Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: June 26, 2023 by Crystal Uys


Welcome to our regular “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 she can each time, 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 obtained her PhD in Psychology at UC Berkeley, where she studied animal behavior and human-pet relationships. Mikel is co-author of Jackson Galaxy’s newest book, Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide to Life with Your Cat.

Does my cat not like our other cat because she doesn’t have a tail?

I have 4 cats and 3 dogs all together. My 1 1/2 year old Maine Coon Mix does not like my 4 month old Calico Bobtail Mix at all but she gets along with the other two cats and the dogs. I was wondering if my Maine Coon Mix could not be liking my Calico Bobtail Mix because she doesn’t have a tail. Does my Maine Coon Mix know that the Calico Bobtail is a cat? I’m just trying to figure out why my 1 1/2 year old cat absolutely despised the kitten. Please help!! She attacks and chases the kitten constantly. (Jennifer Falbo)

Hello Jennifer,

Much to my chagrin, there’s no way to really know what our cats are thinking. 🙂 Since we are so visual, we think that vision is the most important thing to how other animals perceive the world, but that is probably not the case. We know that for cats, other things are important, such as olfactory signals.

Now cats with stubby or missing tails are not able to display one important signal between cats – the “tail up” – that tail held high with a question mark at the top. That is a classic sign of “I come in peace” – a cat who is sending a friendly signal to another. So while I don’t think this missing signal would make or break a relationship, it could be just one more thing working against your Maine Coon Mix liking the kitten.

I wish it were guaranteed that just because a cat likes some animals, they would like all of them. But similarly, do you like every new person you meet? Probably not. A lot could depend on how the animals were introduced, as well as individual personalities and energy levels.

What I can say with some certainty is that you should start over and reintroduce the kitten and your Maine Coon Mix, controlling their interactions and building positive associations. Ongoing fighting and chasing is a sign of stress and of two cats that need some help!

maine coon with ear tuffs
Image Credit: TinasDreamworld, Shutterstock

Cat vomits after eating too fast

Hi Mikel,

Our baby boy is 6 years old and his name is Smokey. He seems to vomit very randomly and sometimes its consecutive for a few days at a time. We asked our vet about it about 6 months or so ago and he said, Smokey is gorging his food at times and that’s why he’s vomiting. Or it could also be hairballs? He is a healthy and happy cat otherwise. I just thought I’d get your take on the situation because I don’t want something to happen later on down the road, when he could have an illness. He eats both wet (fancy feast gravy) and dry (Purina indoor cat chow), and I feed him twice a day. He also loves temptation and Sheba chicken sticks treats. We try not to overdo it with the treats too! Once or twice a day we give him a few pieces at a time. Appreciate your feedback! We love our boy so much and hate seeing him get sick like this. (Tracey S.)


I’m not a veterinarian, but I do believe that the current thinking about vomiting in cats has changed – and we no longer consider it “normal” cat behavior. If Smokey is indeed gorging on his food, then food puzzles may be helpful! They can slow down his eating and keep him mentally stimulated and occupied. There are puzzles you can use with both dry and wet food – just check out for suggestions! Cats who eat wet food too fast can also be slowed down if you spread the wet food very thinly over the surface of the bowl or plate (“frost” the plate with the food).

However, if the vomiting continues, I would recommend seeking a second opinion from a veterinarian, perhaps an internal medicine specialist, who can help you pin down any potential medical issues, such as allergies or digestive problems, that are causing the vomiting.

a ragdoll cat eating from a glass bowl
Image Credit: Snowice_81, Shutterstock

Indoor/outdoor cat stopped coming inside

Hi Mikel,

4.5 years ago I adopted a two year old female cat from the local shelter (ACC). I met her at Petfood Express, the summer I visited about once/ week for a “kitten fix.” I sat on the floor with the kittens and Rosie, who was good with them and so allowed out of her cage while they were playing. She came and sat near me. She didn’t want to be petted more than a stroke or two, she definitely did not want lap time. She’s so beautiful, I kept thinking, she will soon be adopted. (I already had two senior cats at home and was not looking to adopt another.)

