Nina Nandy

Gastroenterologist at The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

Best Cat Breeds if You Have Kids

Best Cat Breeds if You Have Kids

Having a cat can teach kids to be respectful of animals while also providing them with a sense of responsibility. Each cat has its own distinct personality, but certain breeds more commonly display traits that can make them suitable for children. Here are five of the best cat breeds to get if you have kids.

Burmese Cats

Burmese cats are known for being social and affectionate, which makes them an ideal cat to have in a family. These cats are also inquisitive and will love to explore your home. If you get a Burmese cat as a kitten, you can expect it to stay energetic well into adulthood. Some even like to play fetch. Because of their social nature, these cats are best suited to a household where people will be home throughout the day.

Exotic Shorthair Cats

Exotic Shorthair cats are descended from the Persian breed. Unlike Persians, they have a dense, short coat. They’re known for being gentle, calm, and patient. Although Exotic Shorthairs are very loyal and enjoy spending time sitting in their human companion’s laps, they also love to play. If left alone, they can happily entertain themselves with a toy.

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon cats are easy to recognize because of their large size and long fur. These cats are very inquisitive and like to be around their human companions. At the same time, they tend to be independent and are okay with being left alone for periods of time. Additionally, they’re very relaxed and easygoing, so they don’t mind being picked up. Generally, they get along well with other pets.

Abyssinian Cats

Known for being affectionate and loyal, these shorthaired cats tend to develop strong bonds with their human companions. Abyssinian cats are energetic and love attention, so they make great playmates. They’re also very intelligent, which makes them easy to train, and because of their short coats, they require very little grooming.

Birman Cats

Birman cats tend to be exceedingly friendly and easygoing. This breed is identifiable by its blue eyes and medium-length coat. They love to receive affection from adults and children and enjoy spending time with their human companions. If you have a cat-friendly dog, Birman cats can be a good option as their mellow nature means they get along with other animals.

Tips to Train Your Cat

Tips to Train Your Cat

Getting a new cat means taking on the responsibility of training your pet. A properly trained cat can provide companionship and joy, but a poorly trained cat can lead to hours of frustration. Follow these suggestions to ensure you and your cat have a happy life together.

Getting Your Cat to Use a Litter Box

This may be the simplest aspect to training your cat, because cats are clean creatures by their nature. As such, they like to bury their waste, so the litter box is an ideal situation for them. To begin, select an enclosed room and place a clean and prepared litter box in the room. Next, place the cat in the litter box, which should not have an enclosure. If the cat steps outside the box to relieve itself, pick up the waste and place it inside the box. Once the cat sees you place the waste in the litter box, confine the cat in that room. Within a couple of days, your new cat should be trained to use the litter box independently.

Behavioral Modification

The best way to train a cat to stop the destructive behavior is through positive reinforcement. Smacking the cat for clawing the furniture, for instance, will only confuse the animal. He or she will have difficulty understanding what the punishment was for, because sharpening its claws is just a natural act. Instead, get the cat an object that it can claw, such as a scratching post. Try demonstrating to the cat what you want it to do and, when it does use the scratching post, be sure to reward it. This may take several attempts, but, eventually, the cat will learn.

Eliminate Aggression

You can also train your cat to stop aggressive behavior. If he or she claws and bites when playing, make a loud noise to startle the animal. A loud hiss or a bang on a table may do the trick. Once the cat has been startled, walk away and stop playing. After a few times, your cat will get the hint.

While these are the best methods for training your cat, they won’t always work. A stubborn cat may take more time and effort in training away bad behavior. If you feel as though you’ve made the extra effort and have seen no results, consult your veterinarian. He may be able to recommend other methods or may refer you to a professional trainer who can help.

Can Cats and Dogs Get Along?

Can Cats and Dogs Get Along?

You love, love, love cats. You’ve wanted your own ever since you went off to college and realized that you couldn’t take you family’s fluffy feline with you. Now, you’re ready to move into your own apartment and adopt a cat of your very own. But in the midst of your excitement, you realize that there’s just one problem:

Your roommate-to-be is an incurable canine fanatic, and she’s already made plans to bring a sweet-faced golden retriever into your home. Suddenly, all of your plans to care for a kitty seem to fall apart. Everyone knows that dogs and cats can’t get along….right?

Wrong.

Much like people, cats and dogs have the preferences. Some laid-back cats can’t stand to be in the same room as an excited dog; similarly, some dogs view cats as threats to chase. An elderly cat, for example, should never live with with an overly-energetic puppy. A bad pairing can be stressful and risky for everyone in the home – including you! However, our furry friends can also get along just fine. With the right pairing and enough time, you might even find your dog and cat cuddling on day!

If you want to bring a dog into a cat’s home (or vice versa) you should go through the proper steps to ensure that your pets have compatible personalities and temperaments before introducing them. Check out the list below for some guidelines!

How to Introduce Your Pets

Test Compatibility

Never, ever take your pet to the shelter for an introduction. An adoption site is chock-full of unfamiliar smells and frightening sounds that can negatively impact how your dog or cat will react upon meeting their potential housemate. Needless to say, it won’t be an accurate litmus test for how the two will behave in the home. If you want to introduce an established cat to a new dog, do the introduction in the home. If you plan to bring a new cat to meet an established dog, try bringing the dog to meet a friend’s dog-savvy cat beforehand so you can gauge their approach towards cats. If that goes well, you can try bringing the cat to your home for an introduction.

Keep an eye out! If a dog stays fixated on the cat, barks constantly, jerks, or otherwise shows aggression towards a quiet and calm cat, it may not be compatible with cats at all. You can try swapping out potential adoptees to find a good fit – but at the end of the day, some cats and dogs just aren’t cut out for a non-human housemate.

Keep Pets Separate

Between the smells, the sounds, and sights, there’s a lot to get used to in a new home. Keep your dog confined to allow a new cat the opportunity to explore the space and become accustomed to the dog’s scent. You can swap out the pet in confinement to allow both a chance to adjust. Always keep the pets confined separately while you’re out of the house; this will help you avoid potentially dangerous unsupervised interactions. If both pets seem calm and are eating, sleeping, using litter box normally, you can proceed to in-person introductions.

Make Cautious Introductions

Getting a cat and a dog used to one another may take some time. Keep your dog safely leashed in the same room as cat until all signs of fear or aggression have faded and it seems as though both are comfortable. During the first few days and weeks, you should continue confining the two in separate areas while you are out to prevent unsupervised interactions. After a month or so, you should be able to allow your pets to roam freely and enjoy the other’s company without supervision.

A Word From Nina Nandy’s Cat


Hi, my name is Lionel and I am a long haired tuxedo likely Maine Coon mix with giant kitten mittens and a big fluffy tail. I was a stray roaming the mean streets of Albuquerque until the age of one and a half when I was picked up by Animal Humane and neutered. My Nina Nandy Photohuman mommy, Nina Nandy, came in to meet me and though she was very sweet I was scared. Nina took me home and I was nervous because I had never lived inside before. She gave me lots of love and treats and toys but I would hide and one day I saw a way out and I ran away! I know she was very worried about me and put up flyers all over town and even went door to door looking for me. It took a few months and animal control picked me up and put me in the west side shelter and because I was microchipped Nina was able to find me again. Now I know to never run away again because I have the best life ever! I have all the cuddles, snuggles and treats a kitty could ever have and all the best toys! I particularly enjoy my giant black and white cat tree because it matches my colors, my window seat where I can catch all the sun I want, getting hair all over everything particularly clean laundry and generally being naughty. =^.^= Check out pictures, videos  and the latest antics of me, Lionel the snugglisest, most mischievous kitty in the world !