Understanding Cat Behavior

January 8, 2010

Cats are known to be one of the best pets a person can have. Since we allow our pets to do pretty much what they want when they are with us, it is always advisable that we make ourselves familiar with their behavior. Cat behavior can be easily understood when we pay attention to it. When we talk of behavior we specifically pertain to domestic cats, their habits, movements and even language.

Most behaviors are shown in their reactions, especially when interacting with humans and fellow animals. Others are techniques required for hunting. Although the majority of cat behaviors are innate, they may vary somewhat depending on individuality and breed. Behaviors may also be influenced by the cat’s temperaments and dominance in a certain group (this is evident to those family who have two or more cats).

Let us look at cat behavior when it comes to body language. There are different meanings associated with certain body movements the cat makes. Through body movement, a cat can easily communicate with humans. When a cat tries to lift or constantly shake its paws, this may mean disgust. In addition, when a cat flattens its ears back while swiftly swishing its tail, he is usually displeased with something or someone. Affection of cats to its owner can be seen when a cat rubs the top of its head or its face against a person’s body. Cats can also slowly blink as a sign of affection. If a cat is stretched out and rolls back and forth, this usually denotes that the cat feels relaxed and safe around everyone in its vicinity.

When it comes to courting, cat behavior may be very unique. Once a male cat smells a female cat coming into season, or heat, he will look for ways to seek her out. Toms will wrestle with each other to decide who will mate first with the female. After the winning male mates with the female, it is the defeated male’s turn to mate with her. That is why a cat may bear many kittens from different fathers.

Cat behavior can easily be interpreted through vocal calls. Purring, a sound made by a minute vibration in their voice box may indicate pain, pleasure, or be an act of calming themselves down. A low meow or chirp may signify that a cat is vocalizing. A solid sigh or blow out grunt or snort may indicate frustration.

Cats have the ability to land on their feet with little, or sometimes no injury. This ability is known as the righting reflex. They are able to do this because first, they do not have a collar bone and second, they have a very flexible spine. They use this skill to have a great view of the way they choose to go. They can also stretch out and make their muscles relax.

The more we get ourselves familiarized with cats and their behaviors, the more we can find comfort in living with them.

Kelly is a cat enthusiast. She owns and maintains Purrfectly Trained Cat, a resource for cat lovers.

cat behavior meaning | my kitten keeps biting me


Six Basic Steps to Eliminate Cat Behavioral Problems

January 8, 2010

Do you sometimes feel that your cat has become mean spirited and not the sweet loving kitten that he use to be? Sometimes when kittens get grown, they can be ill tempered and mean at their worst. But for even the most annoying cat behavioral problems, there is usually still a remedy for this behavior.

Below are six of the most common behavioral problems found in cats and some of the solutions that I would like to share with you that seem to work the best for my pets.

1. Clawing your furnishings and carpet. It is only natural that cats need to sharpen their claws. Their claws never stop growing, and what they’re actually doing when they sharpen their claws is removing the outer layer of the claw. In most cases, I have found that people will simply declaw a cat that is having this type problem. Personally, I do not advocate this at all. In my opinion, there is always that chance that even an indoor cat could someday wind up outside by accident. And in that case if you do remove your cat’s claws, then you are possibly taking away his or her primary form of defense.

Maybe before declawing your cat, why not try getting a scratching post instead. If you can’t get your cat to use the scratching post, then one solution that I have found is to try hanging a dirty sock on the post. Use a dirty sock that belongs to someone in the family that your cat is the fondest of so that it will smell familiar to your pet (you can take it off after about a day). You can also sprinkle catnip over the scratching post or – this is weird but it works – powdered chicken bouillon. The idea is to get the cat to feel friendly enough to the scratching post to attack it.

Then meanwhile, make your cat’s favorite scratching areas less attractive. For example, sprinkle fresh lemon juice over those areas. Or you could wrap them or cover them with aluminum foil (fingernails on the chalkboard, anyone?). Do anything that will clean that area as well as to eradicate any cat odor. If possible, another option would be to close the doors to that area so that those places are inaccessible to the cat.

2. Eliminating outside the litter box. Could this be your fault or the cat’s fault? I have found that many cats won’t use a litter box that is too dirty. If you think this could be the problem, then start changing out the litter box about twice as often as you currently do. You can also be prompt about cleaning any places the cat goes, spraying these areas down well with Lysol or a similar disinfectant with a nice strong smell. You can also try putting the litter box in a more attractive place to the cat; the bathroom, for instance. If it’s not in too obnoxious of a place, you can put the litter box on top of the place your cat has chosen to go, too, just to make the point. As last resorts, put down bleach, safely, in those spots, and cover the area with aluminum foil.

3. Clawing people. I have found that cats generally do this because for some reason they are afraid. If that is the case, then you should take in to consideration if this is the fault of the cat or of the people around him. For instances if you have a cat that is generically afraid of children, then maybe try exposing the cat to young children until he’s calmer about it. Don’t let the child loose around the cat. Either have the child sit down in your lap or next to you, while feeding Kitty treats.

