Why Do Some Cats Choose a Favorite Person? We Have Several Reasons

Why do some cats choose a favorite person while others do not? You may have noticed that your cat seems to love you more than anyone else in your family. However, maybe you’ve also had cats that seemed to love (or hate) everyone equally. Why you, and why this cat?

You already know your cat doesn’t fit the stereotype of a cold and aloof animal. Maybe he follows you around the house. Perhaps he won’t sleep at night unless he can sleep with you. It could be that he just seems to know when you sit down and is immediately there, in your lap, no matter where he was before.

So why do some cats choose a favorite person?


There are several possible reasons answering the question, “Why do some cats choose a favorite person?” If you live alone, then the answer is obvious: You’re his sole provider. He gets food, water, shelter, and above all, love, all from you.

When you don’t live alone, though, he might have chosen you simply because you’re the one who feeds him the most. Or you enjoy more playtime with him than anyone else and he’s a playful cat. It’s also entirely possible that there’s just something about you that makes him feel more safe and secure than anyone else does.

It could also be that you’re the only person who’s not bugging him all the time. Cats are drawn to people who love them and play with them on their terms. In fact, that’s why, in a crowd, cats seem to gravitate towards people with allergies or who just don’t like cats.

That seems too obvious. Is there more to it than this?

The question, “Why do some cats choose a favorite person,” begs a deeper look into the answer. Science explains a lot of feline behavior. This is no different.

Cats are only partly domesticated. They haven’t lived around humans nearly as long as dogs have, and for most of the history between us and our furry feline friends, we had limited interaction with them. We learned to tolerate them because they kept pests out of our food supplies, and they learned to tolerate us because our presence meant food, whether they hunted it, received it in the form of scraps, or both.

We cat parents know very well their partial wildness doesn’t mean they can’t love us. I have a cat right now who’s loving all over me (and drooling as she purrs). Our relationship with cats, however, is far closer to the relationship between two humans than it is between a human and a dog. There’s a give-and-take, and there’s communication. We have to learn to understand each other.

Because of that, they may well give us their affection because they choose to do so. They’re not yet hardwired to show it because they depend on us for their every need. We haven’t had anywhere near enough time to breed them to be so.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t any give-and-take or learning to understand each other with dogs. It’s just that, with cats, the interaction and relationship development is currently far closer to what you see between humans.

So why do some cats choose a favorite person?

Some cats choose a favorite person simply because that’s the person they interact with the most. For others, it may be because those people leave them alone or aren’t home very much. And for still others, it might be more complicated. Some cats don’t choose a favorite person at all.

It’s safe to say, though, that there is no single, catch-all reason to which we can point that answers the question, “Why do some cats choose a favorite person?” They do because they do.


Why Cats Chew Fingers, And What You Can Do About It



Some cats seem to have an odd habit. When you’re cuddling them and petting them, they go after your fingers. To you, it seems different from love bites and petting-induced aggression, and maybe you’ve noticed that your cat doesn’t bite so much as chew, gnaw or suck your fingers. Our matriarch, Gizmo, has done this with us her whole life and it is…perplexing behavior, to say the least. Why do cats chew fingers, anyway?

There is a variety of reasons why cats chew fingers

First off, if your cat is actually a little kitten around 9 weeks of age, she may be teething. Kittens who are teething often bite anything and everything. That includes your fingers and toes, because it relieves the discomfort of teeth growing in.

This is actually the perfect time to teach your kitten not to chew on things. The first thing you can do is give her chew toys she can chew on when you’re not playing with her. You can also teach her appropriate biting through interactive playtime.

There’s also “Ow! and Down,” which is a great way to teach her not to bite you. When she does, you say, “Ow!” in a high-pitched, but not loud, voice, and put her down or walk away from her. This teaches her that biting you is unacceptable without teaching her to fear you.

Adult cats chew fingers, too, though.

There are a few reasons why adult cats chew fingers. For many, it’s like wool-sucking – it’s something comforting from their kittenhood. It can also be your cat’s way of playing. We think that both these reasons are why Gizmo chews our fingers. To her, it’s both a throwback to her kittenhood, and it’s also fun and playful for her. We didn’t do much to stop her from doing it when she was a kitten, so she’s kept doing it through her entire adult life.

