Sunday, June 24, 2007
Cats can eventually learn to tolerate one another
Paws & Claws
Jill Bowen has practiced veterinary medicine in England and Texas. She lives in Blacksburg now, and answers local pet owners' questions every week in The Roanoke Times and roanoke.com.
New kitten becomes
rambunctious at night
- Guinea pigs can be easily house-trained with a little patience and praise
- Bacteria can cause ear infections in cats
- Chiari is a malformation of the back for some spaniels
Is it difficult to get a number of cats to live together? We have one, but now my daughter is moving and would like us to look after her two to save boarding fees. Our house is too small to allow us to keep them separately. Her two cats do not really have much to do with each other.
Some cats get along just fine and even seem to like one another's company, while some obviously dislike other cats intensely. Cats are not by nature as sociable as dogs.
When there is ample food most cats will tolerate one another. For example, female farm or barn cats manage to live together in harmony in large groups, even sharing the duties of raising kittens and hunting. Males, on the other hand, tend to be loners and only socialize with the group to get food and breed.
Some of the females within these large groups appear to form "friendships" with one or more of the other cats; other cats keep their distance from one another and obviously can barely tolerate one another. The same situation will pertain in the home where there are several cats. In most cases, there is a top cat, often a neutered male or a matriarchal female. The top cat gets the most favored spot to sit and may not allow others to use the litter box (the reason it is so important to have one litter box per cat and one extra).
Often it is assumed that a single cat will be delighted by the arrival of a new cat, or if we have two cats that tolerate each other the arrival of a third will be no problem. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some cats are better kept as only cats.
When introducing a new cat always do it from behind closed doors and proceed gradually with the introduction, stopping at once if there is any sign of aggravation. Most cats will adapt in time although it may take a lot of time and patience. Most cats will growl and hiss at the new cat initially but gradually, in about three months, natural harmony will be established -- varying from the cats liking each other through tolerance to the extreme state where they will always hate each other and there is no way to predict how the cats will react.
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We have a dog from the shelter that occasionally drags his bottom across the carpet. We worm him regularly so I know it's not that. A "doggie friend" said it was his anal glands and they need emptying. Is he right?
The anal glands are two small glands situated on both sides of the anus that empty into the rectum via small ducts. The glands are similar to those of a skunk, and the secretion has an offensive smell. They can be evacuated voluntarily if the dog has a bad fright or trauma such as in a road accident. The secretions are normally emptied every time the dog has a bowel movement. Sometimes this does not happen, and the glandular secretions build up, causing swelling of the glands, discomfort and itchiness.
When the glands become full and impacted, they may require manual emptying to prevent infection. A quick trip to your veterinarian should solve the problem.