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How Can I Better Understand My Cat’s Behavior?

Despite continued advances in feline health care, behavior problems are still the most common cause of euthanasia in pet cats. Behavior problems, including normal cat behavior that clients consider unacceptable, cause decreased quality of life for cats and their owners. Behavior problems often lead to family stress, inappropriate punishment of pets, destruction of the bond between people and their pets, and relinquishment and euthanasia. Most pets surrendered to shelters had been evaluated by a veterinarian in the year prior to relinquishment. Unresolved behavior problems cause veterinarians to annually lose approximately 15% of their client base.

Patients, clients, and veterinary teams all benefit from incorporating behavior services into veterinary practices. Cats benefit by increased quality and length of life, an enriched environment, and respectful, understanding relationships. The psychological benefits to clients of living with a beloved pet include companionship, a feeling of being needed, and less depression. The physical benefits include decreased blood pressure, reduced chance of a second heart attack, and decreased triglyceride concentrations. Children who live and work with pets gain increased self-esteem.

Read the full set of behavior recommendations from the American Association of Feline Practitioners.