Author Topic: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....  (Read 6827 times)

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Re: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2008, 23:15:16 PM »
BITING 

Young kittens between the ages of 3 weeks old and 8 months old will be teething off and on, and will have very strong needs to bite. Just like baby children, kittens are born without teeth, start getting their first baby teeth at about 3-4 weeks old, then they will lose their baby teeth and have their adult teeth come in up until the age of about 8 months old. So the trick here is not to keep them from biting; but rather, to provide them appropriate items to bite. We use heavy-duty plastic drinking straws with our kittens (being careful to cut off any bitten ends and discard the entire straw before it becomes dangerous, as with any toy), and train them from the start that toys and straws are purr-rectly fine to bite, but human body parts are off-limits! If a kitten learns this from the start, there is hardly ever an inappropriate biting behavior as an adult. Some cats start biting out of frustration after they have been de-clawed. Some cats start biting out of misplaced aggression, which usually can be countered by providing the cat a feline playmate, and/or providing them more cat toys, cat furniture, and making their environment more stimulating for them. For a cat with a serious biting problem, often the quickest way to teach them not to bite you is to immediately blow on his face, as soon as you realize he is biting or is about to bite you. Saying "NO!" firmly at the same time reinforces this training. At all times, it is critical that you be thinking and acting on the firm belief that "toys and straws are for biting; human hands are for giving and receiving love".
« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 15:02:18 PM by Tan »

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Re: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2008, 23:14:44 PM »
SLOWLY BLINKING HIS EYES AT YOU 

This is a fun feline behavior to observe as it usually signals that your cat is very content and serene at that moment. I will often sit quietly and slowly blink my eyes back at my cat, and quite often, this will be just the final sweet comfort that will make them close their eyes completely, secure that they are loved back, for a luxurious cat-nap.

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Re: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2008, 23:14:14 PM »
CONSTANTLY MAKING NOISE OR MEOWING
 
Some cats, of course, are definitely "talkers" and are very vocal all the time! However, if your cat has been checked out by your vet and there are no medical problems, and he is really trying to get your attention with his constant meowing, it's time to start paying close attention and try to figure out what it is your cat is trying to tell you! He is possibly hungry; possibly lonely; his litter box is possibly not clean enough for his liking; there may be changes in your home or personal routine that are upsetting to him. Remember - your cat has feelings too, and you should try to look at things from HIS point of view - not yours.

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Re: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2008, 23:13:03 PM »
BURYING OUTSIDE HIS LITTER BOX 

If your cat is scratching around the floor or area around the OUTSIDE of his litter box, especially if this is right after he has used the litter box, he is most likely trying to tell you that something is not right to him about his litter box; either he is displeased with the feel of the litter; the smell of the litter; the type of box; the location of the box; or something to that affect. The only way he can think of to demonstrate this to you is for him to try to "bury" the area outside of his box. If all was well to him with his litter and litter box arrangement, he would jump in to his box, do his business, bury his urine or feces, then jump out and go back to what he was doing.

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Re: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008, 23:11:55 PM »
ATTACKING YOUR ANKLES AS YOU WALK BY 

This behavior usually signifies a kitten or cat who is bored! Cats need to play and to practice their hunting techniques. An indoor cat (especially an active breed like a Bengal, Ocicat or an Abyssinian), without adequate toys, cat furniture and other objects and situations to stimulate him, may well feel that his only chance to practice these skills is on you. They may start making up elaborate prey games whereby they hide behind furniture or out of your sight, and wait for you to walk down a hall, or in to their "lair" where they can ambush you. It is important for you to realize that your cat is not trying to hurt you, and is probably unaware that he may be hurting you. A cat doing this behavior needs more scratching and climbing toys and furniture around, and also may benefit from stuffed animals to drag around, animal-style cat beds which can give them the illusion of company and the security of "mom" or a sibling. A cat that continues with this behavior may well benefit from having another feline friend, who will be able to wrestle and play with him, and help burn off some of that energy he feels. Most often, the cats who exhibit this behavior are males, and there may be some sexual impulses involved, even if the male is neutered. A possible way to avoid this behavior turning in to a bad habit (and your legs and ankles turning in to a war zone) would be to have one of your cat's favorite rubber balls or mouse toys in your hand, and before reaching the spot where your cat usually ambushes you, try throwing the toy down the hall or in another direction. The idea is to recognize that your cat wants to engage you in a play game ritual, but to make the ritual more fun and safe for you.

