, Salem, MA


November 29, 2013

Vet Connection: Creating a harmonious home for cats

Can you remember a time before you had cats? Did you imagine a peaceful, quiet scene with the mellow cat basking in a sunny window while you relaxed with the morning paper/iPad? Perhaps you adopted a cat and achieved this scene of household harmony. Having one cat was so close to nirvana that you wanted more of a good thing and introduced another cat to the household. Suddenly, the atmosphere of your home changed to mayhem. What happened?

Tossing a new cat into a household with one or more established cats without prior planning can lead to all sorts of fun things such as yowling stand-offs, fights, protest poops (a term my sister-in-law coined) and territorial spraying on all your favorite furniture and belongings, including your shoes and underwear. Contrary to popular opinion, the behavior is not vindictive. It is normal behavior for an anxious, stressed cat.

The established cat has no warning that all its high-value items are about to be shared with another cat. Cats, whose ancestors were solitary hunters, do not easily share items such as food and water bowls, litter boxes and prime basking spots. If another cat comes into the territory to use high-value resources, there will be a lot of vocalization, followed by a hiss, swat or bite if the intruder does not leave. In a home, the new cat is trapped in an untenable situation. It can’t leave, and it is intruding on the established cat. It is highly stressed by being dropped into the new environment and encroaching on another cat through no plan of its own.

Cats will tolerate living in a group if they have to because of an excellent food source. Feral cat colonies will form outdoors because there is a source of food. If food is scarce, a cat will leave and hunt rather than fight because cats are natural solitary hunters and avoid confrontation if at all possible. However, an established group of cats will discourage and fight off an intruder. It is normal to do so.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Dear Abby: Dating scene is frustrating for strong young woman Dear Abby: In short, my son is a klutz -- to the point that it affects his self-confidence. He's different from everyone else in the family. Is being a klutz genetic? Is it permanent? He's not doing well academically, either. How can I help him? Par

    July 29, 2014

  • Monday's Best Bets Best Bets for Monday, July 28

    Looking for something to do today? Check out The Salem News' Best Bets.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Son-in-law’s abusive father makes gatherings painful Dear Abby: I adore my son-in-law, "Tom." He's a wonderful husband to our daughter. He's always inviting us to dinner along with his parents and family. We get along with them but can't stand how they treat Tom. We have never seen parents treat their

    July 28, 2014

  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday, July 26

    Looking for something to do today? Check out The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Shore religion news in brief Congregation Shirat Hayam is offering a free, five-week Hebrew Reading Crash Course on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. from Sept. 2 through Oct. 7, at the synagogue, 55 Atlantic Ave., Swampscott. Led by Nancy Miller, the course is open to the community and is

    July 26, 2014

  • North Shore religion calendar Wednesday, July 30 Book Club, 7 p.m., Aviv Centers for Living, 240 Lynnfield St., Peabody. Women of all ages are invited to a free book group with conversations about Jewish identity. Group will discuss "The Harem Midwife" by Roberta Rich. RSVP to Sh

    July 26, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Teen is looking for direction after high school graduation Dear Abby: I am an 18-year-old high school senior who is scared about what's going to happen after graduation. For the past three years I have known exactly where I'll be and what I will be doing in the general sense. Now that I have one more year to

    July 26, 2014

  • macaws Vet Connection: Pet birds need training, social interaction and time out of the cage People are fascinated with the big colorful birds on display at Animal Kingdom and wild bird sanctuaries. It's always fascinating to see someone walking down the street with a big-beaked bird on his or her shoulder as a companion. We are all drawn to

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ask Dog Lady: Her little dog is obsessed with food Dear Dog Lady: I have a 3-year-old, long-coated Chihuahua named Mexipep (after a brand of hot sauce). She has many fine attributes -- she's very sweet, not nervous and barky like the short-coated Chihuahuas can be. On the subject of food, however, th

    July 25, 2014

  • howe Book Notes: Local novelist sees ‘conversion’ syndrome in witch trials The parallels between 1692 and today are so close, they're frightening. That's one conclusion you could draw from reading "Conversion," Marblehead resident Katherine Howe's new novel, which compares the world of the Salem Witch Trials to the life of

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

NDN Video
Comments Tracker