But 2 months went by, and she was sent back to the shelter because no one had adopted her. Another month went by, while I checked the website every Monday hoping to see she had been adopted over the week end. Didn’t happen. I finally couldn’t stand her being in jail any longer and went to get her out.
I learned Rosie had been living in a feral colony and was brought into the shelter by a volunteer who was feeding the colony and TNRing the cats. At the shelter, people thought she was friendly enough to get adopted. She was friendly. But when I got her home and spent more time with her I understood why she had spent so long in the shelter. She had feral traits which most people wouldn’t have patience with for long. She did NOT want to be picked up and would make that Known immediately. She has never decided she wants to be in a lap or even petted much. But some. On her terms. I had spent a year making friends with a feral cat who then moved in with me, so I wasn’t put off by Rosie’s behavior.

She easily made friends with the two male cats already living with us. She obviously liked other cats.

She went outdoors thru the catflap in the back door. It’s a safe outdoor area, and she insisted she absolutely had to go outdoors. For 4 years, she came and went as she pleased (except for the few days she had a vet appointment). She came in to eat and sleep, occasionally playing with a toy. When she wanted canned food, she would come in and come to me to tell me. She made friends with the male cat the same age who lives on the first floor in the apartment under ours on the 3rd. The two of them play and travel together. Often, if we call one, both come.

Last summer, Rosie stopped coming indoors to eat and sleep. I take food outdoors to her. She will still, sometimes, come upstairs with me on the indoor stairway. But when she comes into the apartment, she goes directly to the back door to go out the cat flap. I’ve tried a few times to keep her in for a little while, thinking perhaps if she sees that nothing “bad” will happen to her, she’ll get comfortable indoors again. Nope. She stays right by the back door and cries until I let her out again. One evening recently, her best friend came up with her. Xing Xing has been in and out of our home since he was very young, and he was comfortable — ate, played, napped while Rosie continued to sit by the door crying off and on until I let them go out again.

I don’t know what happened to cause Rosie to move outdoors. I don’t know how to get her comfortable coming indoors again. It’s raining now, I thought the rain would bring her in. Not happening. I think she’s sheltering in the cave like space under one of the buildings in our apartments block.

I understand this is long. Perhaps, Mikel, you would like me to make an appointment with you? I’m in San Francisco, and I think you’re in the SF Bay Area? (Cheri Collins)

Hi Cheri,

I’m sorry to hear about Rosie’s change in behavior; likely something happened last summer that tipped the scales for her, but regardless, we have to deal with the behavior she is currently showing.

Unfortunately, it sounds like Rosie got more attached to her outdoor territory before she developed much of a relationship with you. We know that cats form attachments to territory FIRST, and subsequently to whomever or whatever is in that territory. For whatever reason, be it her feral background (certainly a likely contributor) or being let outside perhaps a bit too early, she has decided home is outdoors.

Giving her food outside only reinforces that there’s not much of interest for her inside your house. Can you start luring her back inside to eat? Gradually place the food closer and closer to the door, then prop the cat flap open and feed her just inside, etc., until you are back to feeding her indoors. The more delicious the food, the better. You may also want to try providing her with a shelter (feral box) close to the home at least so you know she has a safe place to be, and then eventually move that indoors as well. The idea is to give her some reason to come indoors, since human attention dos not seem to be a primary motivator for her.

Honestly, if you want her to come indoors, you may have to make the hard decision to go cold turkey and keep her indoors ONLY and work on re-socializing and building a relationship with her. This will probably not go over well with Rosie at first, since Pandora’s Box has been opened, so to speak. Once cats have a taste of the outdoors, it can be hard to go back. My experience is that moving to a new location makes it easier to convert a cat to indoors only, because the cues that indicate “I go outside” have changed. That said, I’ve seen plenty of formerly indoor-outdoor cats convert to indoors only, with patience and enrichment.

