Cat School: Clicker Training for Cats

Training your cat, what?!

The concept of teaching cats house rules may seem like a pipe dream or the stuff memes are made of. After all, cats do what they want, when they want… right? 

People have varied opinions about cats that give way to myths, like cats are loners or cannot be trained. This prohibits them from learning good behaviors and bonding better with their owners.

The good news is that training your cat with a clicker is not only possible, it is also a great way to give your pet a better, safer, and more enjoyable life.

The team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital is here to tell you all about this effective training and why it will benefit your meowy companion.

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Real or Not? Separation Anxiety in Cats

Separation anxiety is a common behavioral problem in dogs. At Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital we have coached many dog owners through training techniques, outlined crate acclimation, and even prescribed medications to combat separation anxiety. 

But surely this problem affects cats, too? 

Despite their often confident demeanor and rap for being loners, separation anxiety in cats is a real phenomenon and one that perhaps often goes undiagnosed. With a little awareness, though, we can help these stressed, anxious kitties as well.

Recognizing Trouble

You may think of your cat as a solitary individual, but if you stop to consider it you will likely realize that your pet is a pretty social creature. Many cats develop strong bonds with the people and other animals they live among. 

When we talk about separation anxiety in pets, we are referring to an emotional response from them brought about by a separation from the person or animal that they have a bond with. This may occur when you are gone for a prolonged period, such as on a vacation or a full workday or sometimes even with shorter outings like a trip to the store. Schedule changes can also bring on separation anxiety.

In the canine crew, separation anxiety is often hallmarked by howling, tearing things up, and sometimes urinating or defecating even though house-trained. Cats, as with so many other things, are often more subtle. 

Signs of separation anxiety in cats may include:

  • Increase in anxiety as person prepares to leave the home
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Urinating or defecating in odd areas, often on personal items
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Grooming excessively
  • Destroying objects
  • Obvious excitement upon reunion 

Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Cats

If you think that your cat may be suffering from separation anxiety, the first step is to make an appointment to see us. Many other things can cause inappropriate urination, increased vocalizations, vomiting, changes in eating habits, or increased grooming. We need to be sure that there is not an underlying physical illness before assuming a behavioral cause. 

Once we have determined that your cat is healthy, we can get to work. Separation anxiety in cats can be combated with strategies to modify behavior and decrease the stress associated with your absence. 

Planning playtime – A set schedule helps most cats. Be sure to schedule a predictable 10-15 minute session of quality time into your day. Limit play and other social activities about 20 minutes before you leave home so the transition is less dramatic. 

Enriching the environment – Making the environment fun and stimulating even in your absence is key. Ditch the food bowls in favor of puzzle feeders and treat dispensers. Rotate toys, put up a bird feeder in front of the window, and add vertical climbing spaces to your home. 

Changing your tune – Be sure to avoid making a big deal of leaving or returning. Slip out quietly while kitty is eating or playing and return without a lot of fanfare. Notice what actions trigger an anxious response in your cat. If, every time you pick up your keys, Tiger starts meowing, do it over and over until that action gets less of a response.

Take help – There are many products and services that exist that can help you combat this problem in your cat. Using pheromone products like Feliway can be helpful for some cats. Consider a pet sitter to stop by and interact with your cat when you are away. In situations where basic behavioral modifications are not enough, you may even need to work with our doctors to utilize anxiety-reducing medications. 

Cats are just as much a part of our family and home as are dogs, and separation anxiety in cats is a real thing. Despite their tough exterior, our feline friends really do love us. It is our job to recognize signs of anxiety and reduce their stress. After all, that’s what friends are for. 

Kitty Like to Claw? How You Can Deter Destructive Cat Scratching Behavior

Whether you have a vintage velvet sofa, or a worn out hand me down for a couch, you don’t want your furniture to become victims of your cat’s claws.

They aren’t trying to make you mad, but cats must answer to their instincts. Despite the fact that most people find it irksome, cat scratching is just one of those feline behaviors that serves many needs. Luckily, there are ways you can prevent it from becoming a habit.

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On The Prowl: The Risks of Leaving Your Cat Out All Night

It goes without saying that cats are safer indoors, but every neighborhood has cats that live both indoors and outside.

Outdoor cats certainly enjoy more freedoms than their indoor counterparts, but that freedom comes at a cost, especially for those being let out overnight.

