Posts Tagged ‘cat behavior’

Does your cat sit and stare at you sometimes? Maybe they are trying to telepathically tell you something of great importance about their health and well-being.

Person high-fiving a grey cat

According to feline health experts, here’s what they may be saying:

  1. The other cat is bullying me and I need my space.

Providing multiple, separate food dishes, feeding areas and litter boxes is one way to reduce aggressive cat-to-cat interactions. Every cat in the household (and you) benefits from separate eating and bathroom areas.

  1. Elevate me.

Cats love high perches so they can easily monitor the space around them. It makes them feel safe and gives them a sense of control over their domain. Build some vertical spaces in your home for your cat. Your cat will thank you!

  1. That lemon-scented plug-in is driving me crazy!

Cats have a keen sense of smell and what we think smells pleasing may be highly irritating to your cat. For example, cats don’t like citrus scents or strong household cleaners, like alcohol or bleach. However, cats do love their own scent and it’s why they rub up against us and the furniture. Do a scent inventory of your house and eliminate smells that may add stress to your cat’s life.

  1. Inside voices, please.

Cats have extraordinary hearing, an adaptation needed as a hunter. They can hear sounds we can’t hear, like the ultrasonic chitchat of mice and rats. So, it’s no wonder that loud sounds can be startling to them.

  1. I want a catio!

If possible, cats should have access to safe, outdoor spaces. Enclosed patios for cats keep them safe from predators, while giving them fresh air and a safe place for bird watching! If a catio is not in your cat’s future, provide them with a room with a view or, if you are adventurous and patient, try leash training them for a safe, outdoor field trip.

  1. Did you know I’m still a predator?

Cat brains are wired to hunt. To keep them from getting bored, provide them with toys that can be pounced on and thrown up in the air to simulate the chase. Also, find ways to play hide and seek with their food, including placing dry food in store-bought feeding balls that mimics hunting. An active cat is a happy cat.

  1. I need a time-out place.

Cats love to hide, especially when they feel threatened. It also gives them a safe and peaceful place to rest outside the hustle and bustle of their human housemates. Give them plenty of hiding options, including boxes, covered carriers or a favorite closet with lots of blankets.

  1. I’ll choose when I want to interact with you.

Always let a cat come to you and signal it wants attention. These signals can be as obvious as jumping in your lap, purring or rubbing up against you. Some cats also are just happy sitting next to you. Cats, just like people, need varying degrees of attention and they’ll let you know how much attention they need to be happy.

  1. I’ve got to scratch.

Most people think cats need to scratch to sharpen their claws. What they are really doing, beside some manicure maintenance, is marking their territory with scent glands in their paws. Provide your cat with scratching posts in areas where they can stretch out and scent away. Cats have different preferences for scratching surfaces so you may need to experiment to find the right fit.

  1. Don’t scold me if I have an accident.

Peeing and pooping outside the box can be a simple matter of the litter box being dirty or using a scented litter your cat didn’t like. But bathroom indiscretions also can indicate a health problem such as kidney disease, diabetes and even arthritis. If accidents become more frequent, it’s time for a cat checkup to make sure there is not an underlying health issue going on.

Providing a comfortable space for your cat, with the resources they need, can dramatically reduce your pet’s anxiety. A more relaxed cat translates into a healthier and well-behaved cat. So, listen to your cat whenever possible. They really are trying to tell you something.

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REFERENCES:

Funding a Pressing Need for Feline Behavior Research, Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, April 2020

AAFP and ISFM Feline Environmental Needs Guidelines, Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, February 2013


Photo credit: Snapwire via Pexels

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Weird Cat Behaviors Explained —
by Pets Best Pet Health Insurance

Cat inside a box

Posted on December 19, 2019 under Cat Articles

Cats are one of the most fascinating creatures on earth. They manage to simultaneously be one of the most efficient predators in the world, while also being our domesticated buddies that have evolved to enjoy human companionship. Cats haven’t changed much since befriending humans; however, there are plenty of examples of odd behavior that mesmerizes owners.

Let’s go over some of the most exciting cat behavior facts and look at some of the weird things cats do.