If you’d like to discuss this problem further, and you’re interested in a consultation, I’d be happy to schedule something with you (you can find us at, or you can always find a qualified (and certified) consultant at

Graceful Cat Walking on Green Grass
Image Credit: Imageman, Shutterstock

Cat is constantly begging for food

I have an 8 year old Torti (Ginger Diana) and I’m desperately trying to get her to lose weight. I’ve got her down to 11 lbs but I’d like to get her down to at least 9 as she is a runt. The problem is whenever I am home, she is constantly begging for food. When I say no she gets upset, scratches on the walls, bites wires and bites me. I don’t want to give in to her but I don’t want to see her gain the weight back (she was 16 lbs) and I don’t want her to get destructive and then I have to answer to my landlord or see her do something that could end her life like biting through wires. (Arleen Fackina)


First of all, congratulations on the weight you have already gotten off Ginger Diana! Getting weight down with overweight cats can be challenging. I hope you are working with a veterinarian to figure out her ideal weight, what diet would be most helpful, and how much you should be feeding her. There a few ways to encourage weight loss – one is to reduce caloric intake, and another is to increase exercise. I love food puzzles for “food obsessed” cats, because they can slow down eating while giving the cat more physical activity. Cats who eat a little more slowly may feel satiated before they’ve wolfed down all their food.

I’d also think about how often you’re feeding Ginger Diana. Cats naturally eat somewhere between 8 to 15+ small meals per day. They are designed to eat several small meals (aka “mice”) each day, throughout the day. For some cats I’m a fan of much stricter meal feeding, but you may find it more effective to feed Ginger Diana several very tiny meals throughout the day, if you are around. If you aren’t around, again, several food puzzles would be great. The puzzles should be challenging enough to slow her down without her becoming frustrated. The website has several examples of food puzzles that can be used for wet or dry food, and gives plenty of options based on the cat’s skill level! Can you tell I’m a fan of food puzzles????

As she continues to lose weight, she’ll hopefully feel more like playing – so try to engage her with interactive toys a few times a day. Play sessions can be brief, but be sure to make them part of your daily routine. Anytime she’s playing with a toy is a time she is not going to be begging for food!

Finally, it’s important to not reward Ginger Diana’s destructive attempts to get you to feed her. Unsafe situations should be managed (cord covers for wires) so she cannot hurt herself. You may find that once she is able to nibble small amounts through the day, she is less likely to bother you for food. You can also use clicker training to reward her with small amounts of food (you can use small bits of her regular ration) for GOOD behavior, like sitting, scratching her scratching post, or for cute parlor tricks.

domestic tabby cat looks at a bowl of food that the owner is holding in his hand
Image Credit: Valeri Vatel, Shutterstock

Cat bites and attacks pillows, blankets and stuffed animals

Hi, I’m hoping you might have some advice for me. About 3 months ago I adopted a sphynx from a shelter. He’s estimated to be about a yr old & he’s neutered. He has a tendency to bite/attack pillows, blankets & stuffed animals and he’s starting to put holes in everything. I have been trying to keep stuff picked up but I have 3 small kids.
He also likes to cuddle with me under blankets at night & will be very calm & then nip me in the leg outta nowhere. I’m not sure if these cuddling nips are just hard love bites or he wants me to move over or what. I’ve generally found if I put my hand in between my leg & his mouth it usually stops him. For now the nipping isn’t major (no broken skin yet) but I don’t want it to turn any to anything more aggressive either.

I have “catified” as much as I can afford currently & play with him (using fishing pole style toy) for 30 minutes to an hour every evening. I try to keep the game going til he loses interest & walks off. As far as “catification” goes he has his own cat tree, two litter boxes (scooped daily, emptied weekly), multiple scratching posts, a pop up tent & tunnel, solo toys (mice, balls), a turbo scratcher, a couple food puzzles, a few wall mounted shelves (which he doesn’t really use), and I also feed birds in my yard so he can watch them.

I’m not really sure how I should correct him when I see destructive behavior…for now I’ve been telling him “no” gently but firmly then picking him up & moving him to an appropriate toy or scratcher.

The shelter couldn’t give me much history on him but they said the lady who surrendered him claimed he had been repossessed by his breeder after the breeder learned he was being kept in an outdoor cage which violated his adoption agreement. The breeder then gave him to this lady to re-home; she surrendered him to the shelter where he lived in a foster home for about a month. His foster mom told me she thought he was “gross” and admitted to locking him up frequently. He also had sores on his feet which I imagine came from spending too much time in the wire cage in his foster’s living room. If his backstory is true prior to arriving at the shelter it seems he moved around quite a bit the first 9 months of his life…so not much stability til now.

