Crystal Uys

Cat mom to Ivy - a feisty little rescue kitten that is her one and only child. For now! Throughout her life, she has been introduced to the special love that can be found in the bond with a cat. Having owned multiple felines, she is more than certain that their love is unmatched, unconditional and unlike any other. With a passion to educate the public about everything, there is to know about felines, their behavior, and their unique personalities, Crystal is devoted to making sure that all cats and their owners know the importance of conscious living - and loving!

Do Cats Have a Preferred Paw? The Surprising Answer!

tabby cat paws on backrest of couch

Cats are finicky creatures who have no problem letting you know what they like and don’t like. Cats have preferences for food, toys, where they sleep, and even where they use the litter box, but do their preferences extend to having a favorite paw? Do they have a dominant paw, like people have a dominant hand? The science says yes, but it’s not easy to tell which paw your cat prefers. Whether you know it or not, it’s likely that your cat is either right or left-pawed.

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Can Cats Get Addicted to Treats, Foods, or Catnip?

maine coon cat having treat

There are a lot of things to remember when it comes to taking care of a cat. Not only should you remember what they can and can’t eat, but you should also keep in mind the potential addictions or obsessions they can develop.

Treats and food can both become dangerous addictions for our favorite felines. On the other hand, despite using catnip as a way to trigger catnip highs in cats, it’s completely safe and non-addictive.

Food, treats, and catnip all carry individual risks and it’s important to consider all of the potential downsides to overusing your cat’s favorite things. This guide contains everything you need to know about addictions to foods and treats, and how to use catnip safely.

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How Strong Is Your Cat’s Memory?

ragdoll cat sitting on a cat tree

Cats actually have incredible memories! They can remember a person’s face for up to 10 years! And kitties become seriously attached to their humans, so in case you were wondering, yes, your cat remembers and misses you when you’re gone for a few weeks, and they absolutely mourn when a trusted companion drops out of their life.

Cats also have fantastic associative memories — they’re great at linking positive and negative experiences to both people and places. And, of course, after a move, they’re notorious for showing up at their old home, sometimes thousands of miles away, demonstrating the strength of their place-related memory skills! Read on for more information about cats and their stunning memories.

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How To Bond With Your Cat – 10 Possible Ways

Young woman wearing warm sweater is resting with a cat

If you’re struggling to develop a bond with a new cat, you’re not alone. As cat lovers, we’ve all been there. Cats have a form of communication that’s very distinct from human communication. These differences can make bonding a challenging experience for both cats and people.

Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to help establish a strong bond with your cat. Finding the right combination can help your cat to trust you and want to be around you. It’ll take some trial and error and a lot of patience, but it’s very possible to form and strengthen your bond with your cat. Here are some things that I have found can help you establish that bond.
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7 Possible Reasons Your Cat Is Meowing a Lot Suddenly

Tabby cat meows with its mouth open

A cat’s meow has much more to do with humans than other cats, and their meow has become a way to communicate. Meows can display a range of emotions, whether it be love and affection or stress, pain, or confusion.

The most obvious reason for your cat’s meowing is that it gets results. Your cat is just as quick to make the connection between the meow and being rewarded with what it wants, just as a human baby learns that by crying, it can receive food and attention.

I have found that it’s critical to keep track of how frequently your cat meows. A change in the frequency of your cat’s meows can be one of the first signs that your cat is unwell. We have compiled a list of possible reasons your cat may be meowing a lot.

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‘Inside the Mind of a Cat’ Netflix Documentary Review 2022: Pros & Cons

cat watching 'Inside the Mind of a Cat' Netflix Documentary at home

Our Final Verdict

We give ‘Inside the Mind of a Cat’ a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

A recently released documentary on Netflix is trying to change how we look at cats. A group of feline specialists and a passionate director use science and history to challenge your perceptions.

You might ask why you’d want to sit down and watch a 67-minute documentary about cats when you can scroll through TikTok and watch cat videos until the cows come home. While this documentary may not be chock full of clips of cat zoomies or cats trying but failing to jump on household objects, it is crammed with interesting facts and scientific insight into the behavior and history of felines.

