By Colleen Cancio, Animal Planet
Cats are magnificent creatures. With grace, refinement and a permanent look of haughty disdain on their faces, their charms are impossible to resist. On the other hand, cats are also quite mysterious, which is why taking care of them isn’t always easy.
What constitutes “normal” behavior for a cat? How do you know when to take your cat to the veterinarian? How do cats cope with stress in their environment, and what are some of the symptoms of serious illness in a cat? Check out our list of the top 10 cat health questions to learn about the domestic cat’s most common quirks and health concerns.
10. Is it normal for cats to mark their territory?
Cats are some of the most territorial creatures on the planet. Every time your cat rubs his cheeks against you, he’s marking you with his scent. It’s his way of saying “back off — this one’s taken.”
When it comes to territory marking in house cats, the biggest problem for owners is urine spraying, that unfortunate tomcat tendency to pee on drapes, furniture and other household items. Spraying is different from the elimination of urine for physiological reasons. When cats spray, it’s meant to be a “keep out” sign for other animals.
Spraying is common among felines that live in multi-cat households or those that are experiencing stress. If your cat is spraying, thoroughly clean the marked area with products designed to neutralize odor. You should also do your best to create and maintain a stress-free environment for your feline friend.
No. 1 Cleaning Tip
When cleaning cat spray with household products, avoid using those that are ammonia-based. Ammonia smells like urine and may cause the cat to spray more in order to cover it up.
9. What are the recommended shots for cats?
Vaccines are very important for domestic cats, both indoor and outdoor. But it may not always be clear which vaccines to give your bewhiskered buddy. According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the types of shots your cat needs depend on several factors, including whether he goes outside and his age and overall health.
As a general rule, all cats should be vaccinated for feline distemper, feline herpes virus and rabies. Outdoor cats require vaccines for additional diseases, such as feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus, the number one viral killer of cats. Each of these may be given on a particular schedule, depending on the age of your pet. When planning for your veterinary visit, be prepared to discuss your cat’s environment, lifestyle and medical history, as these will factor into the decisions about vaccination.
Receiving vaccinations may cause your cat to retreat to a favorite hiding spot for a day or two. This is normal. However, if he does not return to his normal behavior within 48 hours, talk to your veterinarian about the problem.
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