Any suggestions on how I can help him are greatly appreciated. Thanks! (Kayleigh)


Thank you for giving this guy a loving and patient home! It sounds like he definitely didn’t have the best start to his life. It sounds like you are providing him with lots of activity and enrichment which is fantastic. From what you wrote, there are two major concerns: the biting of fabrics and pillows, and the nighttime nipping. Let’s start with his bad habit of putting holes in your pillows and blankets.

My first question is whether he is just chewing, or actually ingesting fabric (a condition called pica). Chewing can be for attention or can stem from boredom and frustration. One way to tell if the behavior is for attention is considering whether it happens when you are gone. If it does, then typically we are looking at frustration and stress. If it happens ONLY when you are around, then attention is likely the PRIME motivator (although frustration and stress can also be factors). We typically address this by using (clicker) training to teach the cat ways to get attention and other rewards by doing “good” behaviors. The hows and whys of training are more detail that I can go over in this column, but there are plenty of good resources available out there, both printed books and websites!

If your cat does have pica, then I would recommend working with your veterinarian or another behavior professional to discuss this issue. Pica can be dangerous, and if he is at risk of an intestinal obstruction due to his chewing behavior, then he may need an anti-anxiety medication as an adjunct to behavior modification.

Because the sphynx kitties need a little help staying warm, it’s not surprising he likes to snuggle under the covers at night. You may find the best way to discourage the nipping of your legs while you sleep is to encourage him to sleep elsewhere – by providing him with a heated bed (perhaps one that is only turned on at night). It can be on or near your bed if you like him being nearby at night (and since he is used to sleeping with you). I also recommend an evening play session followed by a meal or snack at your bedtime to encourage him to sleep more soundly through the night.

bengal kneading blanket
Image Credit: K Lim, Shutterstock

Cat suddenly started to scream at other cats in the household and chase them

I have a cat named Thomas who recently came to my house through a family member. He is a five-year-old cat that was used to being in a one cat household and indoors. Now in the two months he is been with us he has become part of a family of 3 other cats and in the beginning they all got along famously and Thomas did venture outside at times. Out of the blue last week Thomas started reacting in extreme duress toward the other cats by screaming (sounded like a woman screaming) either crouched down or chasing the other cats out of the house… there is not one trigger to start this behavior, it has been multiple things and we never know when he will do it again. We separate Thomas from the other when it happens for up to twelve hours to calm him down when he comes out everyone is fine until something triggers another reaction. I now have Thomas separated again and plan to leave him apart for another 3 days. When I go visit Thomas he is a different cat so calm and loving and sits in my lap so contentedly…he never comes close to us and lets us pet him just a little when he is out around the other cats. Why the sudden change after 2 months of seemingly being a part of this clowder of cats? This has stressed us all out and the other cats avoid him more and more. My brother has agreed to take Thomas to put him in a one person and him only as pet home if we cannot work this out. Thanks for any advice and insight. (Susan Lunday)

Hello Susan!

It’s not unusual for cats to “seem fine” at first, and then as a newcomer becomes more comfortable in the territory, tensions arise. I’d first be curious as to just how much a part of the clowder Thomas really was – did you see him co-grooming with the other cats, sleeping with them, and playing (not fighting) together? Sometimes we assume that the absence of overt fighting means everything is peachy-keen, but we also need to look for the presence of POSITIVE interactions. If those positive interactions were missing, I’d be less certain about how strong that relationship ever was.

His extreme reaction and the lack of clear triggers for his outbursts is troublesome. I would need more information to rule out redirected aggression. Has Thomas been examined by a veterinarian? Sometimes pain (such as dental pain or digestive troubles) can be sporadic, but intense; they can also be “blamed” on whoever is nearby, such as other cats.