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Re: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2008, 23:11:00 PM »
TRYING TO BURY HIS FOOD BOWL 

Sometimes after eating, or simply when you put down a bowl of wet food, your cat may try to let you know that the food is not to his liking by trying to "bury" the entire bowl! This behavior can also occur when the cat is displeased with the location of his food bowl, the food itself, or possibly when he is not very hungry, and is trying to "bury" his food (which he is then thinking of as "prey") for him to have later on, when he is perhaps more ready to eat.

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Re: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2008, 23:10:08 PM »
DECIDING TO PLAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT 

Maybe your cat's been listening to too many country-western tunes on the radio about "the night time being the right time"! It can certainly be annoying when your cat behaves this way. But actually, the night time is the prime hunting time for cats in the wild, and his instincts may be telling him to be active at night. Galloping over furniture and knocking over everything in his path may be his way of looking for "prey"! Another key reason for cats behaving this way is when their human families are away all day, it only makes sense that the cat may choose the day time to sleep and snooze, so it can be awake and active when his human family is home. Young kittens and cats especially can be very active at night. Try making efforts to spend time with your cat before and after work, and any time you can during the day, and make a special ritual before bed of wearing him out with interactive toys such as wand toys, feather toys, Whirly Birds, etc., so that he gets to spend time with you, yet gets tired out just before you go to bed. If you have a single cat who insists on behaving this way, you might want to consider getting him a feline companion so that he would not be bored during the day, and could work off some of that energy during the day instead of saving it all up for the night.

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Re: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2008, 23:09:20 PM »
  LICKING OR CHEWING PHOTOGRAPHS/PLASTIC BAGS 

This is a more difficult behavior to explain, and some cats are more prone to it than others. Most feline behaviorists have come to believe that some cats find a slight odor to the plastic and/or film surfaces simply irresistible, and also that the coolness and texture of the plastic and/or film must feel and taste good on the cat's tongue. It may also be another form of trying to "nurse" - sort of a feline "oral compulsive" behavior.

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Re: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2008, 23:07:30 PM »
SUDDEN HISSING WHILE BEING PETTED

Sometimes, your cat may give you a hiss, or even try to scratch or bite you seemingly without warning right in the middle of what you thought was a pleasant petting or stroking session with him. It doesn't mean that your cat no longer likes you! This behavior most likely is just the only way he knows to signal to you that he has had enough of the petting and stroking - perhaps it has gone on longer than what he enjoys. Chances are, if you think about it, perhaps you had actually continued the session longer than usual, or started thinking about something else while petting him, not realizing that your cat was getting uncomfortable and that so much time had passed.

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Re: Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2008, 23:06:19 PM »
DUNKING FAVORITE TOYS IN FOOD OR WATER BOWL

Has your cat ever dropped his favorite catnip mouse or rubber fetching ball in his water bowl? Or, have you gone to re-fill his food bowl, only to find a special toy of his right in the middle? It just might be that your cat is trying to find a "safe" place for his favorite things. It often happens that the toy that ends up in the water or food bowl is often a toy that has recently been enjoyed by your cat, or even by your cat with you. In the wild, cats often take their prey back to their "nest" area, and hide it from predators. Indoor cats don't really have a "nest" per se, so they often consider their food and water dishes as the "safest" areas within their "territory".
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 23:08:39 PM by Tan »

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Instinct & Normal Behavior - Why do Cats.....
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2007, 15:39:45 PM »
Have you ever wondered why cats sulk, do they dream, why and how do they purr, why they knead, why they bury their waste products, why do they hiss and spit, are they smart?
Here you will find answers to many cat behaviors and characteristics which are human curiosities, but the norm to cats

Cats Landing on Their Feet - http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1313&articleid=1106

Grooming in Hot Weather - http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1313&articleid=1143

