An aging cat needs the same things that aging people need: love, attention and care. They are loyal friends who can lift your spirits with nothing but a gentle purr. If you keep them amused and show them you care, your aging cat does not have to be a source of problems for you or for them. Cats are remarkable creatures who are very social and can provide a unique sort of joy for their owners.
Aging cats may take a little more maintenance as they get older and visits to the vet should become more regular to ensure that any problems are dealt with before they become a bigger worry.
When you have a new cat, it is generally accepted that it is going to have its share of “little accidents” when it comes to using the toilet. As cats are creatures of instinct, it is only normal that, when it comes to performing natural bodily functions, it will basically respond to the “law of the jungle”, or to be more accurate it will urinate and defecate where it sees fit. If your cat is an indoor pet, this will generally take the shape of going on your carpet or hardwood floor, and then trying unsuccessfully to bury it.
Every cat owner has the same problem. When our cats behave as normal, they are a joy to own. They are cute, they are often very loving, and they do some highly amusing things when they are relaxed and think that no-one is looking. Then, all of a sudden, they take leave of their senses and start running around the house or apartment at high speeds and making noises that sound like something out of a horror movie. We, as owners, sit in stunned silence and wonder what the heck is going on.
Question: My cat does not seem to understand that he / she is not allowed to eat human food. They will often steal food off the kitchen counter or our dinner plates if we happen to turn our backs for one second. They are extremely sneaky and make life very unpleasant, as we have to constantly be on our guard. How do we teach them that they cannot eat human food?
Answer: The problem here is that the cat does not understand why they are not allowed human food, and no amount of cat training will actually rectify the issue. As an animal, who cannot understand reasoning, the idea that they cannot eat the incredibly tasty food they see before them is a cause of confusion. They want it, it looks nice, it’s right there… why not eat it?
When a cat owner looks for the first time to train their cat – or at least, to correct certain problem behaviors – they will often find themselves asking the same question that is asked by trainers all over the world. Do I take the disciplinarian attitude that my rules must be followed (or there will be trouble), or do I decide that my cat will behave like it is supposed to (because it will be rewarded if it does)? This is a philosophical question – do you prefer to punish or reward?
Question: We are a multi-cat household, and one of the cats is bullying the other animals in the house. They are generally very aggressive, to the point where the other cats fear the bullying cat and will not eat or drink when this cat is around. I love all my cats, but this can’t continue – what can I do?
Answer: While cats are not pack animals by nature, they do tend to form roles within a social grouping. One of these roles will be as the alpha male or female; one cat who believes themselves to be the leader of the group, and takes a very authoritarian attitude.
In the never-ending debate over cats and dogs, a theory frequently advanced by the dog fraternity is that cats are impossible to train, and for this reason dogs are better per se. The attitude is that, because you can find guide dogs and sniffer dogs, while there are no cats employed in these sectors, that dogs are inherently more intelligent and more amenable to training. However, it is nothing more than invention to say that cats are too stupid to be trained, or so independent that they will not respond to training.
Question: My cat meows and makes a lot of noise, seemingly for no reason. What can I do to stop it?
Answer: Firstly, you need to ensure there genuinely is no reason for your cat making noise or meowing excessively. One of the only ways a cat has to communicate any discomfort they are in is by making noise, so while the problem may not be immediately evident, one should not assume nothing is wrong.
If your cat is making too much noise, have a quick examine of he or she. Run your hands along their body and study their reactions; look for particular discomfort when you touch any areas, and investigate fully if your cat does express any sign of pain. Check their eyes, ears and teeth for any problems such as infections, and ensure their claws are trimmed and healthy looking. If you do find any problems, book an appointment with your veterinarian.
A large number of cat owners have more than one cat. There are varying reasons for this, and the reasons will often dictate the dynamic. Sometimes in a household, even though the pets are nominally a family animal, you will find that a cat (or a dog for that matter) is often referred to as being attached to a specific member of the family. For this reason, sometimes a family will get more pets so that everyone has their “own”. This doesn’t always work out.
A common remark from owners who are trying to train their cat is that it is like banging their head against a brick wall. “I try to do what I’m supposed to, but in all honesty it’s like the cat is training me to do what it wants”, they will say. And although there is some truth in the suggestion that you have to give a little to get a little, it is important to remember that the only thing which really matters in terms of training a cat is that you get to the end result with a cat who is happy.