In some cases, increasing resources (litter boxes, feeding stations, bedding, vertical space, scratching posts, etc.) can help diffuse tension and at the very least allow cats to co-exist peacefully. However, I think you will also have to work on a much slower, more controlled re-introduction based on positive interactions – the current system of just going back and forth between with the cats and then separated when there are outbursts isn’t working. In some cases, as much as we love all the cats, some of them might be happier living as an only cat. I would certainly give a re-introduction a good go, but it should be a systematic process, not just throwing them together until something bad happens!

abbyssinian cat meowing
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Cat hissing and spitting

Hello, we have an almost 3 yr Tortie with much attitude. She is a “fight” in lieu of “flight” cat. She has become an indoor/outdoor cat and loves going outside. Has her own play area, cat tree, numerous scratching posts, balls, wands, etc. Get plenty of attention and play time, she is very spoiled and shows us that she runs the house. We have had numerous hissing/spitting, chasing while hissing occurrences which is what let to suggestion from the Vet to let her outside which has helped the issue. I am just looking for any other suggestions and I am uncomfortable with the behavior but my husband handles it very well. (B)

Hello B,

I’m not sure that I completely understand the nature of the problem you are having with your kitty. I assume that your cat is only displaying the hissing toward you and your husband? Is she biting and scratching or just hissing? Sometimes hissing is just a warning “I’m not comfortable” in which case I’d want to know more about what elicits the hissing. Is it when you pet her, approach her, ignore her, etc.?

In general, I’m a big fan of letting the cat control the interactions; some cats enjoy handling and petting and the like more than others. It’s kind of like the Henny Youngman joke about the doctor; “Doctor it hurts when I do this…the doctor says, “don’t do that.”

If your cat predictably hisses when you try to pet her, stop petting her. Let her come to you for petting, and find other “hands off” ways to interact – especially interactive play where you move the wand toys for her to chase. This is a good way to build a bond and have fun together, plus we know that exercise has stress-reducing properties… and tired cats are less likely to bite and scratch! If she is being affectionate, give her treats and praise so she knows you like that behavior. I also recommend giving cats breaks from petting regularly if they are prone to overstimulation, even if they seem interested in handling. Some cats aren’t so good at saying no, even if they are worked up!

That said, I do like clicker training with cats who have tendencies to have issues with being handled. This is because it allows you to reinforce behaviors you like, and behaviors that get reinforced are more likely to be repeated in the future. It’s also a great way to train a cat to accept certain types of handling while they are young. Far too many cats don’t get the medical treatment they need because they bite or scratch when handled. It’s good planning for her future to address some of those issues now.

Finally, if anyone is roughhousing, wrestling, playing chase games, or otherwise encouraging your cat to see humans as a toy, I highly recommend giving up those bad habits. Even if your cat engages in that type of play, she can be redirected toward a toy. Allowing her to “play rough” is giving a green light to be aggressive.

Two rescue cats no longer get along

Hello! I have two rescue cats (I got them at 8 and 10 weeks respectively) that do not like each other. They are 3 years old, Zazzles is older by 6 months than Mercedes. Zazzles is my shy, skittish girl, Mercedes is bold, assertive and outgoing girl. They are two prides of one instead of a pride of two.

At first, they seemed to get on just fine. They slept together, groomed each other and teamed up against the dog. Now Mercedes seems to pick on Zazzles. She pounces on her when Zazzles seems to least expect it. There is some hissing and growling on Zazzles part then they go their separate ways; that’s as serious as it gets. They usually keep to different parts if the house. They have separate food, water and litter. My husband says they only fight when I’m home, and usually it’s near me.

Is there hope for my cats? I am not interested in rehoming either of them, they deserve forever homes and I love them both. Thank you, Beth Audet


It is not uncommon to see cat relationships change at adulthood. When cats reach social maturity, there may be more struggles over access to preferred resources, and sometimes one cat just wants to play less than the other.

What I find most interesting is that your cats only fight when you are home – do you feel this is true, or do you feel that your husband tolerates more squabbles than you do (or are both the case)?

One thing that is encouraging is that aside from some pouncing, hissing, and growling, things don’t sound like a situation where I’d say someone definitely has to be rehomed. But do you ever see positive signs between your cats, such as sleeping near each other and playing together? What are they doing all day when you’re not home? Are you seeing other behavior problems, such as litter box avoidance, or signs of withdrawal? If not, I’d say that you can work on this situation, if not getting the cats back to BFFs, to at least decrease the tension between them.