Inside the Mind of a Cat examines cat behavior from the viewpoint of scientists, cat behaviorists, and cat lovers. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from the documentary and learn more about the people who filmed it.

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How to Introduce a Newborn Baby to Your Cat: Helping Babies and Cats Be Friends for Life

grey cat beside a baby

A newborn baby brings excitement and joy into the prospective parents’ lives, but the same cannot always be said about the pets in the home. Cats, especially, are creatures of habit, and any changes to their routine or environment, no matter how small, can be highly distressing.

The best thing you can do as a pregnant cat owner is to start preparing your kitty for the big change as soon as you know you’re pregnant. Keep reading to find our tips for making the transition into parenthood as easy and seamless on your kitty as possible.
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Can Cats Save Our Lives? Remembering Some of the Most Heroic Felines

cat-in-superhero-costume

While dogs are often hailed as heroes in the news, their feline counterparts can be just as heroic. From saving their family members from dog attacks to sniffing out hazardous gas leaks and alerting their owners to heart attacks or intruders, there seems there is no limit to what a trustworthy feline companion can do.

Keep reading to find some of the most uplifting feline hero stories.

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Should You Feed Your Cat a Raw Diet?

A cat eating food

Vet Approved by Paola Cuevas

Cat owners are always looking out for their companions’ health, especially regarding food. The pet food industry is roughly valued at $95 billion globally and is expected to grow. This means that the variety of cat food available is quite expansive, which is good news for people who want to find top-quality food for their cats.

One kind of pet food that is getting a lot of attention is raw food, and it has piqued the curiosity of many cat owners. Since the raw food production industry has increased by 20% in 2021, it is becoming popular. But should you feed your cat a raw diet? This article covers the benefits of a raw diet as well as some things to keep in mind should you make the switch to raw food.

What Is Raw Food?

Raw cat food is uncooked and unprocessed food. The main ingredients in raw food include uncooked meat, organs, and ground bone (for calcium). A raw food diet cannot just include meat. There needs to be a proper balance of macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals in the raw food. This nutritional balance will ensure a cat’s overall health.

Since cats are obligate carnivores, they need a diet high in animal proteins to be healthy and thrive. Obligate carnivores cannot survive on plant proteins as their main food source. This is why many people are feeding their cats a raw food diet; these recipes are the least processed form of animal protein.

What Are the Benefits of a Raw Diet?

Some cat owners are concerned about low-quality ingredients and the toxic end products resulting from thermal processing found in most standard wet or dry food. While there are plenty of companies that make cat food with high-quality ingredients, there are cat owners who prefer a purer form of food, whether they buy the raw food commercially made or make it themselves.

When the raw food is high-quality, there are some health benefits:

  • Boost in energy: Cats can get sluggish without the proper amount of meat protein. While a cat with low energycan mean several things, diet can be one of the causes.
  • Digestion is improved: As mentioned before, cats need a diet primarily of meat. Plant foods and excessive carbohydrates can disturb their digestion and metabolism. So, with a raw diet, cats get the ingredients their bodies were made to ingest.
  • Healthy Weight: Cat food high in carbohydrates can lead to weight gain because cats are trying to eat more to compensate for the lack of animal protein.
  • Hydration: Any cat owner will tell you that it can be a challenge to keep a cat hydrated. In the wild, cats get their daily moisture from the animals they eat. Dry food does not have enough moisture to help a cat stay hydrated.

Things to Consider with a Raw Diet

While there are several benefits to feeding your cat a raw diet, there are some things you want to keep in mind before you make the switch:

