Purrrsonality Plus: Understanding Your Cat's Behavior

(Family Features) - They're finicky, fastidious and so very, very feline. But being quirky is part of their unique charm, and that's exactly why we love cats. What other animal walks such a fine line between affection and aloofness? One minute she's purring melodiously in your lap; the next she's stalking your stocking feet. For creatures that spend two-thirds of their lives asleep, cats certainly find time to make their fair share of mischief.

While these antics may be entertaining at first, they can quickly move from endearing to challenging. After all, there's nothing cute about your cat nosing around in houseplants or waking you up in the middle of the night. That's when helpful professional advice is in order.

Are any of these "quirks" familiar? If so, it might be time for a cat behavior tune-up. "Housecat Housecall(tm)," an all-cat reality-based TV series presented by Purina® Cat Chow®, may be the perfect solution. The show will air on Animal Planet and is hosted by Australian veterinarian Dr. Katrina Warren and features real cats, real people and easy, do-it-yourself solutions to some common cat behaviors.

08536bA prescription for household harmony

The TV series will air over a 12-week period and features Dr. Katrina working with families to help resolve their most pressing feline matters. Each episode, she visits three different cat owners' homes, observes the kitties in their native environments and recommends an appropriate plan of action in each case. Through her holistic approach for caring for cats, Dr. Katrina's advice involves solutions that address not only each cat's physical well-being, but their emotional state as well. Dr. Katrina also consults with two seasoned cat experts, Purina Cat Chow Mentor Dr. Debra Horwitz and Dr. Stacy Fuchino, to ensure they get to the heart of the issue.

Take Obi-Wan for example. At first glance, he looks like a cuddly tabby with big, bright eyes. However, when his owner, Dave, goes out of town, he goes on a hunger strike and refuses to be fed by other members of the family. This separation anxiety worries his owners because they just want Obi-Wan to be a happy, healthy kitty. Dr. Katrina and her team suggest minor changes to his feeding routine, like getting other family members involved in feeding time even when Dave is home, and separating his feeding dish from those of the other cats, so they can monitor his intake. Dr. Katrina also encourages lots of play and stimulation for Obi-Wan to foster a stronger bond with each family member. These solutions equip Obi-Wan's family with what they need to improve the quality of life they share together. The bottom line? Credible advice that will strengthen the bond between cats and owners across the country.
Got kitty concerns? Ask a Mentor.

What about your own fuzzy buddy? If your cat situation is less than ideal, a visit to catchow.com for helpful advice from a Purina Cat Chow Mentor might be the answer. As cat care specialists, these Mentors can give you information you can put to practice in the comfort of your own home, and they are accessible any day of the week, at any time.

You know your cat better than anyone else, so catchow.com also gives you different choices for finding advice based on your individual feline situation. You can search the cat care library for frequently asked questions, send an e-mail to a Mentor about a specific question or create a personal home page for you and your cat.

Common feline faux-pas

Stealing food, overgrooming, excessive licking ... Do any of these behaviors ring true for your cat? Here's a sampling of common cat questions, along with some helpful suggestions from the Purina Cat Chow Mentors:

Question: My cat loves to chew on anything, like cardboard, paper, leather chairs. What do I do?

Mentor Advice from Dr. Janet Jackson: Some cats like the texture of certain materials. If your cat likes leather or paper, provide toys made of these materials, such as a toy mouse made of leather, or a ball of paper, and switch them out with different toys every few days so he doesn't get bored. Make sure the toys have been tested for cat safety. To help him learn the difference between his toys and things he shouldn't chew, use hot pepper sauce, bitter apple, or some other deterrent on the surfaces of these items. Be certain to test the surface, using an inconspicuous location, before applying the deterrent. A veterinarian may have other suggestions for a deterrent that would be both safe to use and unpleasant for the cat.

Question: I intend to adopt a kitten in the near future and I am trying to learn as much as I can about kittens. I don't think there's a room that I can spare specially for the kitten. Can I keep the kitten inside a cage and place a litter box and food bowl in it?

Mentor Advice from Dr. Debra Horwitz: A kitten needs a safe place to rest and relax and not get into danger while unsupervised. A cat cage with perches is one option, but should not be over used. A kitten needs opportunities to explore and to be handled and taught appropriate behavior. A cat cage should have room for a litter box, resting area, and food and water bowls, as well as room to play, sleep, etc. If it can be in an area where people are, it can be used as a safe place with the door open and then as a place to keep the kitten when no one is home. Once the cat becomes more reliable, greater access to the home should be allowed, but the cage can remain open as a safe haven.

Visit catchow.com to search the cat care library, or pose your own cat care questions to the Mentors.

The dog's have had their day; now it's the cats turn.

Canine-dominated television steps aside for feline-focused programming!

After years of canine-dominated reality TV, the cats are strutting in and demanding their rightful time slot. Starting on June 7, cat lovers can tune in to Animal Planet on Saturdays at 9 a.m. Eastern and Pacific and Sundays at 7 a.m. Eastern and Pacific to watch "Housecat Housecall," a groundbreaking new show presented by Purina Cat Chow dedicated entirely to the total well-being of our feline friends. Visit housecathousecall.com for more information on this new TV series.


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