1) Rubbing Their Head on Things
One of the most common cat behaviors is when they rub their heads on various objects, other pets, or you. While it may seem like a strange behavior, it is actually quite understandable. Cats experience the world through scent, so when they rub against you, they are showing that they trust you and are claiming you as their own. In fact, you could even consider this headbutting and rubbing as a sort of greeting, so these types of odd behaviors can be explained quite easily.

2) Slow Blinking
Do you sometimes notice your cat slowly blinking while looking at you, as if it was sleepy? Well, many people may want to write this facial expression off to the fact that cats are weird, but really, it’s perfectly normal behavior. When cats blink slowly, they are showing you affection – they indicate that they trust you enough to close their eyes. If you slowly blink while looking back, they can also interpret this as a sign of affection, so it is a way for you to bond with your feline buddy.

3) Kneading
Cats are well-known masseuses. Their owners often find amusement in the fact that their cats like to use their little paws to massage them, but this strange behavior also has a very positive backstory. It can be traced back to the earliest instincts that a cat develops, which is to knead their mother’s mammary glands, stimulating milk production. When an adult cat kneads, it usually means that the cat is content, relaxed, and is also perceiving you as their “mommy”.

4) “Zooming” Around the House
When you’re trying to sleep, hearing your cat zooming through the halls and rooms at light speed can be quite annoying. While this unusual cat behavior may appear out of place, this cat behavior can be explained quite easily. You need to remember that your cat has a ton of energy that it doesn’t get to use up because it’s living in a comfortable home setting. Combine this with the fact that cats are nocturnal hunters and you can easily explain why your cat has the urge to sprint around the house, playing with its toys, other cats, or even your toes.

5) Chattering
Chattering is one of the weirdest cat behaviors, and the truth is, even scientists aren’t exactly sure how it evolved. According to some, it is a sign of frustration when the cat sees a prey in the distance and cannot reach it. Others think that it may be the cat trying to mimic the sounds of birds to attract them. Although the exact underlying reason isn’t clear, one thing is certain – chattering is one of the most bizarre and entertaining behaviors that you can see.

 6) Purring
 7) Laying Belly Up
 8) Sitting in Boxes
 9) Laying on Your Computer
10) Eating Grass

Click here to learn the secrets behind weird cat behaviors 6-10!

Kitten on its back


Photo credits
Top: Tomas Ryant
Bottom: Pixabay
Both via Pexels.com


Pets Best
Although cats can often become our closest companions, they are mysterious creatures whose behaviors can sometimes be hard to understand. In this article, we went through some of the more common feline behaviors, but you should monitor your cat and talk to a veterinary professional if you aren’t sure in any situation. At Pets Best, we offer comprehensive cat insurance that keeps your feline companion covered and protected. Get a quote online or call 1-877-738-7237 to learn more!

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Cats are notorious for hating water. Luckily, bathing a cat is rarely needed. But have you ever wondered why they hate water so much? There are probable behavioral and possibly biological reasons for this.

Hairless cat

Does your cat give you The Look when it’s bath time? Find out why!
[Photo by Natalia Semenkova via Pexels]

Some cats actually like the water!

Cats are funny creatures, some actually do like water! It is not uncommon for some owners to mention their cat’s affinity for it. Splashing and pawing at streams of water probably have more to do with the play on light and shininess of the water than anything else.
Some breeds of cats are actually known for enjoying swimming, such as the Turkish Van, which has been nicknamed “the swimming cat” for that reason.

Three reasons why most cats don’t like the water

1. Behaviorally cats are generally less tolerant of change and new experiences than, say, the dog. A cat that has never been exposed to water probably won’t like the feeling of having their body drenched in it. A cat that has regularly been exposed to water as kitten may be more accepting of it.
2. Cats are also very fastidious creatures. They spend a lot of time grooming themselves and likely aren’t big fans of having anything that doesn’t smell “normal” on their fur. In their eyes, you’re creating more work for them by bathing them.
3. There are likely biological reasons as well. Even though many cats love the taste of fish, they are not ocean or river dwelling creatures historically. The domesticated cats are descendants of felines that typically live in dry arid areas. They have never learned to swim because there was no evolutionary need for it. This behavior, or lack thereof, has stuck around in our modern day cats.

