feline behavior

MeowSpace Solves Feeding and Litter Box Problems in Multiple Pet Households

MeowSpace

Do you have a bully cat who won’t let your other cats eat in peace? Does one of your cats need a special diet?  Does your dog eat your cat’s litter box deposits? If you’re dealing with these issues, you’ve probably wondered why nobody has invented something to solve the problem. Well, now somebody has.

Casey and Berdell Moffett-Chaney and their son Corey Bruesch invented MeowSpace® after getting frustrated with their two family cats, Mitchell and Flopsey. Flopsey was becoming overweight because she would bully Mitchell away from his food. Mitchell, who is a grazer, was losing weight. They came up with the ideaContinue Reading

Jackson Galaxy and Petmate Introduce New Line of Cat Toys at Global Pet Expo

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Of all the products I wanted to see at Global Pet Expo, I was most excited about getting a first look at the new line of toys created by Jackson Galaxy. Jackson introduced the concept of “hunt, catch, kill, eat” in his wildly successful Animal Planet show My Cat From Hell. The concept revolutionized life for countless cats who had previously been bored house cats with behavioral challenges. Jackson taught cat guardians that cats need an enriched environment and play time to be happy. So if anyone knows how to design the ultimate cat toy, it would be Jackson, right?Continue Reading

How to Help Nervous Cats

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While most cats are initially wary of unfamiliar noises, people or events, they eventually adapt as they get used to the stimulus. Nervous cats remain anxious. A nervous cat is in a constant state of anxiety. This level of stress can lead to physical illness, especially lower urinary tract disease. Helping your cat overcome her nervousness will not only make her more confident and comfortable, it will also improve her health. Unfortunately, working with nervous cats can be challenging, as cats may express anxiety through aggression.

What makes a cat nervous?

A cat’s personality is shaped by genetics, environment and early life experience. Some cats are naturally more fearful than others. The cat’s genetic make up predisposes her to be cautious. This can be seen especially in feral cats.

Lack of early socialization also contributes to fearfulness in cats. Kittens who have been frequently handled by humans tend to be more confident as they grow up. Kittens who haven’t been socialized before the age of 8 weeks may take longer to acclimate to living with humans, and they may remain fearful.

If the cat had a frightening experience in the past, it will try to avoid it from happening again.

How to help nervous cats

Helping a nervous cat gain confidence requires patience and persistence on the guardian’s part. While it is tempting to reassure the cat when she’s nervous, this merely reinforces the timid behavior. Use positive rewards for calm behavior instead.

Remain calm, and don’t make the cat the focus of the household. Cats are sensitive to the energy in a home, and the tension created by cat guardians tip toeing around the house and speaking in hushed voices so as not to scare the cat will only increase the cat’s anxiety levels. Extracting the cat out of hiding places only serves to increase the cat’s anxiety.

Interactive play can be a great way to bring timid cats out of their shell. Structured play time, 10-15 minutes twice a day, using fishing pole type toys, are a great way to build confidence for the cat and to enhance the bond between cat and human.

Use food treats to create positive associations for the nervous cat. Treats can encourage your cat to explore new areas of the home, or to spend time in the same space with you. Offering treats directly from your hand may increase the bond between you and your cat. Be careful when using treats so you don’t inadvertently reward timid behavior.

Natural remedies to help nervous cats

Synthetic pheromone plug ins such as the Feliway Comfort Zone can help create a sense of safety and familiarity in the home. Natural remedies such as Rescue Remedy or Spirit Essences Stress Stopper can also help.

Enlist the help of a feline behaviorist

In extreme cases, you may want to enlist the help of a feline behaviorist. A behaviorist can evaluate your unique situation and provide strategies to help your cat become less nervous.

This article was previously published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.

Do Your Cats Talk, and Do You Talk Back?

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One of the primary ways cats communicate is through body language, but they also express themselves vocally. And most cat’s vocal expressions go far beyond just “meow.”

