Is Your Cat a Baker? A Look at Why Cats Knead

Cats have some pretty adorable behaviors. Head-butting, keyboard-napping, eye-squinting, and printer-prowling top the list, but above all else, the rhythmic front paw kneading truly takes the tuna-flavored cake. Cats knead as a holdover from infancy when their bite-sized paws stimulated the let-down of their mother’s milk for a well-timed snack. That explains a lot, but why do they continue to do this well beyond kittenhood?

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Can Pets Fall in Love?

Can pets fall in love?

You’re positively smitten with your kitten and beguiled by your bulldog, but can your pets experience feelings of love the same way you do? In a nutshell: absolutely! 

At Androscoggin Animal Hospital, we appreciate that the love you have for your pets runs deep, and we believe that our animal sidekicks, in their own special ways, can return that love to the people (and other pets) in their lives. 

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My Cat is Panting, Should I Worry?

A cat panting.

Panting is perfectly natural for pooches. They pant when they’re happy, pant when they’re thirsty, and pant in your face when they just want attention! 

Cats, on the other hand, are rarely caught with their tongues hanging out. It’s perfectly normal for a cat to indulge in a few deep breaths after a bout of active play, but if your cat starts panting heavily for no discernable reason, a call to your pet’s doctor may be in order. 

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A Closer Look at Your Cat’s Hairballs

A cat looking at its hairball

When your cat isn’t eating, sleeping, or playing, they’re probably grooming themselves. Indeed, they are an exquisite keeper of their coat and simply won’t stand for any dirt, debris, tangles or, you guessed, dead or loose hair. As a result of their fastidiousness, they swallow a great deal of hair. Most of it passes through their digestive system without incident. But sometimes, it comes back up. 

If you’ve wondered about your cat’s hairballs from time to time (and if they really are something to worry about), we’ve got the basics for you.

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They Do What they Want, But Do Cats Want to Swim?

A cat chewing on a pair of glasses

You may think, “When cat’s swim!” could very well be the equivalent of “When pigs fly!” 

While it is true that some cats detest water, you may be surprised that some don’t. 

Amazingly, certain breeds are not only open to the idea of exploring water but welcome opportunities to play and even swim in it. Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats, Turkish Vans, Manx, and Abyssian can easily take to the water, given the chance and a proper introduction.

Just Keep Swimming?

You may be surprised to learn that cats can swim incredibly well. In addition to some breeds actually enjoying the water, all cats naturally move in ways that resemble basic survival swimming. 

But How Do I Teach a Cat to Swim?

Many cat owners have found success by positively introducing their cat to water at an early age. The more they get used to water, the better. Kittens are more apt to acclimate to water if it’s part of their overall socialization process. But, if you approach the introduction with patience and a gentle hand, a cat of any age can learn that water is a-okay. 

Keep the splashing to a minimum and never never force cats to enter the water. Likewise, be sure the water is a comfortable temperature. 

Swimming itself presents certain challenges, some of which you may not have anticipated. For example, be sure that your cat knows how to safely exit the water. Ramps or a feline-friendly ledge can work wonders, but make sure your cat understands that.

Our Amazing, Astounding Cats

If you have questions about teaching cats to swim, overall feline behavior, cat wellness, our veterinarians and staff are always here for you!

Curb Destructive Cat Scratching Before It Gets Out Of Hand

A cat scratching up a chair

Oddly, cats like to sleep inside cardboard boxes instead of fluffy, soft beds. They like to meow for food despite their bowls not being empty. And, undeterred by well-placed scratching posts throughout the house, they like to scratch up the furniture or curtain panels.

What’s an owner supposed to do? Well, for starters, it’s important to recognize that cats aren’t doing any of this to be irritating. With patience, guidance and positive reinforcement, you can stop destructive cat scratching in its tracks.

Feline Nature

Cat scratching provides an excellent back stretch, and it feels good in the arms and toes, too. Speaking of their toes, scratching helps to remove the dead outer sheath of the claws. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that cats leave their scent on the scratching location, which also visually communicates “I was here”.

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To Understand Feline Body Language, Look No Further Than a Cat’s Tail

Three dogs' tails

The magic of cat communication may be lost on people that live exclusively among dogs. Instead of actively vying for their owner’s attention with barks or whines, a cat may simply stare. Likewise, they may not wag their rears for a treat, or lick your face with abandon, but a closely bonded cat will likely greet their person with a long, meaningful blink. 

Incredibly subtle at times, feline body language has a lot to say and it does so by way of their long, fluffy, expressive tail.

The Whole Picture

Of course, cats are known for meowing at their owners to convey their interest in food, snuggling, playtime or outside access. But perhaps more important is the fact that they use feline body language signals to get what they want, or show how they’re feeling.

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When It Comes to Cat Care, Should You Be Worried About Parasites? 

A cat scratching itself

Owners of indoor cats come in all shapes and sizes, but they have at least one thing in common. The majority of these dedicated pet owners fall for the misconception that, because their cat doesn’t go outside, parasites aren’t a real threat. 

Sure, with fewer chances of exposure to bugs, indoor cats are at less risk for potential diseases spread by parasites. But, sadly, cats aren’t immune to parasites, no matter their lifestyle. When it comes to cat care best practices, creating a buffer between all pet cats and the world of creepy crawlies is the answer. 

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The Ins and Outs of Puppy and Kitten Vaccines

A small grey kitten

Our fur babies are important to us and, if you have a new puppy or kitten, we bet you are reveling in the joy and fun of it all. Of course you want to give your new pet a great start in life, and you and your veterinary healthcare team can make sure that happens. 

Puppy and kitten vaccines is the place to start. Androscoggin Animal Hospital shares some of the ins and outs of vaccines, why they are important, and a bit about how they work. 

Why a Series of Vaccines?

Vaccines are important at any age. Adult pets need to be protected from infectious disease just as puppies and kittens do. With adults, we vaccinate much less often, and we carefully balance what vaccines are needed based on age, breed, and how and where an adult pet is active

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Meeting Your Cat’s Needs Can Reduce Destructive Feline Behaviors

A cat scratching a chair

Some cat owners hit the lottery with their cats. They are peaceful, loving, and agreeable when it comes to demanding the perfect balance of food and attention. Other cat owners wonder what they’re doing wrong when they see messes outside the litter box, shredded toilet paper, and couch cushions with claw marks all over them. The differences between certain feline behaviors can hinge on ensuring that all of their environmental needs are met.

Expressing Themselves

Contrary to popular belief, cats are incredibly social animals. Although they may prefer living with littermates, most cats are capable of coexisting with other pets and enjoy the company of their human family members.

Cats are also quite territorial, which can cause problems in some homes. With their highly developed senses of hearing and smell, cats can anticipate threats, and will fight tooth and claw to defend their territories. While it can sometimes be difficult to determine signs of stress or pain in cats, they do employ obvious responses to territorial threats, like hissing, yowling, puffing up, and tail thrashing.

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