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Health and Behavior in Cats

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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

  1. Common Preventable Diseases
  2. Factors That Contribute to Feline Disease
  3. Managing Chronic Disease in Cats
  4. Other Potentially Serious Conditions
  1. Veterinary Care & Pet Health Insurance
  2. Behavior & Training
  3. Amy Shojai, CABC on Cat Behavior
  4. Ask Amy

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.

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.

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

Photo of cat being examined by veterinarian

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.

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.

Amy Shojai, CABC on Cat Behavior

Photo of Amy Shojai, CABC and her Cat, Seren(dipity)

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.

Ask Amy

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.

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