If your adult cat is chewing on your fingers, you can train her out of it with more playtime, and also with the “Ow! and Down” technique. Be aware, though, that it will take considerably longer if she’s already grown. It’s always easier to train kittens than cats, but don’t let that stop you if you’d rather she didn’t use you as a chew toy.

Cats drink water using their amazing feel for physics



There is actual, interesting physics behind how cats drink water. At a glance, it might appear that all they do is use their tongues as cups to get water into their mouths. According to an article on Cat Channel, though, that’s not what they do at all. Instead, they use the tips of their tongues to create a column of water to pull into their mouths.

The way that cats drink water depends on the actual physics of water

Cats’ ability to drink water from a horizontal surface, such as a bowl, a puddle, a pond, or whatever else they may find in the wild, hinges on their tongues, and on water surface tension and liquid adhesion. Joanne McGonagle, the writer of the article on Cat Channel, says that Dr. Roman Stocker of MIT decided to investigate the physics behind how cats drink water after watching his own cat drink several years ago.

What Dr. Stocker found is that cats curl the tips of their tongues very sharply downward when they drink, instead of making a cup and scooping the water into their mouths. They very lightly touch the surface of the water, without piercing it, with the smooth tongue tip. The water sticks to the tongue, forming the column from which they then drink.

There’s an apparent understanding of physics that’s evident when cats drink water, and other times, too

According to a 2010 article in MIT News, cats instinctively know exactly when gravity will overcome the surface tension of the water and bring the column back down into the bowl, and they close their mouths around the water column to get their drinks. This is also how they keep their chins dry (or mostly dry) while drinking.

The physics behind how cats drink water results in about four laps per second for our furry feline friends at home. Bigger cats, which have correspondingly bigger tongues, lap more slowly, because more water sticks to the bigger surface area of their tongues.

The way cats drink water is different from how dogs drink water. Dogs actually do make little ladles out of their tongues to scoop water out of a bowl, according to the Washington Post. The researchers who began the study at MIT actually did so out of curiosity more than anything. The physics behind how cats drink water boils down to this: They have learned to balance gravity against inertia.

Here’s a slow-motion video of how cats drink water:

Promising New Research May Show Way To Help Declawed Cats



Declawed cats. The very idea is offensive and revolting to many pet owners, veterinarians, and animal rights activists, and rightly so. Declawing is an unnecessary amputation of the last bone of each toe, which causes ongoing problems for these cats. Those problems include arthritis, club-foot, chronic pain, and more. Those of us with declawed cats (whether we adopted them that way or had it done), who wish we could do something to help them, may be interested in this new research.

Personally, I know I’m interested. All four of our cats are declawed because we didn’t know what it actually was when we had it done. Once we learned the truth, it was too late. If there may soon be a standardized way to help them with pain and the problems the unnatural gaits that the missing bone causes, then I’m all ears.

Despite studies showing the opposite, people still report a higher rate of litter box problems with declawed cats

Many people whose cats are declawed report problems with litter box behavior. One (very strong) possible reason for the litter box problems declawed cats experience is the pain in their paws. Eventually, it’s just too painful to step and dig into cat litter – even the finest of fine-grained litters.

Dr. Ron Gaskin, a vet in Shakopee, Minnesota, may have a way to help that. He gave 18 declawed cats who were having litter box problems a two-week course of buprenorphine, which is a painkiller. Of those cats, more than 80 percent started using their boxes normally again.

There may also be a surgery that can help declawed cats

But that’s not all. What Dr. Gaskin has noticed is that declawed cats develop hyperflexion in their declawed paws, causing club-footedness and additional pain and problems. The chronic pain that declawed cats suffer gets worse over time, and raises cortisol levels, which in turn raises the risk of diabetes. So, besides the chronic pain, there are other health issues that may be linked to declawing, even if it’s not obvious at first.

There’s a surgery that Dr. Gaskin performed on 14 cats that he calls a “declaw salvage surgery.” It’s essentially a flexor tendonectomy that helps to correct the club-footedness declawing causes.

