Insight Into Five Cat Behavior Issues in Honor of National Cat Day
By Arden Moore – The Pet Health and Safety Coach™
Face the feline facts. Cats can be fussy, fascinating, frustrating, funny, and even a bit freaky. It is easy to be puzzled or perplexed as to why cats do what they do. However, do not expect them to apologize or grovel. Cats leave those actions to gotta-please dogs. That’s why I wrote the original The Cat Behavior Answer Book way back in 2007. Much has happened in the cat world since then. That was the motivation behind my writing the 2nd edition and adding nearly 80 percent new content which was just released by my publisher, Storey Books. In fact, a major feline revolution is underway that cannot be ignored – nor should it. More cats live in households than dogs. More people are willing to admit to being “cat daddies” or “cat moms.” It’s cool to love and live with cats.
In celebration of National Cat Day, the release of The Cat Behavior Answer Book, and the launch of the new ZYMOX products for Cats and Kittens, Pet King Brands asked me to share some excerpts of my book in this blog post. My 224-paged behavior book is in a question-and-format. I am happy to unleash some excerpts below:
Where’d You Go, Kitty?
When I get ready to leave the house, I always call out to my cat, Clara, to make sure I know where she is. She usually doesn’t respond and often, I find her in a new hiding place. Why is she ignoring me?
Clara is choosing to ignore you because she is comfortably settled in a cozy spot. Don’t take it personally: she is being, well, a cat. My advice is to pay attention to all of Clara’s napping spots in your house. Search those spots first. Cats like to head to safe spots for their many mini naps during the day and prefer tucked-away places. Then check spots that might offer some new appeal, like a basket of clean laundry waiting to be put away, or an open drawer or cabinet door. If you still can’t find her, tempt her appetite by shaking a jar of her favorite treats to flush her out of her hiding spot. I applaud you for getting into the habit of always knowing where your cat is inside your home before you leave.
Why the Need to Knead?
Whenever I sit down, my cat will climb in my lap, circle, plop down and start to push her paws up and down my legs. Why does she do this?
The feline ritual of rhythmically pumping their paws up and down begins at birth. Newborns push their paws around their mother’s nipples while they suckle to hasten the flow of milk. As adults, “making biscuits” brings them a sense of comfort. It is a way for cats to convey joy and delight at having you in their lives. Some cats can go overboard and use their claws and even drool while kneading. If your cat is turning you into a pin cushion, start regularly clipping her nails. Also, stop this behavior from becoming an unpleasant habit by simply standing up and walking away. After being ousted from your cozy lap a few times, your cat is apt to tone down her need to knead.
Why Is My Cat Doing the Halloween Pose?
Occasionally, my young cat will arch his back, puff out his hair and bounce around the room with stiff legs. He looks ridiculous. Why does he do that?
Faced with a fight-or-flight predicament, a cat needs to deal with what he perceives to be a fearful situation. Inside your frightened cat biochemicals are at work. Adrenaline starts coursing through his body. Special muscles also activate, causing his fur to stand up and his tail hair to puff out. This is called piloerection. In addition, he may arch his back, flatten his ears and spit or hiss loudly. Combined, these physical and vocal actions make the cat look like a poster image for scary Halloween movies. This is a classic feline bluff posture. It may look comical to us, but this pose is an instinctive reaction to a real or perceived threat. If the posture doesn’t work, the cat faces the choice of fleeing or fighting the danger.
My Cat Has a Sinking Habit
When I enter any of our bathrooms, my cat, Wanda will suddenly appear and plop in the sink, preventing me from washing my hands. Why is she so obsessed with me in the bathroom?
In her own quirky way, Wanda is displaying her affection and trust for you. She isn’t being rude. She sees this as an excellent opportunity to spend one-on-one time with you. Cats are drawn to bathroom sinks because they are elevated off the floor – making them safe spots – and the smooth surface feels cool against a cat’s coat. Plus, most bathroom sinks are just the right size for a cat to happily curl up in to take a catnap. Just move Wanda gently aside to wash your hands by offering her a treat on the counter. I call that a win-win.
Decoding Weird Litter Box Actions
Why do some cats fail to cover their poop deposits in the litter box? I faithfully scoop out the deposits in the litter boxes daily for my three cats.
Let’s address these baffling deposit habits. Some cats choose to poop in one litter box and urinate in a second one. The reason remains a feline mystery but be grateful your cat is using the litter boxes and not your floor. Cats who do their deeds and walk out without covering their poop do so on purpose. It tends to be a habit of confident cats to communicate with other cats in the home. Uncovered poop emits a strong scent as a signal to other cats that this cat feels he is the boss of the house. It’s like potty graffiti to declare, “A cool cat was here.”
The Cat-Crinkle Connection
My cat loves crinkly sounds and will run after a paper ball I toss down the hallway and if I rattle a paper grocery bag, she will jump inside it. What’s the big attraction of crinkly-sounding objects for cats?
The crinkling sounds of these inanimate objects mimic the high-pitched chatter of birds, crickets, mice, and rats, thereby triggering a cat’s predatory response. Your cat’s imagination is fully engaged as she pretends these items are the real deal. You are giving her the chance to hone her hunting skills and show off a bit in front of you. Some cats show intense interest in shiny objects. Oddly, specific breeds, including the Manx, Japanese Bobtail, and Munchkin, tend to collect and hoard glittery objects, such as jewelry and silver coins. They will stash them in strange places, such as inside a shoe or underneath a recliner.
Check Out These New Cat Products
ZYMOX®, the sponsor of this blog, just ushered in three new feline products that earn veterinarian approval and are endorsed by TICA, The International Cat Association to manage ear infections, keep ears clean and healthy, and a product for hot spots, wounds, skin infections, ringworm, and cat acne. These new products utilize a patented combination of enzymes and work without antibiotics or harsh ingredients. You can find them in the cat health section of select retailers and online.