  • Risk of illness: Cat owners must know the potential issues in handling raw meat. If a cat owner prepares the food and does not consider the sanitation aspect, this can lead to increased risk of infection with Toxoplasmosis, Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter. People can get these infections when preparing raw food improperly, handling or touching their cat near the face and mouth after eating raw food, and by handling fecal matter.
  • Improper nutritional balance: Commercially made raw foods usually have added nutrients and minerals cats need to be healthy. However, cat owners might omit those essential components when making the raw food themselves. A raw diet cannot just be meat on its own. Making your own raw food can be tricky, so consulting your veterinarian on this matter is vital for your cat’s health.
  • Meat Source: If you are making homemade raw food, it is essential to get the meat from a highly reputable source. The animals must be slaughtered under hygienic conditions as well as having the meat be handed properly. These practices will reduce cross contamination of bacteria.
  • Time: Many pet owners like the convenience of packaged food. You can buy the food in bulk, which saves time and money. Dry food can sit out safely for a few hours, so you can add some food to a bowl earlier in the day if you plan on getting home late. But because there are some health risks surrounding improper preparation of raw food, some people may not have the time to make the cat’s meals safely. With raw food, people must take the time to disinfect the preparation area, wash their hands thoroughly after touching the food and your cat, and ensure you use fresh meat from reliable sources where the animals have been raised in sanitary conditions.
  • Generally, dry and wet food are less expensive than a raw diet. People on a tight budget might find it harder to get the ingredients to make homemade raw food or sign up for raw food subscription services.

Final Thoughts: Should I Feed My Cat a Raw Diet

A raw food diet can benefit your cat’s overall health and wellness. Many cat owners have been pleased with the positive changes they have seen in their cat’s physical appearance and overall health. However, switching to a raw food diet should not be taken lightly.

You want to consider a few things before changing the cat’s diet. If you do not think you have the time to clean up after raw food preparation safely or if you do not think you have the money to either get the proper ingredients to make raw food or buy it from the store or online, you might want to reconsider this meal plan.

However, if you are aware of the risks of improper raw food preparation and clean-up, as well as understand the time commitment and costs, reach out to a raw savvy-vet about how to switch to a raw food diet for your cat.

Sources:

How to Manage Cat Separation Anxiety (For Humans & Cats)

A happy cat

Although separation anxiety is often associated with dogs, it’s also a problem that can occur in cats. Knowing how to deal with separation anxiety in cats can be difficult, and it can become frustrating to manage this issue. To help simplify things for you and your cat, we’ve put together some of the best ways to manage separation anxiety.

First, we will go over how to help cats manage separation anxiety, and then we will look at how we as humans can manage the anxiety that can occur when we are away from our felines.

1.  Provide a Nice View

Enjoyable perches that provide your kitty with a nice view, like window perches, can help decrease separation anxiety by keeping them entertained with something they enjoy. Allowing your cat to watch the birds or even the comings and goings of your neighborhood can help your cat stay distracted from your absence, making it easier on them when you’re gone. Secure catios can have a similar impact, although it’s important to make a catio that is secure enough to keep your cat safe and that allows them to come and go between indoors and outdoors.

2. Try a Pheromone Diffuser

Pheromone diffusers are a commercial product that release pheromones that will help soothe and comfort your cat. Oftentimes, these pheromones are similar to the pheromones associated with nursing mother cats. These diffusers can be a little bit pricey, but they’re a lifesaver that many people, including vets, swear by. Pheromone diffusers can also help your cat adjust to changes in the home and help grumpy cats get along with each other. Make sure to select a plug that is near the areas where your cat spends the most time to provide them an extra sense of safety and security while you’re out.

3. Set a Soundtrack

There are many sounds that your cat might find enjoyable, from birds to classical music to TV shows you frequently watch. Try to identify sounds that are soothing to your cat and play them when you’re going to be out. It can be especially beneficial if the sounds are similar to sounds that occur when you’re home, like specific TV or radio stations. There are a variety of options for soundtracks that can be enjoyable for your cat, with many free soundtracks available through YouTube channels and even Alexa devices.

4. Come and Go Quietly

Try not to make a big deal about your comings and goings from the home. Most of us are guilty of announcing to our pets that we’re leaving, and even more of us are guilty of making a big deal about coming back into the house. For cats with separation anxiety, though, this can exacerbate their anxiety by causing a greater sense of importance when you come and go. For anxious cats, it’s best to not intentionally announce our departures and arrivals, instead keeping the moments before and after calm and low key.

5. Help Your Cat Burn Excess Energy

A cat full of excess energy is far more likely to experience anxiety than a cat that is well exercised. Spend time every day playing with your cat to help them burn any excess energy they may have. This doesn’t just burn energy, but also builds a sense of trust between the two of you. This will help your cat feel safe when you leave because they trust that you’re going to come back. It’s likely that you know what types of games and toys your cat likes the best that also burns the most energy.

