two cats

Shift your focus away from correcting this bad behavior. Your cat needs to defecate on fabric? You can make peace and live without poop! Tune in at 6 PM Mountain Time on Thursday, October 15 for my Facebook Live on healthy management of feline fecal soiling. I’ll be ready for questions.

Read More
cat blinking

Calming Blinking It’s really hard having less contact with people. Socially distanced can mean socially isolated. But your cat may be trying to help by inviting you to snuggle by slow eye blinking. There may be natural empathy behind those half closed eyelids. Cats are good at nonverbal communication. Hold on – aren’t cats socially…

Read More
cat looking out

Here’s How to Keep a Cranky Kitty Calm Does your cat hate going to the veterinary clinic? I get it. Lots of cats freak-out with anything away from home. Despite the safety and trust you’ve nurtured in your cat she is a hunter who can also be hunted. A white coated stranger in a funky…

Read More
photo of a cat sleeping in a bed

Yowling, urinating, maybe even some in-the-crate defecating: Are we having fun yet? The anxiety and misery our traveling cats feel, often on the way to the veterinary clinic, needs to light-up. Opting-out of medical care shortens lives. Tune in at 6 PM Mountain Time on Thursday, September 10 for my Facebook Live. I’ll be ready…

Read More

Feline Seniors Need Gentle Care Tony, a grey tabby cat pushing 15, has been ours since he was just a baby. He and I share the belief that we’re still kids but, oddly, he’s developed an age-related problem. Doing my best to cheat the reality of aging I’ve examined him and regularly submitted lab profiles.…

Read More

Chronic arthritis, surgery, bad teeth, back and neck pain – lots of cats and dogs suffer. There are safe, modern treatments that can make a big difference. Know what to look for and how to help. Tune in at 6 PM Mountain Time on Thursday, September 3 for my Facebook Live. I’ll share an update…

Read More
cat in a carrier

Good Management & Helpful Meds Question: We have a cross-country move at the end of the summer and are curious what recommendations you have for moving with kitties. We have two (11yrs and 4yrs), both of whom we adopted while living here in Georgia. Now we’re moving back to my home state of Minnesota. The…

Read More
Old cat lying in sun

Can Old Cats & Young Puppies Mix? Question: We have a 15 year old cat who is well, happy and calm. In September we will receive a Golden-Doodle puppy from a family member. How can we introduce a good sized, bouncy puppy to our lovable old girl? Dr. Nichol: This could be a tall order…

Read More

Do you live in a litter pan? OK, not really – but does it feel that way when you find cat urine around the house? I feel your pain; one of my cats is prone to this odious behavior. Nobody’s happy. Let’s get serious.

Read More
cat picture

The Right Care Goes a Long Way Question: My 12 year old male cat Prancer was diagnosed with diabetes. He was immediately put on insulin injections. He has his regular blood tests and changes in the insulin dosages. He does not appear to be making very much progress. Will he show improvement in eating and…

Read More
fireworks

Comfort Scared Pets with Good Management Startled by earsplitting blasts, many otherwise stable pets will endure almost continual panic this weekend. Scared dogs may hide, tremble, drool, cry or howl, and even urine soil, vomit or pass diarrhea. Many get clingy but some escape the home and risk getting hit on the road. A freaked-out…

Read More
dog eating

Regular High Quality Pet Food is Best Question: Dr. Nichol, what are your thoughts on grain-free diets for dogs? Dr. Nichol: Well, I thought you’d never ask. Considered a fad diet by many, grain-free has been dogged by controversy from the get-go. There are a small number of dogs suspected of gluten intolerance who’ve improved…

Read More
cat fight

Mutual Disdain Likely to Fester & Explode Question: Apparently this cat found us. She is part of Community Cat Program here in El Paso. She is not feral; she is more of a stray and very social with humans. She’s around 5. We are trying to acclimate her to an indoor environment. Our older cat…

Read More
calico cat

Social Distancing is Best Question: My mother-in-law is living in nursing home/hospice. We are seeing her Miss Pearl twice a day for feeding and social time. We would love to move Pearl across the dirt road to our home. She loves our pair of Goldies, but loathes our calico with ululating passion. We are considering…

Read More

COVID19 doesn’t scare our cats but they might get wiggy when we return to work. They thought we were home for good. Finding themselves without us all day could trigger some rather stressful and messy separation behaviors.

Read More
Cat drinking from bathroom faucet

Wet your Cat Question: I have two kittens about nine months old. They have access to water and dry food all day and I give them wet food in the morning and evening. Is that too much? Should I change their feeding habits? I’ve noticed that when one of them visits the water bowl it…

Read More
two cats

Cats can be cranky, pesky, and a bit snarky with other pets. Scolding and water spraying doesn’t teach them better behavior. Instead of reacting badly, kitties can have fun with their people by working for clicks and food.