Not all cats are afraid. In some cases, they are just plain mean to certain people. The only thing you can do about this is to remove the cat from the situation. When the cat starts clawing or growling, pick her up and take her to the bathroom until your guest is gone. In most cases, it is usually a guest that this happens to, often one who owns pets. If it’s a family member, try cat repellant or lemon juice to keep the cat away, then acclimatization to get them used to the other person. If all this fails, you may be forced with no other choice but to have the cat declawed.

4. Caterwauling. Siamese cats do this by nature, and you may not be able to get them to stop. But other cats do it because they are hungry, tired, sick, or to let you know she has done something good. There aren’t many things that you can do about this, unfortunately. If you think it’s a hunger thing, then feed her more promptly, and refuse to feed her when she caterwauls. Of course, your cat won’t understand what you’re doing, but she’ll almost certainly quit after she figures out it does her no good. If she caterwauls because she is in heat, you should get her fixed. For other caterwauling problems, try to ignore her, and keep her as far away from yourself as possible.

5. Spraying. Normally, male cats do this to mark a territory, and they usually do it when they feel threatened. In most cases, it is done whenever dogs or small children threaten them, or when other male cats are around. There is little you can do about this beyond having your cat neutered. Please don’t punish your cat for doing this because the cat will not understand at all.

6. Running outside. Indoor cats tend to get very curious about the outside world. The first thing you should do is to be more careful and not to have the door open allowing your cat to run out. But you can also try to get the cat accustomed to the outdoors by getting a cat leash and walking her, or by carrying her in your arms when you do go outside. Once your cat knows what is out there, then more than likely she will be less curious and not so anxious the next time to get outside. And this is particularly true if you should ever expose your cat sometime to snow or wet conditions.

Geri Stogsdill is a freelance writer specializing in healthy lifestyle information. For more cat health care advice and cat behavioral tips, visit us at [http://www.catplaytime.com/cathealthblog]

cat behavior meaning | my kitten keeps biting me

Behavior Training for your stubborn Cat

January 8, 2010

Learning cat behaviors before you start training them would be an good idea for anyone that is going to train a cat’s behavior.

A cat can jump and land on its feet as this is a natural instinct for a cat. When a kitten is born the cushion in its paws are not developed with the cushion to land on its feet. It takes about 7 weeks to develop the cushion in a kittens paw for landing. A cats bone structure is unique to other animals as the bones are flexible, cats have no collar bone, which enables them to twist and bend their bones. A cat can jump a great distance without sustaining any injuries.

With this behavior, you will want to teach the cat to jump hoops, sticks, or off the scratching tree. Letting a cat jump from extreme heights will cause injury to the cat.

Cats have a unique hearing ability; they are able to hear high tones and pitches, like opening a door or a can of food. Cats also have unique smelling abilities. The reason a cat will scratch or urinate on the floor , rub its self up against a door or furniture, is the cat is leaving their scent in those areas so they will be able to come back and know they were there, in other words marking its territory. In addition, if another cat or animal comes along in the area a cat will know this. Cats can also smell with their mouths. There is a gland called Jacobson’s organ, it is a sac in the cats upper mouth filled with blood, as the cat smells the scent and the slightly opens their mouth and upper lip, this allows the scent to be carried in and to the sac, which it will carry the scent goes to the cat brain. This mostly happen to male cats when a female has urinated.

Knowing these natural instincts and behaviors can give you some insight training your cat. With behavior training you will want to make sure that you allow your cat the ability in some way to play out its natural instincts and behaviors.

When training a cat for behaviors there are some things you need to take into consideration. Aggression, especially in older cats, can be caused from illness or other cats in the home. You may want to contact your vet to have your cat checked out to see if it’s alright at this time to train a cat.

Depression and anxiety can play another part in trying to train your cat. If a cat is separated by a recent owner the cat can become depressed. Stress is not uncommon for a cat. If you think that your cat has depression or high anxiety, this would be a good time to take him to the vet. Vets can talk to you about some of the things that may be causing this. There are also medications that a vet can prescribe for the cat to help with depression and anxiety.

Never hit a cat for punishment, he will learn to fear you, and fearing will be a behavior you will not be able to control or retrain. When they do something that is not right, ignore the problem unless you catch them in the act, you can associate a noise with that behavior you don’t like, or in a stern voice tell them “NO”.

If a behavior is becoming impossible, you may have to resort to the baby proof home, all containers that have food in them have a lid on it. Make sure that the counters are clean and have nothing that a cat would want to play with.

You will want to start training your cat or kitten almost immediately after you get them. This will stop many unwanted behaviors and hopefully not let any new bad behaviors to start.

Healthy cats need healthy relationships with their owners. Good Luck!

cat behavior meaning | my kitten keeps biting me