Obviously, neither of these options creates a free pass to have your cats declawed. There’s nothing out there right now that can replace the missing bones in their toes so they can walk completely normally again. In my personal opinion, though, anything that can help declawed cats live more normal, less pain-filled lives, it’s worth noticing.

Cats Bullying Each Other: How Do You Stop It?



Bullying. It’s common in multi-cat households. We have it here – Chase and Kali will sometimes gang up on Gizmo, and Kali harasses Aria. I started looking for ways to stop this because there are days that our cats bullying each other gets really bad.

What can you do to stop your cats bullying each other?

First and foremost, if your cats aren’t spayed or neutered, get that done right away. This can prevent bullying, along with unwanted litters, yowling, and other behavior issues that arise with intact cats.

If your cats are sterilized, though, and you’re still having problems, consider how your cats might view the resources in your house. Those resources include food and water, the litter boxes, and territory. Do each of your cats have adequate territory, horizontal and vertical? You can create extra vertical territory with multiple cat trees, or even carpeted shelves on the walls. Vertical territory is very important for cats. Make sure each of your cats can get up high and away from the others. Ensure they have multiple escape routes, too. That way, nobody can trap anybody else.

Territory generally isn’t a problem in our house, even though it’s a little small for four cats. Neither is resources – we have five litter boxes around the house, and they all get fed in separate rooms on a schedule. They do have a communal water bowl but nobody chases anybody away from it.

One more thing you can do: Be sure your cats aren’t sick or injured. Cats are good at hiding pain and illness, but will swipe at someone who makes them feel worse.

So now what do we do to stop our cats bullying each other?

Well, to be honest, I haven’t been the best cat mom when it comes to interactive playtime. One of the things that playtime does is stimulate your feline friend’s instincts. Another is that it helps you bond with her. It can also tire them out so they don’t have the energy to bully each other.

Cat Behavior Associates also recommends giving each of your cats individual attention with playtime so nobody’s competing, especially if there’s only one of you to play with multiple cats. The same goes for affection: Don’t play favorites.

The best thing you can do, though, is to stop conflict between your cats as early as possible. Cats bullying each other happens when there’s conflict, and only gets worse over time. If you see one of your cats trying to stare down another, or intimidate each other—whether it’s over food and water, litter boxes, territory, or anything else—gently separate them and find a way to make it so things don’t escalate. Above all, do not yell at them or swat them. You’ll only make things worse.

Cone of shame & alternatives: Helping your cat deal



Things happen to our cats. They get injured, or need surgery, and they insist on trying to eat the scabs or chew the stitches out of the healing wound. Your cat is acting on his instinct to stop the discomfort from the wound, which can make things worse. So you have to put him in a cone of shame, which he absolutely hates. Even if it’s a soft cone, he will probably be very stressed during this time. What are some good ways to help him handle it, without risking his recovery?

Making the cone of shame easier on your cat

Your cat may have trouble eating, drinking and using the litter box while he’s in the cone of shame. However, if the cone is on properly, he should still be able to do these things. Try putting his food and water bowls up on a little stool or stand so he doesn’t have to bend down as much to get to the bowls. Or simply hold his bowls for him when he wants to eat and drink (if that works for you).

Remove any litter box covers you have so that he can move freely inside the box. Also, while it might seem distasteful, you can temporarily put his box in a more open area of the house, again, so that he can move freely. This, too, might help to reduce his stress and feel better while wearing the cone of shame.

Alternatives to the dreaded cone of shame

Everything is more difficult with a cone of shame. Eating, drinking, using the litter box, even getting comfortable and sleeping are difficult. You might start hunting for alternatives—any alternatives—to forcing him to wear that cone. One possible alternative is to put him in a shirt. Shirts sized for babies aged 0-3 months are good sizes for cats and they’ll cover most wounds. This will likely be much less stressful for your cat.

However, according to Vetstreet, putting him in a shirt might not be effective on its own, especially if your cat is extremely determined to get at his wounds.You can try a no-lick spray, or some other non-toxic, but icky substance to discourage him and protect his wounds.

Other options besides the hard plastic cone include an inflatable or cushioned “donut,” or a neck brace-type appliance. The softer cones are better than the rigid plastic cones, but because they can invert, they don’t necessarily work for all situations. Also, cats can hate the soft cones as much as the rigid ones.