Read More
two cats sharing a bed

Most Cats are Not Party Animals Question: I adopted two female cats a couple of years ago. The younger one has always been energetic and playful. The older cat recently died. I’m now wondering if my remaining cat “needs” a friend. I’d prefer to not adopt an additional cat due to the risk of unknowingly…

Read More
siamese cat

Treatment Matters Question: My cat Harry is very special at age 14, a little flame point Siamese. He suffers from an eye condition that became much worse several months ago. What freaks me out is the brown discoloration in one eye. I’m crippled and stranded, so it’s scary. Despite it all Harry works hard to…

Read More
pomeranian

Don’t Panic-Be Careful Staying home is a real drag but if you have pets you’ll never be alone. We don’t need social distancing from them, do we? Here’s the update which, of course, is subject to change. Idexx Laboratories tested thousands of canine and feline specimens and found no positives for the coronavirus strain that…

Read More
leopards hissing and fighting

Amusements, Separation before Reconciliation Question: I have two cats that aren’t getting along. One is my husband’s and the other one is mine. We moved in together 7 months ago and they still can’t be together. We keep them separated and have been only successful a couple of times in the same room for a…

Read More
cat in a box

Good cats can go bad when petted. Yell at him? Hose him? Just give up on sharing affection with a kitty you love? Much better – find out why a sweet cat would do such a thing and manage the cause. It may not be behavioral – or it might.

Read More
black cat in a bed

Manage – Don’t Suffer or Punish Question: I have a little cat of horrors. He is a 4 year old black American Short hair and when he is hungry he will attack my feet and hands. I am a diabetic and he leaves long lasting wounds that take forever to heal. None of my other…

Read More
two kittens

Young Cats with Enriched Lives more likely to Succeed Question: I have always had a cat. Several months ago we lost our last cat and we were heart broken. I would like to find two cats/kittens from the same litter. Would it be a problem finding two different kittens that would live together? We want…

Read More
cat meowing

Big Appetite? Weight Loss? Question: What can I do with my cat’s incessant meowing? Myrtle is 18 years old. She’s able to hop up on the furniture. First thing in the morning, she starts around 6 a.m. and will keep it up. I’ve tried ignoring it, and other times shushing her to no avail. She…

Read More
Sphinx cat

Mites or Other Infections are the Primary Cause Question: We took our cat to the veterinarian due to noticing his ear was down and swollen. The doctor reassured us his ear will go back down in time. He did tell us Maurice has ear mites. Once that problem is gone will that help the process…

Read More

You’ve found the perfect pet for someone really special. In your mind you can already see them together! Watching the wriggling box get unwrapped and that look of astonishment and glee – well, it doesn’t get much better than that. Pets can change lives – but not every surprise goes well. Everybody’s needs matter. Let’s…

Read More
cat sitting on sofa

Reduce Temptation; Cat Chewing Done Right Question: My cat Bella Lynne is 3years old and she chews on oxygen hoses. I need help. Dr. Nichol: Cats are predators who need to stimulate the specialized nerve receptors in their faces. The chewy texture of your oxygen hoses is irresistible to Bella Lynne. Set her up to…

Read More
image of cat playing with mouse

Or Purchase the Right Cat Food The raging debate on healthy cat diets continues. Dry vs. canned, high protein or grain free? You could go to the mountaintop and consult Google, that wizened guru. But instead I’ll share current research which, like all good science, continues to shift. Obesity is epidemic for our short eared,…

Read More

Our pets bring us so much joy when they’re active and playful. When these characters are at peace, I am too. But if they have pain or if they struggle with anxiety when home alone something needs to be done to help them feel better. We now have what it takes – and we can…

Read More
photo of cats fighting

Can New Cat Succeed? Question: I have 2 other cats and since I’ve brought the new guy home it is a divided household. My 2 established cats are terrified of this guy or just don’t like him. They hide and don’t come out. They hiss and growl. I have to lock up the new cat…

Read More

Keep it Safe I can’t wait for Thanksgiving: Family, turkey, pie, and political football. Well, maybe for you and me. Keep a close eye on your pets. Tense body postures around visitors or startling at sudden noises, hiding, freezing with ears flattened, the head low, and the tail tucked are important clues. Scared dogs may…

Read More

Cat urine on the rug (yuck), on the sofa (eewww), on your bed (OMG!!!) How about a kitty who howls and yowls when she can’t find you? Beyond the urine messes your cat may be seriously wigged-out when you’re gone. Separation anxiety is a beastly problem for cats.