It’s great that you are providing your girls with separate resources, such as food, water, and litter. I would also look at other important resources, such as vertical space, sun spots, scratching posts, and the like. Having more resources in the key rooms of the house can make it easier for them to share those spaces, rather than spending time in opposite sides of the house to avoid each other. Also be sure to give each cat some one-on-one private time with you each day, because YOU are also an important resource.

More exercise and mental stimulation is always a stress-reducer for cats. It sounds like Mercedes especially needs more to keep her occupied. You can also work on actively creating positive associations between your cats by having what I like to call a “treat summit” – each day, the two cats should get their absolute favorite thing in the world…but only when they are together. With repetition, your cats will associate these special treats with each other.

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19 Comments on Ask the Cat Behaviorist with Mikel Delgado: Begging, Vomiting & Attacking Pillows

  1. I need desperately need some advice regarding my 1 1/2 year old male cat. I am going on 7 months pregnant and in the process of preparing for the baby I had to rehome my 13 year old diabetic cat due to her urinating all over the house which is something I had been putting up with for a year but decided I could not bring a baby into a home with cat urine in literally every room. In the process we also had our carpets replaced and furniture moved from one bedroom to another. In the midst of all these changes my 1 1/2 year old male cat developed a life threatening urinary blockage. I know stress can cause behavior changes regarding a cats litter box/potty habits. But his stress levels seem to be getting worse and not better. The only places in the house he seems comfortable are the kitchen and my old bedroom (which is now empty) but I believe he is comfortable in there because it is familiar territory to him. As I believe he is comfortable in the kitchen/dining area because those are the only 2 rooms in the house where no changes have been made. I am in the master bedroom now and he seems very stressed in here. He walks around the room very cautiously and seems to be on edge 24/7. He just seems very unsure of his surroundings. It’s been a month since we’ve made the changes and he only seems comfortable and playful and content in the old (now empty) bedroom and the kitchen. He seems to be hyper sensitive to changes which is something I never noticed before because up until now we have had the same living arrangements and daily routines.
    Could he be missing my other cat? Is he just stressed from the household changes? Should I move back into my old bedroom? I’m so afraid he will never adjust and will stay stressed and become blocked again. I’m especially afraid that when the baby gets here it will just be too much stress to bare and it will cause him to become I’ll due to the issues stress can cause in a cat. I’m just at such a loss on what to do.

    • Please repost this question here, Brandee: Mikel no longer answers questions on this site, but Marci will address your question in her next column in January. If you’d rather not wait, you can reach out to either Mikel or Marci for a private consultation.

  2. I have a 4 year old female Siamese cat who is strong and independent and can sometimes get aggressive. I’ve found that if she can go outside, it really helps her mood. Even though she doesn’t like putting on the harness, she is used to it and I can walk with her on a leash around the yard. Since she loves being outside so much but not necessarily walking, I’ve been tying her leash to lots of rope so that she can have quite a free range of exploring. I always supervise her when she is outside. But it occurred to me that it might be “mental cruelty” to have her think that she can chase birds, squirrels, etc.. only to discover that she doesn’t have enough rope to actually get them. I thought that I was providing her with stimulation but now I’m second-guessing. What do you think?

  3. Please help, We (my 13 yr old, spayed, buff torti), recently moved from her only home, our new home is next door to a home that has numerous outside cats. My girl is struggling, pacing, running from window to window, hissing & chattering. Our new home is very Rural, so there are no City rules about pets loose in the neighborhood. What can I do to make life manageable for my girl? FYI, she is in the beginnings of kidney issues.