Consider giving him time out of his cone of shame, but be careful

You can consider giving your cat supervised time out of the cone of shame, especially around feeding time. However, Dr. Phil Zeltzman says that dogs can be even more traumatized by this, as he might see it as some form of punishment. The same is easily true for cats. Dr. Zeltzman believes that the stricter you are with it, the more quickly he will get used to it.

As much as we hate seeing our pets suffer more than we think is necessary, protecting their injuries and incisions from themselves is crucial to their recovery. So, if you’re having trouble with your cat and the cone of shame, try some of these options and see if they help. But don’t just remove the cone and hope everything will be okay.

Urine crystals in cats: What causes them and how do you get rid of them?



A little while ago, we noticed that someone was peeing on some of our furniture. Given that we’ve got two cats on fluoxetine long-term due to stress marking, I was worried that their medicine wasn’t working anymore. But then I noticed something odd when I treated the pee spots with Urine Away. They became sparkly, which I’d never seen before. The spots weren’t saturated enough to cause that, and I realized we might have a cat with urine crystals. Urine crystals in cats require veterinary diagnosis and treatment.

The first thing we had to do was take all four of our cats to the vet for testing because we didn’t know who it was. It’s always a good idea to take your cats in when new and worrisome behaviors appear. Urine crystals can be irritating to your cat’s bladder and urethra, making them feel like they need to go all the time. They can also lead to stones, which can cause life-threatening blockages, and cause UTIs. This is why it’s so important to take your cat to the vet if your cat is peeing outside the litter box.

What causes urine crystals in cats?

It depends on the type of crystal, but some causes are:

  • Urine pH is too high or too low
  • Dehydration
  • Dietary issues (which can affect urine pH levels)

How are urine crystals in cats treated?

This, too, depends on what caused the crystals. Sometimes, simply ensuring that your cat is getting adequate water is enough. Other times, your cat may need a change in diet, or even medicine, or some combination of all of this.

It’s important to note that urine crystals in cats may show an underlying problem. Your vet will work to determine whether that’s the case, and if so, recommend an appropriate treatment for it in order to stop the crystals.

So which cat of ours had the crystals?

It turns out that it was Chase with the crystals. All three of our other cats’ urine was normal, with the exception of Kali, who had a high pH. Chase did too, so it’s very likely his crystals were struvite crystals because those tend to form in urine that’s too alkaline (calcium oxalate crystals are more likely to form in urine that’s too acidic, according to our vet).

Our vet recommended we put some cranberry extract with vitamin C into his food to help acidify his urine and ward off infection. We did, and a month later, the crystals were gone. So we thought that was the end of it, and continued putting the cranberry in his food. For him, it seemed it was an open-and-shut case. Stay tuned…

**Please remember to call your vet if you notice any unusual or alarming behaviors!

UTIs In Cats: What To Look For And What You Should Do



Late last week, we had a massive scare. Thursday morning while my husband was feeding our cats,  everything seemed just fine, like a normal morning, right up until it wasn’t. Chase randomly peed on a bedroom door and was suddenly in severe distress. He’s an example of how sudden, and how serious, UTIs in cats can be.

It would seem that noticeable symptoms of UTIs in cats can appear suddenly

After he peed on the door, he tried to slink away under the bed, but my husband gently pulled him back out. Then he just lay on his side on the floor, acting like he was straining to pass something. Our first thought was a blockage so we rushed him to the vet. On the way there, he vomited, and then he lay back down and went back to straining.

This is what he looked like. I’m including this video because I feel it’s important in understanding one possible, alarming symptom with severe UTIs in cats (you might also see this with blockages. This behavior requires immediate veterinary care). Had we understood what we were looking at, he might have been correctly diagnosed sooner. **PLEASE NOTE: I TOOK THIS VIDEO AFTER WE GOT HOME FROM THE VET, BEFORE ANY MEDICINES HAD TAKEN EFFECT.**

He had some diarrhea in the carrier too, so at the time, the vet was thinking Chase was in gastro-intestinal distress. X-rays did not show either urinary or gastro-intestinal blockages, so she thought he had gastro-enteritis and gave us medicine to treat that. He seemed to improve, but about 24 hours later he relapsed, and then, all through Friday night, he seemed to get worse. I didn’t sleep at all.