What Are Outdoor Cats Doing All Night?

Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are most active during the dawn and dusk hours. Cats will naturally want to spend the evening outdoors, leaving their owners wondering what it is they’re doing out there all night.

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Feral Cats May Be Ubiquitous, but Do They Need Our Help? 

Alley ways, country lanes, suburban streets, and urban boulevards all have something in common: they are thoroughfares for feral cats. 

The differences between feral cats and the ones we live with are striking. They are extremely skittish and fearful of humans, but instead of earning their reputations as public nuisances, they are at risk of serious illness or injury. As you might expect, there are lots of ways we can help feral cats, and the results can be deeply satisfying.

Strange Paw Prints

If you’ve seen a cat around your neighborhood, but don’t know who they belong to, they may be completely on their own. But that doesn’t mean they are necessarily alone. In fact, most feral cats live in colonies. 

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The Straight Story on Whisker Fatigue

It’s not always the easiest thing to grasp what your cat is doing – or why. Sure, they can have some odd or questionable proclivities, but if you’re hip to feline behavior and good at reading their body language, you’ll have a better time understanding what drives them. 

The concept of whisker fatigue is on the periphery for most cat owners, yet it’s something that can cause intense distress for their furry friends.

Amazing Anatomy

Cat whiskers are absolutely incredible. Aside from sending messages to the brain about a cat’s surroundings, these powerful vibrissae detect air currents, allow cats to hunt accurately, help them jump and climb with precision, and inform them when it’s time to blink or retreat from a space. They also inform others of a cat’s mood. 

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H2O, No! Why Do Cats Hate Water?

Most cats are averse to water. It’s kind of a thing with them, and avoiding baths is something most kitties will do at all costs. Cats and their opposition to water is the thing of memes and comedies. Cats, after a bath or falling into water, don’t exactly look their happiest. But what is it about the splashy stuff do cats dislike? And, why do some odd cats enjoy water?

It seems like a good mystery to investigate. The team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital is here to take on this case of why cats hate water.

The Reasons Why Cats Hate Water

Unlike most dogs, who like to splash around in a creek or body of water, you’ll likely never see a cat out there doggie-paddling. To get to the bottom of this, let’s take a look at cat’s wild processors for some clues. 

Have you seen images of big cats, like lions and cheetahs? Chances are, you have seen them splashing around and cooling off in a body of water. Big cats who have evolved and adapted to warmer regions of the world, such as the African Lion, Leopards, and Ocelots are actually really good swimmers, and tend to enjoy it. Staying cool and expanding their hunting territories require that they be comfortable in the water, and it seems they are.

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Cat Language: What Kitty is Trying to Tell You

For pet owners, trying to decipher what their furry family member is communicating is a daily part of life with pets. Cats can be especially challenging, though, given their more reclusive nature.

Cat language is subtle, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t constantly trying to communicate with us. With a little bit of practice, you can pick up on what your cat is trying to tell you.

The Incredible Tail

The tail is one of the most expressive body parts on a cat, and knowing how to interpret its movements can tell you a great deal about what your cat is thinking and feeling at any given moment.

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Why Renting to Pet Owners Makes Sense

A woman sits at a table with with her dog on her lap.

According to the American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, roughly 50% of Americans own at least one pet – that’s 88.3 million dogs and 95.6 million cats in case you were wondering. Businesses have picked up on the fact that opening their doors to pets will increase their revenue, which is why more and more hotels, restaurants, and other establishments allow pets on their premises than ever before. 

Although communities across the country are becoming more and more accepting of pets as bonafide family members, many landlords are still resistant to the idea of renting to pet owners. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to include a pet clause into your rental agreement, let the team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital shed some light on why this may be a great idea.

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Hitting the Jackpot Through Loving Senior Cat Care

A close-up of an aging Maine Coon cat laying the the grass

If you’ve had your cat since they were a kitten, you might look back at those early years with nostalgia. Yet, there’s really nothing like living in syncopation with an older cat. They might be set in their ways, sure, but they are also carefully attuned with the rhythms and patterns of the household. 

However familiar they may be, senior cat care isn’t anything to take for granted. Your aging or senior cat’s ongoing good health stems from your continual assessment and staying in front of any age-related issues.

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