?

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