Educational Articles

Behavior

  • Scratching is normal feline behavior. Cats use their claws to mark territory, climb to safety, hunt prey, and stretch their bodies, among other important routine behaviors. Cats that live primarily or exclusively indoors are still inclined to claw prominent objects and do not discriminate based on an object’s personal value, which may be undesirable to their owners. Providing multiple appropriate scratching surfaces that suit your cat's preferences and using positive reinforcement when your cat scratches these provided surfaces can be helpful. If you notice changes in your cat’s pattern of scratching, check with your veterinarian. Your cat may be experiencing pain or another health condition. Next, a behavioral consultation may be needed to identify the underlying behavioral condition and to find an appropriate treatment.

  • Cats vocalize to communicate. Vocalizing can be problematic when it interferes with people’s sleep. Often, the behavior develops due to unintentional reinforcement. Since vocalization can also reflect underlying illness, particularly if it is a new behavior, both a medical exam and a behavioral work-up are needed. Providing adequate social and environmental enrichment while discontinuing reinforcement can resolve the problem.

  • House soiling or feline inappropriate elimination, is the most common behavioral complaint of cat owners. The problem may be urine and/or stool deposited outside of the litter box, or marking behaviors. When cats urinate on vertical surfaces, it is known as spraying or marking.

  • Redirected aggression occurs when a cat is aroused by another animal, person or event, but is unable to direct aggression toward the stimulus. For example, your cat is sitting on a windowsill and sees another cat out on the property.

  • This type of behavior in cats is usually quite confusing to owners. Initially the cat acts like they enjoy the physical contact and may even purr and rub against the person. However, after a variable period of time, the cat may become agitated and turn and bite the hand that is petting them.

  • House soiling in cats, also called feline inappropriate elimination, is the most common behavioral complaint of cat owners. Problem behaviors can be urine and/or stool deposited outside of the litter box, or marking behaviors.

  • The birth of a baby or the adoption of a new child is associated with a great deal of anxiety, excitement, and stress for not only the family, but also the family pet. Some dogs and cats can have a difficult time adjusting to these changes, especially if this is your first child, but preparation and planning will help.

  • Getting a new puppy is an exciting time and there is no perfect science to picking the perfect puppy. Have a brief look over them physically with their littermates as well as seeing how they interact together and with you. Be sure to take your puppy to a veterinarian as soon as possible to check for any health problems. 

  • Clonidine is a medication that is used to treat behavioral disorders in dogs, particularly anxiety or phobia-related. Give as directed. Side effects are generally mild if present and include sedation, lethargy, agitation/excitation, aggression, and constipation. Monitoring blood pressure as well as heart rate and rhythm is recommended with chronic use. If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately.

  • Choosing the right collar or harness for a dog requires understanding how each device works and what is best for the dog and the owner. Correct selection, fit, and use are crucial for any training tool's success.