Even though I have no scientific evidence, in my experience, when it comes to being talkative, tortoiseshell cats have most other cats beat. Buckley was one of the most vocal cats I’ve ever come across. She had a range of expression from an almost silent meow to a very loud, demanding cry that almost approached a scream. I often heard her meowing or chattering somewhere in the house. Continue Reading

Do Cats Respond to TV?

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Many pet guardians leave the TV or radio on when they’re not home. They hope that the background sound will prevent pets from feeling lonely, and provide some stimulation at the same time. Leaving the TV on can be beneficial if it’s used in the right way, but it can also be detrimental. Whether or not to leave the TV on really depends on your cats and your lifestyle.

Many pet guardians leave Animal Planet on for their pets under the assumption that it may make their pets feel as if they had company. I believe that for most cats, this may cause more stress than benefit. Continue Reading

Review: Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw

Cat_Sense_John_Bradshaw

Cats are the most popular pet in the world, and yet, so much about cats is still unknown. Even those of us who spend a large part of our lives learning about and trying to understand cats still feel like we have a lot to learn when it comes to these beloved, yet often enigmatic creatures.

In Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, renowned cat expert and anthrozoologist John Bradshaw, who has studied cat behavior, and cats’ relationship with people, for more than 30 years, offers an in depth look at the latest research into how cats think, how they interpret the world around them, and what we know about cat personality. Bradshaw covers topics such asContinue Reading

Review: The Lap-Reluctant Cat by Stephanie Bouchard

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Most of us have had one or more of these cats: they are happy, sweet, maybe even affectionate on their own terms, but they simply refuse to sit in our laps. Allegra is one of them. It took months after I first adopted her at seven months of age before she would even come near my lap. She liked being in the same room with me, even sit right next to me, but my lap? That was off limits territory as far as she was concerned. After almost four years with me, she has just recently started to come around and is starting to ask for some lap time.

Stephanie Bouchard can relate – to the point that she published a charming little book about the topic. Continue Reading

Review: No More Scaredy Cat by Sara Goldenthal

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If you have a cat that struggles with fear, hides under the bed and won’t come out, or startles easily, you may want to take a look at No More Scaredy Cat: The easy, step-by-step program that puts an end to stress, fear and anxiety for the cats you love

Sara Goldenthal, a practitioner of both TTouch and Bach Flower Essences has more than a dozen years experience working with cats with all kinds of behavioral challenges in private homes, as well as in animal shelters and rescues. In this small volume, she introduces a deceptively simple method of working with timid and traumatized cats that gradually eliminates fear, stress and anxiety.Continue Reading

Sharing Special Moments with Your Cat

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There is no question that cats are good for us. They can function as therapists and comforters. They lower our blood pressure, remind us to live in the moment, and keep us warm at night. And sometimes, they grace us with special moments that melt our hearts.

These special moments don’t happen every day. I’m not talking about the joy we feel when our cats greet us at the end of a long day, or the exhilaration we feel when we watch them play. I’m talking about those truly magical and rare moments. Continue Reading

Does Your Cat Beg at the Dinner Table?

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Begging at the dinner table is not a behavior that’s limited only to dogs. Cats can be just as persistent in looking longingly up at you while you’re trying to enjoy your meal, rub up against your legs, and meow. And unlike dogs, cats may also jump on the table during mealtime. Begging behavior can have a number of different reasons, ranging from physical to behavioral. Identifying the cause of the behavior is the first step in preventing it.Continue Reading

How to Keep Cats Off Counters

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Cats love to be up high. Whether it’s the top of the cat tree or the top of the refrigerator, cats like to survey their territory from elevated vantage points. This is normal behavior for cats and goes back to their wild origins. Cats are hunters and climbing trees allowed them to lie in wait for prey as well as to escape for safety.

Since this love of heights appears to be hardwired even into domestic cats, it’s not surprising that counters and tables are favorites for cats. Since not all cat owners like their cats to have access to these spaces, it’s important to provide outlets for this natural drive. This will go a long way toward preventing “counter surfers” from jumping on counters and tables.Continue Reading