For these reasons, never force your cat to swim if they don’t like it.

Tips if you must bathe a cat

Bathing is rarely needed for cats either. If your cat does need to be bathed for medical reasons, or if they became overly dirty for some reason, there are some ways to make it a little less stressful.

  • Fill the tub first, the sound and splashing of running water will make things worse.
  • Line the tub with a folded towel (which will of course become wet) so they feel like they have something to grip onto. A slippery tub floor will also cause more stress for the cat.
  • Use a container to carefully pour water over, versus using a faucet.
  • Lastly, be really careful around the face and eyes!

By Dr. Fiona, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a U.S. dog and cat health insurance agency, since 2005.

Published on the Pets Best blog here.

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Last Thursday, we posted an article about aggression in cats, written by a Michigan veterinarian. The post focused on multi-cat households. In today’s post, the focus turns to understanding feline body language and how to respond to an agitated cat.

In the Summer 2017 issue of BluePearl’s Companion, Dr. Jill Sackman, DVM, DACVS, PhD, of BluePearl in Michigan writes,

How Can You Tell When Your Cat is Upset?
“Unfortunately, humans don’t do a great job reading feline body language in order to de-escalate a stressed or aggressive cat. Understanding feline body language can help with avoiding conflict, its escalation and aggression.
“Cats use a combination of visual, olfactory [sense of smell] and audible communication to communicate and to avoid confrontation. Threatening feline body postures include hissing, piloerection [fur standing on end], arching of the back and side presentation. Ear position is also a helpful stress barometer. Cats that are restricted in movement (i.e. cages, transport boxes) may choose to fight when unable to flee. The ability to get away, hide under something or jump up high can influence the expression of the aggressive responses.”

What To Do About An Aggressive Cat?
Try Understanding:
“The most frequent basis for aggression from cats to people revolves around fear, anxiety*, frustration and misdirected predatory behavior. Fearful cats learn that aggressive stances are effective at maintaining distance between them and people, and the behavior can evolve to a preemptive strategy.”

[*See more about anxiety in pets here.]

Try a Time-Out:
“Play-based aggression may arise from predatory play, which is an integral part of feline behavior and learning. Treatment is focused on finding outlets for play and directing the cat toward appropriate activities and toys. Playing with hands should be discouraged.
“Redirected aggression occurs when a cat faces an agitating circumstance and is unable to vent aggression. Stimuli include loud noises, odor of another cat, unfamiliar people or environments, and pain. Agitated cats† should be placed in a darkened room with food, water and litter box and left there with the door closed. If the aggression was directed at another unsuspecting feline, very SLOW reintroduction must be done.
“Punishment is contraindicated [i.e. not recommended] in all cases as this will lead to a worsening of the behavior.”

Dr. Miele notes that picking up or otherwise handling an angry cat can result in injury to the owner or handler. If you cannot safely remove the cat from the room, consider removing all people and other pets from the room, instead.

Dr. Sackman stresses that an aggressive cat should have a medical check-up to look for health problems that may lead to aggressive behavior. She also recommends evaluating the home environment to look for triggering circumstances that can be addressed appropriately.

Note: Your veterinarian is the best source of information on dealing with aggression in cats. An examination and testing may be necessary to discover underlying physical problems that may be at the root of feline aggression. To avoid injury to yourself or others in the household, talk to your pet’s veterinarian, or ask for a referral to an animal behavior specialist.* (*Not available in all areas.)

 

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Head-butting.

Hopping sideways.

Leaving a dead mouse on the doorstep.

     Let’s face it:  cats do some pretty weird things.  The question is:  Why?  Animal Planet has all the answers in their Top 10 Cat Quirks.  Check it out and learn the secret language of cats.

 

Reading List

Why Cats Do That:  A Collection of Curious Kitty Quirks

The Cat Bible:  Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know

The Cat Behavior Answer Book

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