  4. Hi Mikel! Love your posts! Thank you for what you are doing to help cat guardians!
    I have a 5 yo male orange tabby who was orphaned at 2 days old, bottle fed (by me), and neutered at 2 months. He had PU surgery at around 6 months due to being sucked on by his litter mates. So I am pretty certain urination caused him pain for the first part of his life. He eats wet food only, sees the vet regularly, and has only had 2 UTIs in the past 5 years.
    Here’s what I need help with, and no cat behavior expert has been able to help me with this one yet… He poops in the litter box just fine, but he walks out of the litter box while he urinates. So, he gets in the box, digs his little hole in the litter, starts urinating, and then slowly walks out while he urinates. So he leaves a large stream of urine outside the litter box. I clean the (open top, not enclosed) litter boxes 3 times a day, deep clean them and add new (unscented) litter every other week, and buy new boxes every year. The boxes are very large and in prominent, socially-relevant areas of the house (not hidden away). I really don’t think it’s an aversion to the litter box, but rather a behavior caused by former pain when urinating. I would love to clicker-train him to pee in the box, but he starts walking out as soon as he starts urinating. Any ideas on how to help him urinate inside the box and not walk out? Thanks so much!

  5. Hi Mikel,
    I have a 2 year old Tabby that I adopted from a shelter 10 months ago. He’s always been a lap cat. He just jumps on your chest or lap, head butts you then curls up. It doesnt matter where I am, it can be on the toilet and he jumps on me. He’s never been an aggressive cat except for petting aggression at times but recently he’s taken on the habit of biting me when he wants to be pet, if hes comfortable laying on me and I move, or if he wants attention – at least that’s how I interpret his behavior. I have tried getting up and leaving him alone or just telling him NO. He usually runs to his food bowl to eat when I do this. The other thing he does is that after her eats he come backs, stares at me and then gingerly nibbles on me as if he knows hes not supposed to do it but he’s being cute and will get his way. The other perculiar thing is that he wont do it to my boyfriend or son. He only does it to me. I feel like I have a spoiled brat that just wants his way no matter what. Do you have any insight into why he does this? and How can I get him to stop?

  6. I have a 7 month old kitten and she is eating fabric and getting on counters my main concern is how do I get her to stop eating fabric.

  7. So I have been wondering a few things about my cat, she is about 2 years old and not fixed, she really only likes me and is kind to me she seems to scratch or “attack” others really for no reason. I was wondering why she does that as well as why she seems to only be nice to me never attacks me always lays on me and comes to me when I call her name she honestly is a sweetheart with a mean side, the only time she ever gives me a warning meow is when she is on my lap and I get up to move and she gets really upset, she does not attack me but she will act like she will and will touch me but does not have her claws out, but with others if she is sitting near them and they get up to leave and it messes with where she is laying or if she is on them and they get up to move she attacks them and hisses. What is causing that behavior as well as the one I mentioned in the beginning of this.

  8. I have a 11 yr. old cat that i got from stray cats that were in a box at a home depot store. I guess his mother was ferral, but I have had her since she was 5 weeks old. Mother no longer wanted to feed the babies. She behaves well and is very attached to me although does not liked to be picked up or lay on me. Lately there has been a ferral cat coming to the patio and front of house my cat gets extremely upset hisses and then tries to bite me. Not sure what I can do

  9. Hi! My boyfriend and I started living together a couple weeks ago. He has a female cat, 2 years olds; she’s really athletic and extrovert. I have another female cat, 1 year old, really shy and tiny.

    We’ve been doing all the things that experts recommend for introducing to cats. The two of them already met, but they never get along, his cat always chased mine and they have to be separated all times. Now they’re really quiet in the apartment; they are separated but at least the older cat hasn’t tried to chase the other cat. After two weeks of living together we join them using a harness in the older cat. They looked at each other at all times, really tense but not aggressive.

    We keep trying with the harness but the younger cat don’t let her guard down. Sometimes she groans at the older cat (but she’s never tried to attack her though…). My question is: when will we know when the two cats are ready to be together? We are terrified of gather the two cats because we’re still afraid that they hurt each other, but we have to try eventually, otherwise we’ll never know. So…when do you recommend to do the first gather without harness? What are the sings in order to know “they’re ready”?


  10. My 4 year old male Kacey bites the back of the neck of my 6 year old female Kieran. She yelps seemingly in pain. I yell at him to stop. He knows I don’t want him to do it. WHY does he do this? How do I get him to stop? Thank you! =^..^=

  11. Re vomiting cat, check the first 3 ingredients on your dry food. If not meat (cats are carnivores), perhaps another dry food might help. You don’t have to spend a fortune to find a more meat based food.

