6My cat hates my boyfriend.
Some cats have gender preferences based on who raised them
as kittens, Johnson said. Cats are
impressionable before 12 weeks
of age. “Allow the cat to dictate
the relationship,” she said. “Cats
prefer to come to you on their
terms.” Think of people with cat
allergies. Do you ever wonder
why cats go to these people and
end up sitting on their laps? By
ignoring the cats, they become
safe to approach in the cat’s
perception. “Ignore them and
then they’ll come to you. Reward
their approach with food, brushing, toys, and other hands-off
activities.” A man might pet too
heavy-handedly if the cats are
used to a woman’s touch.
7My cat has fleas. Fleas are no joke. Swallowing
a flea can give you or your cat a
tapeworm, and cats can ingest
them while grooming themselves.
Fleas can cause a host of nasty
diseases, including cat scratch
disease. If you’re not grossed out
by all of that, think of how itchy
and uncomfortable it must feel to
experience flea bites.
“Fleas are a year-round problem
and we shouldn’t take breaks from
treating them,” Johnson said.
Talk to your vet about flea protection, and always follow your vet’s
and the product label instructions.
Using dog flea control products
on cats can be fatal, so stick with
cat-specific products. Pay attention
to age and weight requirements on
the label, because incorrect dosages
are also dangerous.
Treat the house, too. Wash
bedding and flooring. Vacuum
carpets and furniture, as a 2007
Ohio State University study
showed that the vacuuming process kills fleas in all life stages.
8My cat pukes on everything.
Again, rule out a medical cause.
Once that is ruled out, consider
feeding stress. “When we limit
their access to food, cats become
voracious eaters,” Johnson said.
To avoid that, she recommended
saturating their environment with
feeding stations, so they fall into
natural grazing patterns.
To prevent your cat from
coughing up hairballs, keep your
cat’s coat brushed. If your cat
throws up hairballs frequently,
consider a hairball diet.
9My cat freaks out every time I leave
for a few days.
Krieger said she deals
10My cat likes to hang out on the
with this problem a lot.
“Because cats do love
their people, they may
urinate outside the litter
box, become lethargic
or cry. If you’re going
to be gone, take the
number of days you’ll
be gone and one piece of
clothing with your scent on it for
each day in sealed plastic bags. Have
your pet sitter put one clothing
item out each day so the cat won’t
feel abandoned.” Don’t leave your
cats alone, Krieger said. She recom-
mended bringing in a cat sitter twice
each day that you’re gone.
Cats might be attracted to food that’s
on the counter, so keep the counters
clean, Krieger said. Cats also like to
be up high and hang out with you.
So, block the counter with a deterrent like aluminum foil or double-sided tape. While making the counter
an undesirable place to hang out, put
something more desirable near it, like
a stool or cat tree.
Keep in mind that when cats
engage in these behaviors, they’re
just being cats. They’re not intentionally causing trouble, but they
are trying to give us clues about
an unmet need. Cats should never
be punished; they need to be
understood. With understanding, we can solve what we see as
problems so that everyone in the
household is happy.
was the editor of CAT
FANCY for 11 years and
learned all of the above
information while editing
the magazine. Her cats
Maddie and Sophie are very glad she did.