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Cats bring joy and companionship to millions of people. Here's how you can take care of them.

Animal
Cat looking concerned and possibly over-stimulated from petting

One moment, you’re stroking a sweetly purring cat, and the next you feel fangs or claws digging into the flesh of your palm. What just happened? It’s a question that certified cat behavior consultant Tabitha Kucera hears a lot, and the answer often boils down to overarousal, also called...

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By Marissa Russo

Cats lack the facial expressiveness of dogs, they’re generally quieter and their behaviors can be harder to interpret—but this doesn’t mean that the feline mystique is impenetrable. You can better understand your furry friend by paying attention to their vocalizations, body postures and daily...

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It's a myth that going outside is a requirement for feline happiness. Playing regularly with a cat easily satisfies her stalking instinct, keeps her stimulated and provides the exercise she needs to stay healthy and happy.

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Contents What is a community cat? Where do community cats live? Who takes care of community cats? Why are there so many cats outdoors? What is TNR? Why do some people consider outdoor cats a nuisance? How does TNR solve common complaints about outdoor cats? Isn't living outside dangerous for cats...

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You mark your stuff by putting your name on it; your dog marks theirs with urine. Here's how to prevent urine-marking behaviors.

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Feral cats sitting together by a food bowl

Beth McNulty was used to seeing the occasional cat cross her property. In her rural community in Monrovia, Maryland, some of her neighbors let their pet cats roam free. And from time to time, a stray would show up and take shelter in her backyard shed. Over the years, she’d adopted two of these...

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Julie Falconer
Illustration of a busy family home with a relaxed cat in the foreground

No bills, no responsibilities, endless hours spent batting toys beneath the furniture, napping in soft sherpa beds and watching birds flit around the feeder outside the living room window. From a human perspective, the life of a pampered house cat looks pretty sweet. So it can be startling to learn...

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By Julie Falconer

Scratching is a normal, instinctive cat behavior. Cats have a need to scratch. They do it to express emotions, like excitement or stress, to mark objects with their scent (they have scent glands in their paws), to remove the dead part of their nails and, often, just to get a good stretch. It’s also...

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BY MATT WILDMAN, CAT BEHAVIORIST

Contents Intro Owned cats Unowned cats Cats in shelters Cats and wildlife Collaboration/humane communities Conclusion Intro Cats are the most popular companion animal in the U.S., with more than 86 million of them living in nearly 39 million American households. Tens of millions more unowned cats...

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Pet behavior and holiday guests Though the excitement of a party may overwhelm some pets, keep your pets inside during cold weather and provide plenty of toys to keep them busy. If needed, provide your cat or dog with a quiet room or crate during holiday parties and/or prepare ahead of time to...

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Organizations can play a huge role in the lives of community cats Whether you are a large shelter, a private nonprofit, a municipal agency or a small volunteer rescue, there are ways to help your area’s outdoor cats, whether they are community cats (feral and stray) or cats whose owners allow them...

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Government officials and lawmakers: Use policy to change the lives of community cats Have you been hearing from citizens who don’t want cats on their property? Are you looking for a way to modify ordinances so that Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs are allowed? You're not alone. More and more...

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Some pets love the hustle and bustle of Halloween, while others will find this spooky holiday a bit stressful. We recognize that animals are individuals, so while you while enjoy the festivities, consider it from your pet’s perspective: “A dog’s natural instinct is to protect their home or to alert...

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You may think that cats have to go outside to be happy. But cats would disagree with you (and so would local birds!) Actually, close to two-thirds of owned cats live indoors either exclusively or for a majority of the time. Cats can live a happy and healthy life indoors with their families. Allowing...

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People often mistakenly believe that declawing their cats is a harmless "quick fix" for unwanted scratching. They don't realize that declawing can make a cat less likely to use the litter box or more likely to bite. Declawing also can cause lasting physical problems for your cat. Many countries have...

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When we think of “aggression,” we may think of a variety of motivations and impulses deriving from our own experience as humans. Fortunately, aggression in cats is easier to make sense of and typically derives from two impulses: fear and mistrust. These are the most likely scenarios to cause fear...

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BY MATT WILDMAN, CAT BEHAVIORIST

It’s a horrible, panic-inducing situation: Your cat has gone missing. What can you do to get your beloved companion safely back home? First, don’t give up. Persistence is key, and you may need a combination of search strategies. A systematic approach based on typical lost cat behavior, as well as...

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BY JULIE FALCONER

Although community cats are resourceful and instinctively seek out safe places in times of danger, extreme weather may pose a threat to them. If you take care of a colony of cats, there are many things you can do to increase their chances of coming through the storm safe and sound. What to do right...

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STEP ONE: ASK AROUND First, check whether the cat has an ear-tip, which is when the very top of one ear has been (painlessly) clipped to be flat instead of pointed. It’s the badge of a community cat, indicating the cat has been through a trap-neuter-return program and has an outdoor home. No ear-tip...

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