    • RE Vomiting cat and Gail’s comment – agreed do check the ingredients. I would add also, if possible, ditch the dry food (had to finally cold-turkey my gang, could not wean them off it, although they were already getting both dry and canned). Also, don’t fall for the marketing ploys like “indoor” or “hairball” foods – food is food, canned is better for all cats and the more meat base the better! Moisture, which is lacking in dry foods, is key to better health!

    • One of our cats is prone to this, which is also called “scarf and barf”. Google searches for “feline scarf and barf” were very helpful to us. The good news is our cat was checked to be fine physically. He has some food issues where anything that causes excitement and/or anxiety before or during meals will lead to gorging food and then regurgitation. A puzzle feeder is an excellent choice for many cats but it proved to be too stimulating for our cat and led to more scarf and barf. Our solution is to have a quiet, calm mealtime. We stop playing 15 minutes before meals, we moved his food bowls to a small nook where he has more privacy and we keep the noise level low until he’s finished. Of course things still happen sometimes, but making a few changes to his mealtime environment has reduced his episodes by 90%. Good luck to you and Smokey!

  12. Hey Mikel,
    I’m currently in college and take my cat back for breaks with me. At home there are 2 cats and my sister has another with her at college. The two at home are very close, and my sister’s cat get along with the other two. My cat is the smallest but she will randomly jump on the other cats, and chases one of them through the house. He’s scared of her and tries to hide, but she will look for him until she finds him. During longer breaks they get along after awhile but I’m not sure how to avoid the aggressive periods. They’re all scared of her and have stopped being aggressive to her at all. She doesn’t scratch or bite at them either. She’ll only play with my sister’s cat, not with the other two. I don’t think chasing the one around is playing, but if he acts like he’ll run she’ll chase him. I’ve been physically separating them but it doesn’t seem to work. Do you have any tips?

    • Response to Elise and the question about the bob-tail: While not having the tail to “signal” may have some impact, more often than not it is just personality issues. For Elise, the separation period might be the crux of the problem – when reintroducing them back to the “fold”, it might be best to have separate areas for the initial period – give them time to re-acclimate. Short visits with each other at first, rewarding with treats or catnip. It sounds like this might work for Elise and others, however in some cases cats just do not get along.
      My oldest (19) HATES cats. She came along as a kitten with a 5 yo living with us. They got along okay, but she wanted to play more. When she was one year old, we took in 2 kittens hoping for playmates. Problem as I see it, she bonded too well to me and hated those two for the 10 years we had them (lost both to different medical conditions.) Now there are others, but she does NOT like them. She does not actively attack, but if they get too close or make her feel uncomfortable she will lash out.
      One adoptee is what we call a bully – she will torment some of the others, but not really fight. If they eventually stand up to her, she backs off. Her sister (actual litter mate) is not like that at all. The two kittens adopted at that same time never really got along with the others. The female, a tiny little 6-6.5 pounder, instantly hated one of the next kittens I took in. They would get into outright knock-down battles, not just spats, and there was a lot of peeing/spraying going on. I had to put those two (brother and sister) into another area with no other cats. The one that she would attack now goes after Eddie, one of two adopted about a year or two later. He is the sweetest boy, and never attacks her, but is afraid of her. So I now have 3 cat-zones. At the place we live in now, I was able to set up this way – one bedroom for the outcasts, large/huge kitchen and access to finished basement for the biggest group and master BR plus long hallway for the others, using wooden screen doors in the two hall doorways to allow light, airflow and keep the cats apart. Little miss attacker will lie in wait and when she sees poor Eddie on the other side, she will launch into the screen just to scare him! What a jerk! She is a sweet cat, the best mouser and very loving to me, but just does not like him or her nemesis from earlier.
      Cat care-givers know their cats best. Observe and try to work things out for the best. Cat dynamics are fun!

  13. My 11 year old feral rescue cat has started talking in his sleep. He uses the mrrp-type voice he uses to my other cat, rather than the meow he uses with me. It is not a problem. I’m just curious if anyone else has had this experience.

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