Chase was very sick

By Saturday morning he didn’t want to move at all, and he was guarding his abdominal area. If I tried to touch his tummy, he’d kick at me weakly. So I rushed him back to the vet.

Once there, she wanted to do more x-rays, but changed her mind when she took a urine sample. It was so discolored she brought it in to show me. The red cells in the sample were too high to count, as were the bacteria in the sample. Chase was also running a fever (he hadn’t been on Thursday, when we first took him in), and the obvious pain he was in made the vet worry that the infection had spread to his kidneys. She gave him sub-q fluids because he was dehydrated, and brought him back to me all wrapped in a towel.

She sent the urine sample and blood samples to a lab for a full analysis, and I should hear something either today or tomorrow.

How best to treat UTIs in cats?

UTIs in cats are best treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic, like Clavamox. The vet gave me seven days’ worth, and told me to keep giving him the medicine we’d originally gotten for gastro-enteritis because it has an anti-inflammatory effect. As soon as I got home, I gave Chase his first dose of Clavamox.

About six hours later, it appeared that Chase’s fever broke. He looked more alert and seemed to have a little bit more energy, and even wanted some water:

He also ate some dinner last night, and he ate a little breakfast and “lunch” today. And then he ate pretty much a full dinner. He’s enjoying his pill pockets, too, so giving him his meds on schedule isn’t hard.

Here’s how he’s sleeping right now – notice how he’s not guarding his abdominal area anymore:

What are some of the symptoms of UTIs in cats?

UTIs in cats are nothing to mess with. It’s vitally important to get your cat to the vet as quickly as possible for care if you notice any of the following:

  • Straining in or out of the litter box
  • Appearing to have pain while urinating
  • Using the litter box frequently but passing very little urine
  • Blood in urine clumps in the litter box (this can be hard to see)
  • Excessive licking of the genitals
  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Excessive thirst

Left untreated, UTIs in cats can lead to pyelonephritis, which can damage your cat’s kidneys. This is what our vet is worried about with Chase. I think we got lucky with him given how sick he was just 48 hours ago. If you suspect your cat might have a UTI, call your vet immediately.

Pilling cats: Here are 4 methods for doing so



Every long-time cat owner has had to find ways to give their cat a pill. In fact, pilling cats is often so difficult that there are entire humorous stories dedicated to it. So how the hell do you do it without getting shredded and stressing out your poor cat to boot?

The easiest method for pilling cats is to turn it into a treat

One great method for pilling cats involves using something tasty, such as a pill pocket, her favorite treat, and even certain types of people food. This helps get her to eat the pill without really realizing that it’s even there. Chase and Gizmo are both on long-term medication, and we’ve found using pill pockets works very well. They hear the pill bottle and they come running, instead of hiding. Unfortunately, many cats will eat some of the treat, spit the pill out, and then finish the treat (or not). We’ve found that giving them empty pockets regularly helps keep them from learning there’s a yucky filling and spitting it out.

The old-fashioned way of pilling cats is stressful and can be dangerous, but here’s how you do it

There’s the old-fashioned way of pilling cats, which involves holding your cat down, forcing the pill into her mouth, then trying to make her swallow. According to Dr. Dawn Ruben of Petplace.com, the proper way to do this is:

  1. Firmly hold your cat’s head in your non-dominant hand, avoiding the lower jaw and neck/throat as much as possible. You don’t want to restrict your cat’s ability to swallow.
  2. Raise her nose upward, toward the ceiling, which should force her to open her mouth. This will also make it harder for her to bite you.
  3. Hold the pill between the thumb and index finger of your free hand. Use your ring finger, pinkie or middle finger, gently press on her canines, which should make her open her mouth wider.
  4. Place the pill on her tongue, as far back towards her throat as you can, but avoid putting more of your hand in her mouth than is necessary. If you make her gag, the pill will come back up too and you’ll have to do it all over again. It might also be more difficult to pill her in the future if this happens.
  5. Close her mouth and gently hold her that way. You can then stroke the tip of her nose, which can make her stick her tongue out to lick away the tickle. That should make her swallow the pill. You can also very lightly stroke her throat, which can also make her swallow. The latter method is not always effective, however.