6. Provide Safe Spaces

Your cat needs spaces throughout your home that feel safe and comfortable for them. These spaces should be away from other pets, as well as allow them to get away from small children and visitors that may make them uncomfortable. Most cats enjoy places that are high up and allow them to keep an eye on things, but a variety of spots at different levels can work well. Your cat may feel extra safe and comfortable if you put one of your shirts that still has your scent on it in their favorite spots so they can still feel close to you when you’re out of the house.

7. Provide Toys and Puzzles

Toys and puzzles aren’t just beneficial when you’re home to play with your cat. Provide your cat with a rotation of toys to keep things fun and interesting. Puzzle toys with treats and kibble in them are a great way to encourage your cat to play, even when you aren’t home. You can also hide your cat’s kibble throughout your home in small containers, like cupcake liners. This encourages your cat’s natural hunting instincts and keeps them busy when you’re not home.

8. Spread Out the Cues of You Leaving

Not only should you avoid making a big deal when you’re walking out the door, you should also avoid doing every step of leaving at once. For example, you might normally put on your shoes, grab your lunch bag, pick up your keys, and then leave. If you can break these steps up and spread them across a longer period of time, it can distract your cat from you getting ready to leave and help the process of you leaving the home feel more natural and comfortable. If every step of you leaving happens quickly, it can be overwhelming and stressful for your kitty.

9. Try a Pet Sitter

If your cat has separation anxiety that doesn’t seem to be resolved through the other ideas, then consider hiring a pet sitter to stop in when you’re out of the house. This can be especially beneficial if you’re gone for long stretches of time, like if you work a job that requires 10 or 12 hours of work per day. A pet sitter can come by and play with your cat and ensure that they have everything they need and are comfortable. Just make sure to walk your pet sitter through the steps you have already implemented to manage your cat’s separation anxiety so they can continue with the positive conditioning.

How to Manage Your Anxiety When Away from Your Cat

Your cat might not be the only one experiencing anxiety when the two of you are apart. It’s not uncommon for people to have anxiety when away from their pets, especially if you’re going out of town or your cat is going to be boarding or hospitalized for multiple days. Your anxiety likely won’t lead you to scratch the furniture or pee on the floor, but it can lead to unpleasant thoughts of worry and sensations of racing thoughts and racing heart. How can you best manage your own anxiety when you’re away from your cat?

  • Trust the Environment Your Cat is in

If your cat is staying with a pet sitter, meet them ahead of time and take time for them to get to know your cat and you to get to know them. If your cat is staying with a boarding facility or vet clinic, make sure you’ve toured the facility and feel comfortable with the workers and environment. Check in on them as often as you feel is necessary. Nobody is going to be upset with you for checking in on your kitty!

  • Try Meditation

Meditation is a great way to manage acute and long-term anxiety. It helps to slow racing thoughts and relax the body. Regularly making time for meditation has shown the ability to help build tolerance to anxiety and reduce negative reactions to stressful situations. Guided meditations are available everywhere, including on YouTube and apps, making them available to you anywhere at any time.

  • Work on Deep Breathing

Like meditation, deep breathing exercises can help relax your body and your mind. Deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your body’s physiological responses to stress. This helps relax your muscles, slow your heart rate and breathing, and redirect and slow your racing thoughts.

  • Stay Active

If you’re sitting at home or in a hotel room doing nothing but thinking of and worrying about your cat, you’re going to continue to feel more and more anxious. Not only is this unproductive, but it’s unhealthy for your body and wellbeing. Keep yourself busy when you’re away from your cat, whether it’s through exercise or going on outings on vacation.

  • Focus on Nutritious Food and Drinks

Heavy, greasy foods, sugary foods, caffeine, and alcohol can all lead to feeling pretty icky. These foods also provide minimal nutrients to your body, and alcohol and caffeine can cause changes in your heartrate and breathing. The combination of heaviness in the food and lack of nutrition can increase feelings of anxiety in some people. By focusing on foods that provide you with high-quality nutrition can help you feel much better. If you’re on vacation, this can be difficult, but try to keep at least one meal per day on the healthier side.

