Health and Behavior in Cats
By Franny Syufy
Most of the "help!" emails I receive are about either health or behavior problems in cats. Readers are often surprised that sometimes there is a connection between the two. Learn more here about the factors related to cats' health.
Also, the behavior section has been expanded with articles and FAQs on cat behavior by our resident expert,Amy Shojai, CABC. You can send your own cat behavior questions to Amy by using the Ask Amy Question Submission Form, linked below
- Common Preventable Diseases
- Factors That Contribute to Feline Disease
- Managing Chronic Disease in Cats
- Other Potentially Serious Conditions
Common Preventable Diseases
The sad fact is that every year thousands of cats die from communicable diseases that could have been prevented, either by vaccines or by keeping them away from other cats that are potential sources of these infections. Learn more about the most virulent of these infectious diseases.
A glossary of feline terms is included to help you understand more about feline health matters.
- Glossary of Feline Terms
- Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)
- Bartonella henselae
- FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Factors That Contribute to Feline Disease
Aside from letting cats roam free, other factors are present that can either cause or exacerbate the possibility of your cat acquiring a serious disease or condition. Diet is a large factor, as are heredity, aging, and contact with other cats. To learn more, read further.
- Diseases That Target Senior Cats
- Stress: In Cats and Their Humans
- Letting Cats Roam Outdoors Freely
- When to Call the Vet
- Cat Health FAQs
Managing Chronic Disease in Cats
While infectious diseases can usually be cured with antibiotics, chronic diseases in cats require long-term teamwork with your veterinarian. Much of the management of conditions will fall to you. Although daunting at first, you will find with training from your veterinary staff and a little practice, you'll soon be giving insulin injections or administering subcutaneous fluids like an expert.
Other Potentially Serious Conditions
Probably the most potentially serious condition is FLUTD, often caused by acidic urine. The very first thing your vet will check for suspected urinary tract problems is your cat's urine pH.
While fleas or hairballs may be considered only an annoyance by some cat owners, the reality is that both of them have the potential for causing painful and serious problems. Other conditions such as constipation, anal gland impaction, and dental disease have equally potential for serious results.
Read on to learn more about these conditions, what causes them, and what you can do to help your cat avoid them.
Veterinary Care & Pet Health Insurance
Your cat will need veterinary care a number of times during the course of his life, from his initial kitten exam and shots, to spaying/neutering, to routine care as he ages. Accidents and serious illness also require veterinary attention, sometimes in a vet E/R setting. As your cat ages he will encounter those diseases and conditions that go along with advancing years.
How will you pay for all this? Since most people do not have unlimited funds, you could consider either starting a special savings account, or invest in pet health insurance. The bottom line is that you cats' health should be a priority.
- Know When to Call the Vet
- When to Seek a Second Vet Opinion
- Help in Selecting a New Veterinarian
- Before You Buy Pet Health Insurance
- Pet Heath Insurance: 16 Tips and Questions To Ask
- Pet Health Insurance Company Interview: Petsecure
- Pet Health Insurance Company Interview: VPI
- Veterinary Reference Books
Behavior & Training
I have always maintained that there is no such thing as a "bad" cat. Cats rarely, if ever, commit breaches of good behavior without reason. Once undesirable habits are ingrained in a cat, behavioral modification is possible. It takes some detective work on your part, patience, and a great deal of love, but you can help your cat if you try.
- Cat Training
- Cat Behavior 101
- Your Cat's Pet Peeves
- How and When to Scruff a Cat
- Attention Seeking Behavior in Cats
- Cats' Body Language
- Territorial Battles with Cats
- Cat Urine Problems
- Behavior FAQs
- Clicker Training for Safety and Fun
- Readers Share Behavioral Problem Success Stories
Amy Shojai, CABC on Cat Behavior
Amy Shojai, CABC, is the Contributing Writer on cat behavior for the About.com cats site. Understanding cat behavior is critical to our relationships with cats. Unfortunately, too many cats are surrendered to shelters (or dumped out on the streets) because of real (or perceived) behavior problems.
Amy brings with her an impressive list of credentials as the author of 22 books about cats and dogs, writer, lecturer, radio host, and she has been featured and interviewed countless times on radio and television. As our resident cat behavior expert, Amy is a priceless asset to this site.
- Amy Shojai's Biography
- How to Introduce a New Cat
- How to Fix Feline Aggression
- Helping "Fraidy Cats"
- Solve Your Cat’s Separation Anxiety
- Old Cat Behavior and Senility
- Cat Over-Grooming
- Cat Litter Box Training Kitten
- Fixing Litter Box Problems
- The H.I.S.S. Test
- Cat Scratching Behavior
- Understanding Meowing
- Cat Trees and Cat Toys
- Uses for Bach Flower Remedies
- Cat Clicker Training
In addition to writing articles on cat behavior packed with solid advice in a friendly, down-to-earth tone, Amy is available to answer reader-submitted questions, which will be featured in an Ask Amy column on this web site.
We have designed a simple fill-in-the-blanks form for your use in sending questions to Amy. Please Note: this form is only for cat behavior questions. You may also attach one or two photos of your "problem cat" along with this form. Please refer to the Photo Submission Guidelines when sending photos.
- Ask Amy: Neutered Cat "Humping"
- Ask Amy: Cat Wake Up Call
- Ask Amy: Adult Cat Introduction
- Ask Amy: Pushy Cat Behavior
- Ask Amy: Cat or Kitten?