Remember to praise your cat, and even reward her with a treat, as soon as she’s swallowed it. You don’t want her to remember being frightened and uncomfortable.

I personally hate this method for pilling cats, though.

There are devices you can use to shoot the pill into the back of her throat

There are certain devices available for pilling cats that you can use without having to stick your fingers directly in her mouth. Devices like pill guns are basically a type of syringe that holds the pill in place, with a plunger that helps you get it onto the back of her tongue. This can help to save your fingers and time, because they’re less likely to be able to spit it out.

If you’re good at getting the pill onto the back of her tongue, but she’s stubborn about holding it on her tongue, try coating it with a little butter. This can help it slide down faster and prevent her from holding it in the back of her throat.

If none of these methods for pilling cats works, then consider this option

You can always take her medicine to a compounding pharmacy, if there’s one near you. These pharmacies make the medication easier and more convenient for your cat to take. They can even make it tasty so that she might find herself thinking of it as a treat, and want to take it. You can take a look at this list to see if there’s one near you, or ask your veterinarian for recommendations as to where to go.

Ideally, one of these methods should work. Remember, though, that one method will not work well with every cat. If you have a multi-cat household, you might find that what works well for one of your cats doesn’t work at all for another. The biggest keys are patience and staying calm.

Seasonal allergies in cats – What can you do?



Spring isn’t that far off, and so it’s time to start thinking about all the things that come with the season. That, unfortunately, includes allergies for a lot of us. Did you know that seasonal allergies in cats are a thing, too, though? Cats can react to the pollen and other triggers of our own annoying spring allergies. However, their symptoms are often different than ours. Seasonal allergies in cats are more likely to produce skin symptoms, rather than what humans experience.

Seasonal allergies in cats tend to look different than they do in people

According to PetMD, seasonal allergies in cats tend to show up as atopic dermatitis. Your cat might develop an itchy rash around his head and neck. He might also develop skin eruptions, and you might notice fur loss from excessive licking, grooming and scratching.

Allergies can be hard to diagnose, and it’s also very hard to figure out just what’s causing your cat’s skin problems on your own. If you notice skin issues, you need to take him to the vet to rule out other skin problems first. It’s not a good idea to assume that skin problems are merely allergies.

Cats can suffer from nasal allergies too, though

I remember one spring, it seemed I was getting up to little puddles of clear vomit pretty much every morning. I called my vet and she said she was seeing an unusually high rate of seasonal allergies in cats that year, and it was presenting more as nasal allergies than atopic dermatitis for some reason. The clear vomit was most likely from post-nasal drip. Of course, she also told me to closely monitor my cats for other symptoms to be sure I didn’t have some kind of infection going around my house, or other health problems requiring treatment.

Generally, though, nasal and respiratory symptoms are going to present in cats with weakened immune systems, and cats with other respiratory troubles. Kali, with her chylothorax, often coughs a lot more in the spring than any other time of year.

To treat seasonal allergies in cats, you need to know what they’re allergic to

If your vet diagnoses allergies, one of the ways to find out what your cat is allergic to is with intradermal testing. This is similar to that wonderful test we humans undergo when an allergist is trying to find out what we’re allergic to. Cats are usually put under general anesthesia for these tests. Then your vet or veterinary dermatologist will shave a small patch of fur, mark it with a pen, and inject tiny amounts of potential allergens. After anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes, the vet will evaluate the test.

Since this test has a small rate of false positives, it’s generally the best way to figure out what your cat is allergic to.

One of the potential treatments for seasonal allergies in cats is a “vaccine.” According to veterinarians at PetPlace, your vet will inject your cat with some of whatever he’s allergic to, repeatedly, over a period of time. The goal here is to slowly reduce your cat’s reaction to the substances. If that doesn’t work, then your vet will probably treat him with steroids. There are also allergy soaps that can relieve itching and help sores and scabs heal, although that means giving your cat a bath. Cool compresses on the affected areas might help if you cat allows it. Resist the temptation to give your cat human medicines, like Benadryl, until you’ve talked to your vet though. It’s never a good idea to give cats human medicines without your vet’s guidance.