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=1142Reference 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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