Read More

Chronic Pain can Dog your Cat Do you know anyone “of a certain age” with chronic pain? Most people don’t keep it a secret. Dogs don’t suffer silently either. You’ll notice them limping, slow to jump, or crying when they get up. But cats don’t say a word. If you think they get a pass…

Read More
kitten playing

Toilet Paper Alternatives Question: My name is Courtney and I have a question regarding my cat Remus. My grandmother and I got him a few years ago. He has been causing major problems by tearing up our toilet paper. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can break him of this bad habit?…

Read More

Fear-Free Kidney Care The Nichol family really loves its kitties, Tony and Gaston. They tap into the same part of our hearts as children but there are differences. They haven’t said a word about college. And they don’t speak a human language, which is usually OK. They’ll never blab our personal business but it can…

Read More

Allergies & Smoldering Infection Question: My 10 year old cat has had eye drainage for quite a while. My veterinarian referred us to an ophthalmologist who thought it might be an allergy. Prescription food z/d did not help. He also has recurring sores above both eyes that he scratches open. Dr. Nichol: Your poor kitty…

Read More
image of a cat in a box

Most Do Best Alone in the Jungle Question: I adopted two female cats from the shelter 3 years ago. One was a year old; the other was three. The younger one has always been energetic and playful, while the other’s favorite activities were sleeping, observing, and hiding. The older cat recently died. I’m now wondering…

Read More

Does your cat hate kids? Can you turn that around – safely? You can teach your kids how to stay safe and how to set a cat up for success. Should they approach quietly or wait for the kitty to come to them? I’ll share the do’s and don’ts.

Read More
photo of yawning cat

Observant Pet Parents & Preventive Care Save Lives In the pet popularity contest cats are a close second to dogs, yet they get much less preventive medical care. That’s because of a widespread misperception that they’re lower maintenance pets. That just isn’t so. Oh sure, they can stay indoors, munch from a brimming bowl of…

Read More

Protection for Diminishing Birds Question: I was disappointed in your reply to the owner of the “trophy hunting cat” in the July 19 Albuquerque Journal. While you made good points about diseases transmitted to pets and potentially to humans, you missed the opportunity to address another serious issue: birds, small mammals and reptiles killed by…

Read More
image of cat hunting a mouse

Tularemia, Plague, Rabies, & Hanta Virus Question: Our formerly feral five-year-old cat is now a tamed cuddler, purrer, and a chatterer. Her favorite activity is catching baby rabbits, baby squirrels, lizards, mice and birds. She is proud to bring these finds in, which get tossed out immediately. Could she contract Hantavirus or other diseases from…

Read More
Image of cats about to fight

Fighting Among Household Cats Relationships among multiple indoor cats could devolve into a slugfest. The head banana may lurk in the shadows, pounce, and scare the snot out of an unsuspecting subordinate. Wounds and abscesses can be lanced and irrigated but the fear can last a lifetime. Be observant. Watch for one cat blocking access…

Read More
image of multiple cats eating

A Crowd of Cats Question: One of our foster families has a cat with bladder disease.  She had a UTI, which has now cleared up after medication.  She is now on gabapentin, but is still not always using the litter box.  Her family is using Feliway and is isolating her from the other cats, but things…

Read More
dogs eating trash

Beware of Sugar Substitutes in Prepared Foods Did you know that dogs and cats are not little people in furry suits? They’re like us in a lot of ways. They snuggle, play, and talk to us, sometimes more than other people. Maybe that’s why we keep them as pets rather than, say, cockroaches or earthworms.…

Read More
image of cats fighting

Kitties often Speak Non-Verbally Question: Having watched your Facebook Live on cats who fight, I wonder about how do two cats living in a house communicate with each other? Dr. Nichol: Cohabitating cats communicate almost continually. Sometimes referred to as socially asocial many could as easily survive alone as live in a feline colony. Genetically…

Read More
cat eating grass

Be Wary: Serious Trouble may Lurk Question: What is your view of “cat grass?” Dr. Nichol: I have never used cat grass. I don’t eat it, smoke it, grow it or mow it. On the other hand, the two Nichol family cats, Tony and Gaston, are rather fiendish about it, almost like catnip. But they’re…

Read More
Two kittens

Adopt Kittens in Pairs Question: I have always had a cat throughout my 60 years. Several months ago we lost our last cat and we were broken hearted. I would like to find two cats/kittens from the same litter. Would it be a problem finding two different kittens that would live together? We want a…

Read More
cat sleeping

Not a Road Map to Feline Health Tony is a 12 year old kitty who started fussing for food frequently. But when his family was petting him they realized that he wasn’t just being pesky. Despite packing away the groceries this feline senior was losing weight. On physical exam Tony’s heart rate was faster than…

Read More
calico cat

Question: Hermione, our 11 year old long haired calico, was diagnosed with hepatic lipidosis. She received a month of treatment per our veterinarian. We then made a tough decision to stop all treatment. Two weeks later Minie has increased energy, is eating somewhat better, and is again engaging in household life. But all of the…

Read More

Snuggle Bunnies? Predators? If they’re close to losing impulse control they might actually communicate. Hissing, growling, spitting, ears back, pupils dilated – Cats in this mindset need space. Keep all interactions slow and gentle.