  • Talk to Your Doctor

If feelings of anxiety are common for you, then you should talk to your doctor about it. While everyone has some level of anxiety from time to time, consistent anxiety is not normal. Chronic anxiety can be difficult to deal with and can limit many aspects of your life. Therapy and medication may be necessary to manage chronic anxiety, and it is not likely to resolve without significant work on your part and possibly medical interventions.

Conclusion

Separation anxiety can be a real challenge to manage, especially if your cat has a severe case. It may take multiple steps and lots of time and positive reinforcement to help your cat feel happy and comfortable when they’re home alone. Make sure to practice patience and be willing to work through things with your cat. If all else fails, talk to your vet about options for managing your cat’s anxiety.

Sources:

https://www.metrovetchicago.com/services/cats/blog/8-signs-separation-anxiety-cats-and-what-do-about-them#:~:text=Start%20with%20shorter%20absences%20first,a%20few%20minutes%20before%20leaving)

Tortitude: The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats

A tortoiseshell cat

If you’re a long-time cat owner or an animal health professional, you’ve probably heard or made certain blanket statements about a kitty’s personality based on their coat color. For example, orange male cats are widely assumed to be among the sweetest kitties you’ll ever meet. On the other end of the spectrum, tortoiseshell cats have quite a reputation of their own!

The unique personality of tortoiseshell cats is known as “tortitude” and because the assumption of their attitude is so commonly held, cats of this color are likely to be judged instantly by potential owners. In this article, we’ll talk about what “tortitude” is and whether it’s real. We’ll also discuss some possible reasons for this belief about tortoiseshell cats and other factors that may be more influential in shaping their personalities than coat color.

What Is Tortitude?

Cats as a whole are often considered independent and unpredictable, less affectionate than dogs, although research disputes this theory.

Tortoiseshell cats, in particular, often seem to display these types of personality traits. Many are high-strung and dislike sharing their homes with other pets. They may be affectionate one minute and hissing the next.

Torties are sometimes called “the divas of the cat world” because they typically like things done their way and have a quick temper when crossed. Veterinary professionals, who interact with countless different cats over their careers, tend to approach dealing with torties a bit more cautiously because of their often unpredictable responses.

Cats with “tortitude” may be more independent, like to keep to themselves and display a fiery personality when they do interact with people. They are often sassy, energetic, and talkative kitties as well. Tortie owners often expect to deal with a certain amount of unwanted behavior like swatting, scratching, and even nipping.

While that may sound unpleasant, tortie cats and their unique personalities have plenty of fans among kitty owners. They love the quirks, tolerate the sass, and soak up the affection when their torties do decide to hand it out.

Is Tortitude Real?

We all know what they say about assumptions, so before we judge a whole coat color of a cat let’s find out if there’s any evidence to support the general feelings about torties.

In 2016, researchers at the University of California-Davis vet school published a study about cat coat color and personality. The study was based on the results of a survey of over 1,200 cat owners who weren’t told what the research was for but were asked to answer questions about their cat’s interactions with humans and describe their personalities.

The results of the survey support the idea that torties and similarly-colored calico cats do display challenging and aggressive behaviors more often than many other cat colors.

Specifically, the study found that these kitties were more likely to swat, hiss, chase, scratch, or bite during interactions with humans. Gray-and-white and black-and-white cats were also slightly more likely to behave this way.

Obviously, this study was based only on owner observations of a limited pool of cats so it does come with some continued questions. One question to ponder is whether the owners’ interpretation of their pet’s behavior was influenced by the general reputation of tortoiseshell cats.

No research has yet proven an actual genetic link between tortoiseshell coat color and personality. However, the results of this study, along with observations from those with a lot of experience handling cats, suggest that “tortitude” is probably real to a certain extent.

A tortoiseshell cat in a bed

What Causes Tortitude?

While we wait for researchers to explore any possible genetic causes of the tortoiseshell cat’s unique personality, there is one possible option to consider.

Female cats are widely considered more independent and less affectionate than male kitties. Again, this assumption tends to be based on observations rather than verifiable facts, but it exists nonetheless, to the point that several studies have confirmed its existence.

Tortoiseshell and calico cats are almost universally female because the gene that produces the coat color is sex-linked. Female cats, like female humans, carry a XX chromosome. Coat color is controlled by genes on the X chromosome, one for orange fur and one for black.

