Hello again! I have more good stuff for you this month and would like to share some pretty important information.

My subject this time is, "Naughty? Or sick?"

One problem we hear all the time here at our shelter is how someone's cat is misbehaving, so they just have to give Miss Kitty to us. Or, Mr. Kitty. Often, males are blamed for "marking" and spraying in the house. Some cats get into trouble for making a mess behind the furniture. Some ruin furniture by scratching, shedding, spraying, etc.

These are certainly unacceptable behaviors and no one needs to see their home destroyed. It's expensive and disgusting. So what can a person do?

I will go into behavior issues in a future issue, but today, let's talk about possible medical explanations.

The first thing to do is make sure Miss Kitty is healthy. A trip to the vet is in order to rule out some health problems, such as thyroid imbalances, diabetes, bladder infection, FUS (feline urological syndrome), digestive problems (irritable bowel, ulcers, etc.), cancer, or a brain tumor.

Any of these conditions can cause a cat to shun the litter box, or to be unable to get there. Bladder infections can cause painful urination, and if the cat is in pain while trying to use the box, she will associate the box with pain. She may decide that going somewhere else might be less painful.

Brain tumors can create all kinds of behavior changes, just as it might with people.

Cancer, of course, destroys the body and can result in many kinds of problems, such as urinary incontinence, bowel dysfunction, and pain. Cats are good at hiding pain, so we seldom realize they are suffering, and instead tend to believe they are just being naughty.

The best thing you can do, besides a visit to the vet, is to watch your cat for signs of problems. Notice if there are any changes in eating habits, drinking, litter box use (or not) and how often the cat needs to go. Watch for diarrhea, constipation, and other changes in elimination habits.

Is kitty depressed? Not interested in playing anymore? Moving more slowly? The sooner you notice any problems and get them addressed, the more likely you'll be able to keep small problems from becoming huge ones - even resulting in death if allowed to become too serious.


A few smiles:

The 10 laws of cat physics:

1. Law of Cat Inertia - a cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force, such as the opening of cat food or the scurrying of a nearby mouse.

2. Law of Cat Magnetism - all blue blazers and black sweaters attract cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric.

3. Law of Cat Thermodynamics - heat flows from a warmer to a cooler body, except in the case of a cat, in which case, all heat flows to the cat.

4. Law of Obedience Resistance - a cat's resistance varies in proportion to a human's desire for her to do something.

5. Law of Bag/Box Occupancy - all bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat in the shortest possible time.

6. Law of Milk Consumption - a cat will drink its weight in milk, squared, just to show you he can.

7. Law of Furniture Replacement - a cat's desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.

8. Law of Cat Disinterest - a cat's interest level varies in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him.

9. Law of Pill Rejection - any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.

10. Law of Cat Composition - a cat is composed of Matter + Anti-Matter + It Doesn't Matter.

(Found floating around on the Internet...)

I don't agree with all of these, but we can smile at most of them anyway.

See you next time!