Read More
cat up late at night

Cat Daddy as Midnight Toy Question: Stinky, at the age of 5 months, adopted us by walking in the back door. The weird thing is his habit of waking me at 3 AM. He will come back every five minutes to stare at me and give his little pathetic meow. It does no good to…

Read More

Not Man’s, Woman’s, or Cat’s Best Friend Question: I have two 15 year old cats who are both well toilet trained. Recently I moved from the city to the country. Since then I have been getting nightly visits from a possum, she is lovely and I hand feed her my excess veggies (avocados are her…

Read More

Your cat has a great life with you. So what’s with the scratching and biting? You can teach your cat to earn the privilege of your affection. Ask me anything or just listen in during my Facebook Live event, called “Hissy, Scratchy, Cranky Kitties” on Thursday, January 10 at 6 PM Mountain Time. Invite your…

Read More
dog afraid of fireworks

Pets ready for Fireworks? In the next few days many of us will be treated to (or cursed by) fireworks and even a few skyward gunshots, all to improve our outlook for the New Year. Oh sure, these immature and potentially dangerous antics fall into the category of irresponsible human behavior (explosions must boost the…

Read More

You’re invited to my Facebook Live event called Holiday Worries for Jangled Pets. I’ll share valuable methods for keeping pets peaceful and avoiding hazards on Wednesday, December 19 at 6 PM MDT. You’ll have lots of time to ask me questions. Go to facebook.com/drjeffnichol   JP would scratch and bite his person anytime she tried…

Read More
cat in a hat

Not your Typical Two Step Question: I have a male ginger cat, 9 years old, named Will. For the last 2-3 years he has had to have his anal glands expressed due to constant boot scooting and licking of the area. In the last year I have had his anal glands infused with antibiotics twice.…

Read More

Good Housekeeping Promotes Etiquette Question: My female cat pees like a lady when outside, but inside she stands and sprays the wall. I have had to buy an enclosed litter box to protect the walls. I tried new litter but it did not help. Dr. Nichol: You tried new litter? I thought this was about…

Read More

Prior to JP’s stretch in animal control, where his new person Esther found him, this feline waif had already been through two homes. This good lady wanted to learn how she could give her new kitty the love he needed. He just wouldn’t let her touch him. Esther knew that being touched appropriately as a…

Read More
Petting cat head

Do you know anybody whose adult life could have been easier and a whole lot happier if they’d been treated better as a child? Not only do I know people like that, I’m one of them. In my work I’m fortunate to meet pets and humans with broken and battered pasts. We are not alone.…

Read More
Scared Dog

Halloween can be Scary and Dangerous The idea of Halloween is rather appealing. It’s fully legal and socially acceptable to assume a different identity. If you are underage you can arrive uninvited on the doorsteps of total strangers and feign poverty or threaten to trick them if they don’t cough-up unhealthy snacks. Many dogs, being…

Read More
golden retriever puppy

Hey – wasn’t that settled a long time ago? The oversupply of pets hasn’t gone away. The behavioral benefits of spaying and neutering are clear. Roaming, urine marking/spraying, and aggression between intact (unneutered) males are greatly diminished. Early-age sterilization prior to adoption has been quite effective in reducing the glut of unwanted pets. During the…

Read More

Fear can be Learned just Once Question: New Mexico Animal Friends has a spayed female foster cat, Twyla, a young tortoiseshell shorthair, who has become difficult at adoption clinics. We think she may have had a bad experience. She snarls and swats at people and acts as if she is “guarding” her cage. At the…

Read More

As Lily headed toward the bedroom she glanced at her cat as a way of getting a read on his mood. She loved Omar but he could be impetuous. At times he was a sweetheart but he could bite – hard. His history included violent reactions when his person brushed him.

Read More
blind cat

Quality of Life is Central Question: My cat Kayla just turned 23 years old and suddenly went blind. When do I know that it’s too much for her to handle and make the choice to put her down? My heart is breaking. Dr. Nichol: You must have given Kayla wonderful care for her to have…

Read More
Itchy cat

Food & Airborne Allergens take their Toll Question: Pippi, my 4 year old Maine Coon cat first suffered with indolent ulcers at six months of age that has been controlled with z/d diet. Since January Pippi has formed stools for weeks and then reverts to “little cow pies”. Lately, she startles with itching and then…

Read More