Cat Behavior Articles

What does Dr. Marci have to say about cat behavior? Check out these articles!

Showing 1-6 of 6.

Cats and Laser Pointers: Does The Red Dot Make for Purrfect Prey?

I get this question all the time: are cats and laser pointers a good combination? Is it okay to play with cats using a laser pointer? These are great questions because when you understand a few things about cats, you’ll know the answer. And it’s always good to understand more about the tiny, adorable, carnivorous, semi-wild, predatory beastie that’s living in your home, right? So let’s find out: does The Red Dot make a good prey item for your kitty?

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Cats Love Hiding – Indulge Them!

Even though cats are some of the most efficient predators in the world, small cats (like our “domestic” house cats) evolved behaviors specifically to avoid being eaten by someone with bigger teeth and larger claws.  No matter how safe their home might be, our little kitties are programmed to avoid predation.  This behavior manifests itself in several ways – it’s why cats love hiding.  Many cats like to hang out in high places (so that they can see what’s around them and avoid ambush); prefer their litterboxes to be placed in corners of rooms with clear lines of sight and no corners or shelves where predators can hide; and orient their body direction towards cats or people they don’t necessarily know or trust.  But in fact, the first line of defense for a cat not wishing to become someone’s dinner involves not being seen in the first place. 

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Enrichment for Your Indoor Cat

Indoor cats, even though they’re safer and generally live longer lives than outdoor cats, don’t get to be, well, cats. We love cats for what they are, and that’s a result of thousands of years of evolution and development of behaviors that have allowed cats to adapt to their environment and niche as both predators and prey. What it comes down to is this: indoor cats have the potential to miss out on a lot of things that cats evolved to experience. And when indoor cats aren’t given the opportunity to act like cats, they get bored, stressed, and behavior issues can start to crop up.

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Food Puzzles for Cats: Good for Mind and Body!

Is your cat bored? Does she sleep ALL day, or does she beg for your attention? Is she mischievous, getting into things that she shouldn’t? If so, you may need to give your kitty something on which to focus her attention and energy. Even if you have toys around the house, she may be bored with them, or she might not like playing with those particular toys. Mental stimulation is essential for kitties because without it they can become bored, stressed, or even depressed…all of which can lead to behavior problems. Enrichment, which is defined as “any artificial or natural item that stimulates a pet physically, mentally, or socially”, is a necessary part of your cat’s day and is important to keep mind and body healthy. But what can you do besides give your fuzzy mice toys and a cat tree? Enter: food puzzles for cats!

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Caring for your Senior Cat

My cat Jesse recently turned 17 and, while he has slowed down in the past few years, he’s still a relatively healthy kitty and I’d say he’s doing pretty good for an older gentleman. Cats are considered “senior” between the ages of around 11 and 14, and “geriatric” by age 15. If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that your senior cat might be sleeping more and moving around a little less and that’s pretty normal. However, it’s really important that you pay special attention to your older cat and make sure his needs are met. And of course, a cat’s physical, mental, and emotional needs change over time. But if you keep a few simple things in mind, your kitty can enjoy a long and healthy life!

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Playing with Your Cat for Health and Happiness

Wait a minute, aren’t my cats supposed to entertain ME? Well, yes…that’s one of the reasons that many of us bring cats into our lives. However, we also love cats for many other reasons, including their cattitude in general. And a cat who is well-entertained is a cat who exhibits all the positive aspects of cattitude: she’s confident, well-adjusted, affectionate (in her own way), and alert. By providing her with the right kinds of entertainment, you’ll be giving your cat the gifts of mental, emotional and physical health that can lead to longevity and happiness. And when your cat is happy, YOU should be thrilled!

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