[cat playing with toy]

Cats Need to Play—and Prey: Pillar 3 of a Healthy Environment

Jun 11, 2018 / Behavior

You are your cat’s main source of entertainment Recently, the American Association of Feline Practitioners and International Society of Feline Medicine issued guidelines enumerating the five pillars of a healthy feline environment. Providing a cat with a comfortable environment is linked to better physical, emotional, and behavioral health. Pillar 3 of the healthy feline environment...

[Tucker Tallering]

From Phobic to Functioning: One Dog’s Stormy Story

Mar 19, 2018 / Behavior

Pets’ behavioral conditions affect the whole family Dr. Kathy Tallering remembers the exact moment it began. The Chicago pediatrician was taking her then-four-year-old Portuguese water dog, Tucker, for a walk in their Lincoln Park neighborhood when “we got caught in one of those lovely Chicago flash thunderstorms.” Their misfortune didn’t seem particularly significant at the...

cats perched

Provide Resources for Cats: Pillar 2 of a Healthy Environment

Feb 6, 2018 / Behavior

Spread out Resources to Add Variety, Maintain Cats’ Relationships See Dr. Ballatyne’s overview of all five pillars. The second pillar of providing a healthy environment for your cat is: Provide your cat with the resources he needs and spread them out! Key resources for cats include food and water, litter boxes, scratching posts, and those...

[cat sitting in front of a hiding place]

Safe Spaces for Cats: Pillar 1 of a Healthy Environment

Dec 22, 2017 / Behavior

Safe Spaces Promote Physical and Behavioral Health In part one of this blog series, I reviewed guidelines from the American Association of Feline Practitioners and International Society of Feline Medicine on the five pillars of a healthy feline environment. As mentioned in that article, providing a cat with a comfortable environment is linked with better...

cat playing with toy

These 5 Pillars Ensure a Healthy Environment for Cats

Nov 28, 2017 / Behavior

Are you providing your cat with a healthy environment? Providing a cat with a comfortable environment is linked with better physical, emotional, and behavioral health. All cats have the same essential environmental needs. Unfortunately, many cats live in homes that are missing some key elements and this results in stress-related disorders as well as unwanted...

Laura Monaco Torelli

Teach Dogs to File Their Own Nails

Nov 10, 2017 / Behavior

Paw care doesn’t have to be a stressful event. Unfortunately for some, the very thought of trimming dog nails creates anxiety, and makes this important husbandry behavior last on our to-do list. So let’s arrange a few points of success that can help bring the fun back into nail trims! How? By pairing up with...

Feather Picking in Parrots

Aug 1, 2017 / Behavior

[Return to Veterinary Behavior at Illinois] FAQs What is it? Grooming, also known as preening, is a normal behavior of parrots and can occupy a good portion of a bird’s day. However, normal preening should not cause any damage to skin or the feathers. Preening that causes damage to the feathers and/or skin is indicative...

Laura Monaco Torelli

Trainer Demonstrates Low-Stress Ways to Introduce New Stimuli

May 4, 2017 / Behavior

First impressions do matter Don’t underestimate that anytime an animal meets a new person, that person becomes part of the animal’s training. When there is a lack of communication and appropriate foundation training, sudden exposure to stimuli—whether a stranger’s quick reach to the pet’s head or unfamiliar, unleashed dogs rushing into the pet’s space—can create...

dog treats above scale

How to Make Vet Visits Less Stressful

Jan 10, 2017 / Behavior

“Come on, you’re fine. Knock it off. Let’s go! SIT!” It’s hard to listen to, and even harder to observe: A puppy is dragged by the leash through the veterinary clinic door as his small paws try to put on the brakes. A dog is given a rough correction when she tries to hide behind...


Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in Senior Pets Similar to Alzheimer’s

Dec 5, 2016 / Behavior

This is Part 2 of Behavior Changes in Senior Pets. (Read Part 1: Is Your Pet Just ‘Getting Old’?) In Part 1, we reviewed how physical illness can be mistaken for a dog or cat simply “getting old.” Now, what if you take your dog or cat for an evaluation and everything checks out fine but your...