Hearing in Cats - http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1313&articleid=1130

Why Do Cats Like High Places? - http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1313&articleid=1125

How the Sense of Smell Influences Behavior - http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1313&articleid=167

Purring - http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1313&articleid=1151

Rubbing Against Legs & Furniture - http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1313&articleid=1132

Seeing in the Dark - http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1313&articleid=1116

How Much Do Cats Normally Sleep? - http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1313&articleid=1133

Smelling with an Open Mouth - http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1313&articleid=1142


Reference Resources for the following:  Cat World by Desmond Morris

Why do cats sulk?
Humans are huge to a cat. When you scold him, you are intimidating him. And when you look down upon a cat to discipline him, he associates your fixed gaze with a rival. The eyes of many animals are a signal of power. In comparison to a cat's size, his eyes are enormous. In hostile situations, a dominant cat will stare at his rival, who will look away rather than increase the hostility. So when your cat turns away after disciplining, he isn't ignoring you; he's surrendering.


Why do cats go to the one person in the room who doesn't like cats?
When a cat enters a room full of people who are staring at him, he becomes very uncomfortable. Then he notices that one person is totally ignoring him - the person who dislikes cats for whatever reason. The cat goes to that person to seek a safe haven from those who are fawning over him or intimidating him.


Do cats dream?
As do humans, cats alternate phases of deep and light sleep. Dreaming occurs during the deep sleep phase. During a cat's deep-sleep phase the give-away is movement of his paws and claws, twitching of his whiskers, and flicking his ears. Sometimes he vocalizes.


What else does a cat's tail tell?
When the tail is bent forward over the head, it means the cat is feeling like top cat. When it's waved quietly side to side like a lady's fan, the cat is contented. Several quick flicks upward is a greeting to both humans and other cats.


What does it mean when a cat lashes his tail from side to side?
The tail waving quietly from side to side means contentment. If the cat is sitting quietly with his tail gently wagging back and forth, he's concentrating intently on something. Vigorous lashing back and forth is of anger. It signals annoyance and a good sign that the cat is upset. Tail wagging somewhere in between heavy duty and half-hearted can mean that he is indecisive.


What does the different ear postitions mean?
There are five basic ear signals, revealing if the cat is feeling relaxed, alert, agitated, defensive or aggressive. When the ears are pointed forward and slightly outward, the cat is relaxed and carefully listening to everything that is going on. When erect and facing forward, the cat is alert and ready to investigate any noise that has been heard. When they twitch nervously back and forth, the cat is agitated or anxious. The ear twitching may be accompanied by two quick flicks of the tongue around the lips. When the ears are flattened tightly against the head, the cat is signaling annoyance and is feeling defensive. A cat will pin the ears back to protect them during a fight. When feeling aggressive but not frightened, a cat's ears will be in a position somewhere between alert and defensive.


Why do cats suddenly take off at 90 miles an hour?
This behavior is due to pent-up energy that suddenly overflows. Cats are nocturnal beings and natural hunters. Even in an environment where there's nothing to hunt, or the cat no longer needs to hunt, he will feel the need to hunt anyway. At full hilt, a cat clocks an amazing 31 mph and covers about three times his own length per leap.


What does it mean when a cat does that unusual little hop?
When a cat zips over to you, bumps against your leg, quickly lifts both front paws off the ground together and puts them down again in a little hoplike manner, it's generally reserved just for humans. It's a throwback to the head-to-head greeting behavior he learned from his mother. She would lower her head to make face-to-face contact and rub noses with him in order to mingle scents. Since humans are so tall, and a cat is so short, this is his welcoming greeting.


Why do cats roll over and expose their stomachs?
A rare form of greeting, the ulimate compliment that a cat can pay to a human. This body language shows how much he cares for you and how comfortable he is around you. Totally exposing the stomach reveals how secure he feels, because the stomach area is the must vulerable body part of the cat. He can be asking for a caress, inviting you to play with him, or may want the stomach area stroked. If he sleeps on his back this way, his trust in you is in the stratosphere.


Why won't cats come when called by their name?
More than likely, your cat won't answer your call because he is napping or something of much more interest is holding his attention, meaning that he doesn't see any reason to stop what he is doing.


