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10 Common Cat Behavior Myths Decoded

- Provided by VetStreet.com
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Cats are the most popular pet in the United States; they are intelligent, affectionate and mysterious creatures. Despite this popularity — and perhaps because of their air of mystery — there are many misconceptions about cats that cause both social and physical problems for these animals. 

Here are 10 common-but-false assumptions about felines — and the truth behind them.

1. Cats are solitary animals and like to be home alone. 

False. Separation can be stressful for cats. Specifically, separation anxiety may manifest in behaviors such as urination and defecation outside of the litterbox, vocalization, vomiting, excessive grooming, lack of appetite, anxiety at departure or an exuberant greeting when you return. To keep your cat happy, it essential to limit their time alone and provide them with stimulation and interaction in the form of play, petting, food toys and perches. If you have an extremely stressed cat, it’s essential to make an appointment with your veterinarian to further address the problem. 

2. Cat litterbox issues are always a behavior problem and can't be fixed.

False. Failing to use the litterbox may be linked to a medical issue or may be caused by stress or anxiety, so start with a visit to your veterinarian. Once you identify the cause, there are various methods for retraining your cat to go inside the box, including the use of feline pheromones, changing the type of litter and box used, increasing the number of litterboxes and strategizing the placement of boxes around your home. 

3. Cats scratch because they are mean.

False. Cats may claw human skin for various reasons. Sometimes cats claw to express irritation — for example, if they are not being held or petted in the proper way. Some cats scratch in play; if this happens, freeze in place and redirect your cat to a toy. An underlying medical issue, such as arthritis, may also be the culprit, causing your cat to feel uncomfortable and making him more likely to lash out.  If this is a recurring issue, a visit to your veterinarian is a must.

4. Cats will suck the life out of a newborn baby.

False. The belief that a cat will suck the air out of a baby's lungs is an urban legend; there has never been one medically proven incident of this happening. In truth, cats and babies can grow deep bonds and get along well if their interactions are always supervised by adults and behavior concerns are addressed early on.

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General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.

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