How Are We Doing With Cat Care?

In a series of recent articles ("How to Make Your Home a Cat-Friendly Place," "'Why Claw Care Keeps Cats Happy," and "Can't We All Just Get Along? Recognizing and Resolving Cat Conflict"), we have talked about all the ways that we can reduce our cats’ anxiety levels, gain their trust, establish communication and get them “working” for us by creating an environment that encourages them to express their unique "telos" (see "Understanding the “Catness” of a Cat") in acceptable ways. Now is the time to ask: Is it working?

We can tell when our cats are healthy and happy by watching them, just like we do for other members of the household, and noticing when they are “doing fine” or “not so good.” When we observe our cat, we are looking for a pet that maintains a healthy body weight and has body postures that we associate with calm confidence. In addition to these general observations, there are a variety of things you can pay attention to about your cat, so if something changes, you don’t miss it. In some cases, changes that are “not so good” may be due to fear or anxiety. In other cases, they may be due to disease. Sometimes it can be hard to tell which. If you are unsure, your veterinarian can help you sort it out. Always remember to consult him or her if you see a change you cannot trace back to a logical cause.

But in the general sense of trying to determine whether things are “fine” or “not so good” with your cat, we've compiled a handy reference (in the table above and on the next page) of things to look for when you assess your feline.

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