Why do cats knead?
That loud purring followed by the sharpening of claws on some soft spot of your body is called "milk-treading." When you relax and sit quietly, you're giving your cat the same signal he got from his mother when he was a kitten - that his mother was ready to let him suckle. A nursing kitten instinctively uses his paws to draw out the milk, gently pushing on his mother's stomach to increase the milk flow. When older cats behave this way, it's a good sign that they're happy, content, and probably recalling their kittenhood.


Why do cats get stuck in trees?
Their claws are constructed for climbing up. When they attempt to climb down headfirst (and normally this is what they will try to do first), it's impossible for them because the claws are curved the wrong way. Eventually, a cat will figure out how to go down the correct way - shimmying down backward so that the claws will cling to the bark of the tree.


Why do cats cover their feces?
Many people believe they bury their waste products because they are fastidious. That isn't necessarily so. In the wild, only secondary cats bury their waste to protect their trail from predators. The dominant feline will actually display his or her feces prominently. This sends a strong message of dominance. In the world of house cats, you are the dominant animal and the house cat chooses not to offend you. They will carefully bury their feces to eliminate interfering with what they perceive as the natural order.


Do cats have a memory?
Cats have a memory that can be up to 200 times more retentive than dogs. The individual feline uses his memory only for what he regards as useful functions; therefore, a cat's memory is quite selective.


Why do cats chatter when seeing a bird?
The odd behavior that resembles teeth-chattering is usually produced when a cat sees something he wants but can't get to it. Though his mouth is slightly open (the lips pulled back and the jaw opening and closing rapidly), it's not a form of communication. The noise made is a combination of lip-smacking and teeth-chattering as he gets more excited. He is acting out the killing bite.


Why do cats hiss and spit when attacked or threatened?
Believe it or not, they are imitating snakes. The sound of the cat's hiss is almost the same sound as a snake's hiss - and the snake is one of the most feared creatures in the animal world. Hissing is pretty common in all land animals. When a cat hisses, he opens his mouth halfway, drawing back the upper lip and wrinkling the face. As he does this, he expels his breath so hard that, if you were close enough, you could feel the jet of air. The moisture he releases with this gusty breath is what's called spitting. It almost always succeeds in repulsing an enemy.


Why do cats want out when in...and in when out?
Cats have a very powerful need to check out their territory from time to time. The reason that their checking is so rhythmic is because of the built-in time clock of their scent marks. When outside, cats rubs a territory marker or sprays urine on it to keep their rivals away. The staying power of the scent becomes weaker with time and eventually disappears. This means that they will need another visit outside to do it all over again.


Why do cats feel compelled to bring dead prey into the house?
Returning with the spoils of the hunt is their way of proudly bringing back a gift to their guardian. Normally, cats see us as a parent figure, but when they present gifts of prey, they see us as their kittens. Accept the gift graciously and properly dispose of it. Big cats in the wild present prey to others in their den as a social gesture. It is also brining the prey back to know teritory therefore making it easier for recapture if the prey gets loose.


What do your cat's eyes reveal about his moods?
The pupils of a hungry cat's eyes will dilate up to five times their normal size when he spies his food bowl, even if it's empty. They'll also appear as big black pools when frightened or threatened. Half closed eyelids say that he's totally relaxed; when fully closed, he's very satisfied or asleep. He will shut his eyes for protection against a dominant rival. When forced into submission, he shuts out the image of his tormentor. The victor perceives this as defeat and usually walks away.


Why are cats so hard to train?
Actually, cats aren't that tough to train; they just refuse to perform for a pat on the head. They're indifferent to the process and learn tricks only because they want to. Because they're not renowned for their obedience, we think they're defiant. However, if there's something in it for them, they are quick to learn. Cats learn by association. You can't bribe them with sweets because their taste buds don't have any sweet receptors (as meat eaters they don't need them). They can't tell the difference between a sugar solution and plain water. As with all animals, coaxing them includes much love, patience, consistency, authority, repetition, and reward ... but never punishment. Dogs are trainable because they are born to follow leaders; cats, on the other hand, take care of themselves.