Male cats possess XY chromosomes, so they only have one X controlling their coat color. Because females have XX chromosomes, they have two possible coat color genes. During genetic development, one gene on each chromosome is inactivated, but the process is random.

Tortoiseshell and calico cats are female cats who end up with active color genes in both orange and black. Calicos possess an additional gene change that results in white color with the black and orange. The occasional male calico or tortoiseshell is actually the result of a genetic mutation rather than normal development.

When you combine the assumption about female cats’ personalities with the fact that torties are almost always female, it’s logical to wonder whether that might contribute to their reputation for “tortitude.”

What Other Factors Influence a Cat’s Personality?

The tortie’s coat color may or may not have a verifiable impact on their personality, but there are some other factors involved as well. These causes apply more generally to all cats, not just tortoiseshells, and have more of a basis in research.

Genetics

Cats inherit some personality traits from their parents, just as humans do. A 2019 study from Finland found that almost half of the behavioral differences among cats are inherited. Both overall personality and behavior traits showed genetic links among the cats studied.

The study was conducted using primarily purebred cats but did include mixed-breed house cats as well. Because tortoiseshell is a color pattern, not a breed, many purebred cats are born this color, including popular ones such as the Maine Coon. Your tortie’s personality may be shaped by these purebred cat traits, including inherited ones discovered by this study.

Socialization

Early socialization is a major factor in the development of a cat’s personality. The American Association of Feline Practitioners says that 3–9 weeks old is the most crucial behavioral window for kitten development. Kittens who interact with humans during this time are unlikely to develop a fear of them in the future, while cats who are poorly socialized at this age may have behavioral issues as adults.

Research has found that kittens who had multiple positive interactions with humans between 2–7.5 weeks tend to remain friendlier towards humans later in life. Kittens with good early socialization adapted more quickly to new humans. For these cats, it takes only a few positive interactions with a new person for them to trust them.

At the same time, kittens who were poorly socialized during that crucial early window grow up much more fearful and wary of humans. They need many positive interactions with a human before they trust them, while only a few negative experiences may trigger a fearful response.

If your tortoiseshell cat has an unknown history as a kitten, there’s no way for you to know if they received adequate socialization. A potential lack of socialization definitely could result in some “tortitude” as an adult.

A tortoiseshell cat in the nature

Human Behavior

Human behavior tends to influence a cat’s attitude as an adult as well as when they are kittens.

Socialization continues throughout the cat’s life, with studies showing connections between how often cats and owners interact and whether these interactions were considered positive. Because so much of the observations of “tortitude” depend on human interpretation of a cat’s behavior, these interactions take on added meaning.

Some of how humans and cats interact is a bit of a vicious cycle. For example, humans may be more likely to view an interaction with the cat as positive when the kitty comes to them and asks for attention. If a cat is standoff-ish—as many tortoiseshell cats are—humans may view them more negatively and interact less often.

As we learned in the previous section, cats who weren’t well socialized as kittens need extra positive associations with people to develop good relationships. If the human is less likely to give attention when the cat doesn’t seek it out, it can be hard to break through that shell.

Conclusion

As we’ve learned, torties may have a reputation for “tortitude,” but their personality isn’t entirely based on their coat color. If you’re looking for a new cat, don’t let the reputation of the tortie scare you away. Many owners enjoy the spunky, entertaining personalities of these cats, along with their striking coat colors.

While it’s important to be aware of the potential for “tortitude,” remember that you have some impact on how your cat behaves. Every cat is unique, no matter their coat color, and the best match for your household also depends on your own personality and compatibility with your new pet. Torties won’t be the right fit for everyone, but truthfully that’s the case for any pet.

Sources

Study: Tortie Cats ‘tude Is Not Your Imagination”

Tortitude: The Tortie Personality”

“Everything You Should Know About Tortoiseshell Cats”

The Genetics of Calico Cats”

The Mechanics of Social Interactions Between Cats and Their Owners”

“Is Your Cat’s Personality Influenced by Coat Color?”

“Feline Behavior Guidelines”

Breed Differences of Heritable Behavior Traits in Cats”