Nina Nandy

Gastroenterologist at The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

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?


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.

Why Is My Cat So Loud?

Why Is My Cat So Loud?

When you find yourself hiding out in your mercifully quiet car to do your taxes, you realize that it’s finally happened. Your cat has finally managed to meow you off the deep end.

It began nicely enough: Your cat would yowl now and again before coming in for a quick pat. Then, he began meowing before dinner; a few days later, after dinner. You thought it was normal – cute, even. You changed your mind once he started howling at the wall at three o’clock in the morning. Now, you’re hiding from your own feline best friend for some peace and quiet, wondering how the situation got to be this bad – and more importantly, how you can fix it.

All hope is not lost!

Cats vocalize for a variety of reasons, but they rarely do so out of sheer contrariness. Because so much of their communication with other felines is based in body language, full-grown cats don’t need to meow at each other; rather, they only do so if they want to convey something to their human. If your cat begins yowling out of the blue, you should go through the following basic checklist to narrow down the cause:


Is it past feeding time? Cats will often meow to indicate their hunger or to express their interest in food you may be preparing for yourself. Don’t let your cat turn into a beggar! If they begin meowing for food even after they’ve been fed, try not to feed them scraps or give in to the howling. Otherwise, you might just reinforce the behavior!


Contrary to what popular opinion might hold, cats aren’t naturally aloof animals. Much like dogs or even humans, cats need plenty of stimulation and attention to feel secure and happy. If your cat meows when you come back from work, give them a quick pet or cuddle! A lack of attention can be especially difficult for indoor and solitary cats who lack the stimulation an outdoor cat might enjoy. If you think your cat’s meowing stems from loneliness or boredom and can’t be solved by you alone, consider getting another cat and investing in some new cat toys!


As I just mentioned, indoor environments can be hard on cats. The inside of a house only offers so much stimulation, and a cat can quickly get bored if it isn’t challenged or entertained on a daily basis. If you have a yard, try building a secure outdoor enclosure! This will provide your cat with a safe space to explore and play.

If none of these reasons seem to suit your situation, there might be a more serious problem at work. Older or disabled cats will sometimes meow from mental confusion or pain. If you have a young cat that hasn’t been spayed or neutered yet, you could be dealing with a cat in heat. The latter isn’t a big deal – although you should get your cat fixed to avoid any accidental litters!

When in doubt, you should always take your cat to the vet to ensure the health of your feline friend.

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 !