Are cats smart?
In the animal kingdom, the cat's IQ is surpassed only by monkeys and chimps. Cats think and adapt to changing circumstances and learn by observation, imitation, and trial and error. Interestingly, cats seem to learn more quickly from their own mothers than from examples set by unrelated cats, but imitate humans. They have been shown to exhibit greater problem solving abilities than dogs. Tests conducted by the University of Michigan and the Department of Animal Behavior at the American Museum of Natural History have concluded that while canine memory lasts no more than 5 minutes, a cat's recall can last as long as 16 hours, exceeding even that of monkeys and orangutans.

Do cats see in color?
It was once believed that cats are colorblind, but now it is known that they can actually tell the difference between certain colors. Basically, they see the world in shades of blue and green. Though they see color, cats don't pay much attention to it. In nature, color isn't particularly necessary for a cat's survival success.


Why do all tabbies have an "M" on their foreheads?
Since most of the world's cats are tabbies, the distinctive M is a genetic feature passed on from generation to generation. This feature is part of the fur pattern. An Italian legend tells the story of a young cat being in the stable in Bethlehem during the Christ Child's birth. As the Child lay crying in the manger, none of the animals present could soothe Him to sleep. When the tabby jumped into the manger, snuggled close, and began to purr, the Infant Child responded as if to a lullaby and soon drifted off to sleep. Mary gave the tabby a gentle pet on the forehead. Where her fingers had touched, the little tabby was marked with an M as a symbol of the Madonna's eternal gratitude.


Why do cats flick their ears when they're asleep?
The cat's remarkable ears each have 30 muscles that control the outer ear (our ears only have 6 muscles). These muscles rotate 180° so that they can hear without moving their head. Even though they may appear to be sleeping quite often, most of the time they are only dozing, constantly searching the air for sound.


Why do cats have three eyelids?
The third eyelid is actually a tiny triangle of pinkish or whitish tissue that is sometimes visible in the corner of the cat's eyes. It's called the haw, or nictating membrane. Humans have something like it - the small pink bump at the inner corner of the eyes. In the cat, the haw rises automatically and then moves sideways across the eye to protect or lubricate its sensitive surface. If the cat is ill, undernourished, or on the verge of catching a disease, the presence of the haw is a good indicator that the cat's health isn't up to par. The spontaneous movement occurs because pads of fat behind the eyeballs, which act as shock absorbers, start to shrink when the cat is in poor health. This is usually a signal to immediately take your cat to the vet.


Why do cats shed their claws?
Cats are the only animals who walk directly on their claws, not on their paws. It would be like humans walking on the tips of their fingers. Getting around on tiptoe, called digitigrade, is a particularly useful feature when it comes to moving at high speeds. Being the great hunter that they are, they need to keep this skill very sharp. Contrary to popular belief, manicuring their nails on your furniture is not out of malice or sharpening the claws. Cats are tearing off the ragged edges of the sheaths of their talons when scratching. All year long, they shed their claws to expose new sharp ones beneath. Claws aren't just for protection. They are responsible for the cat's exquisite balance and amazing feats such as climbing, stretching, running, and grooming. Declawing not only physically afflicts a cat, but he is also psychologically anguished, deprived of his only defense and one of his most versatile tools for survival.


Why does catnip made cats act crazy?
Their wacky, daydreamy state is actually a response to the herb's powerful natural chemical, trans-nepetalactone. It's almost identical to the essence excreted by female cats, which is why tom cats seem to love catnip the most. However, this doesn't explain why females love it as well. Catnip was once thought to be an aphrodisiac, but scientistic tests have squelched that theory. Cats aren't attacted to it until they are at least two months old. If introduced to catnip prior to this age, most cats will not respond to it at all when they are older. The herb valerian will give cats the same sense of ecstasy as catnip. Valerian is a mild stimulant and, though it doesn't do any harm, it shouldn't be offered to cats with kidney ailments. By the way, both catnip and valerian produce ecstasy through the odor, not the taste.
















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« Last Edit: June 01, 2007, 20:19:11 PM by Tan »

 


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