Feline Behavioral Consultations
Dr. Lacie is passionate about feline behavior and behavioral counseling. Behavioral health is an important aspect of the overall wellness of your feline friend. At Cat Care Center, we understand the delicate interplay between behavior and disease in the cat. Cats have a unique way of masking illness and pain during their day-to-day routines. It is because of this that when they do show illness it is often a simple behavior change that may signal advanced disease. At Cat Care Center, we incorporate behavioral questions and address issues you may be observing at each and every visit to our hospital. Please don't hesitate to ask us about any behavior your cat may be exhibiting that isn't routine.
It is important to understand normal feline behavior and how this may affect the inter-cat or inter-species relationships within the home. To ensure your cat's happiness, it is important to provide the resources your cat needs. Dr. Lacie believes good socialization during the cats sensitive period (2-7 weeks of age), proper habituation to normal sights, sounds and smells of the home environment, and continued social learning are imperative for a cat to be well adjusted to live as a pet cat. Providing proper "preventative behavioral medicine" is all about making life easier for kittens and cats so they don't develop problems and diseases associated with stress later on. Dr. Lacie believes this makes loving and living with a cat easier for their owners because they have better expectations and knowledge about their cat. Cats and people have only coexisted for about 10,000 years. This is much less than some of our other domesticated species. Prior to this time, our cats were living a solitary, highly territorial, predatory lifestyle. The cat has evolved from this solitary individual to the fluffy, cuddly cat we enjoy spending our time with in a relatively short period of time. As a result of this, our cats are not significantly different from their wild ancestors in many behaviors. It is so important as cat parents that we provide the resources needed for a healthy feline environment and a happy cat!
Five Pillars of a Healthy Feline Environment
- Provide safe places
- Provide multiple and separated key environmental resources (food, water, litter boxes, scratching areas, play areas, and resting areas)
- Provide opportunity for play and predatory behavior
- Provide positive, consistent, and predictable human-cat social interaction
- Provide an environment that respects the importance of the cat's sense of smell
Call us today at (225) 228-1039 to schedule an appointment so we can help you set your home up for a healthy, happy cat!
Stress-Associated Illnesses in the Cat
Stress is now well known and recognized in our cat patients as a risk factor for disease. Changes in behavior at home are often the first signs you may notice indicating illness, pain, or stress. Many times the physical signs of illness are easily recognized and treated, but the understanding of the stress and behavioral factors that may be contributing go unnoticed. At Cat Care Center, we recognize the delicate balance between treating your cat's physical illness and addressing any environmental and social needs of your cat for a successful outcome. Some stress-associated illnesses found in the cat are:
- Feline Idiopathic Cystitis
- Stress-Associated Immunosuppression
- Feline Orofacial Pain Syndrome (FOPS)
- Vomiting and Diarrhea
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Skin disease
- And others
At Cat Care Center, we understand and respect the personalities of our feline friends and have created a special room for behavioral consultations and counseling. This room encompasses the comforts of a home style environment for your cat to feel relaxed and safe. During the behavior visit, Dr. Lacie will take the time to observe your cat's unique personality in this relaxed environment. A detailed history and in-depth discussion of your cat's temperament, resources, and undesirable behaviors will be thoroughly discussed. At this visit, it is helpful to provide a rough blueprint of your home (can be hand drawn) and all the resources and their locations of the cat(s) in the home. Please see the above Basic Principles of a Happy Cat for a list of resources you may want to include on your blueprint. Dr. Lacie understands sometimes a thorough behavioral evaluation requires a home visit for observation, and is prepared to offer this if necessary. As many underlying diseases in your cat are manifested by a behavioral change, it is necessary to fully medically assess your cat prior to behavior counseling.
Some of the Behaviors with Which We Can Help
- Kitten socialization (Kitten Kindergarten)
- Cat friendly introductions
- Urinating or defecating outside of the litter box
- Scratching and destructive behavior
- Aggression towards humans or other animals in the home
- Excessive vocalization
- And others
Most of the behaviors that we as humans consider a problem in our cats are actually normal behaviors expressed in undesirable ways. At Cat Care Center, we use positive reinforcement training, environmental modification, feline pheromones, supplements, and, if needed, medications to help with your cat's behavior. See our Preparing for your Visit tab to ensure a stress-free preparation for your cat's behavior consultation.
At Cat Care Center, we believe that in order to establish balance and harmony in the home, we must honor the individuality of each cat and address their unique medical and behavioral needs equally. Call us to schedule an appointment for your cat today.