Fantastic Feline Behavior

Nancy AustinStarred Page By Nancy Austin, 23rd Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/388i65v6/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Rural Living

Let's explore some of the interesting and often bizarre behaviors typical of the domestic cat. Fantastic felines have minds of their own and this is how we learn a lot about them. Come along with me as I introduce you to my den full of cats.

Introduction To My Fantastic Felines

The common house cat is agile, brave and wise beyond his whiskers. If you live with a cat you will learn something about yourself every day. Are you tolerant? Cats require an open mind as they tend to bend the rules just a bit. You already know this to be true if you've ever caught your cat using your drapes as a trapeze. Cabinets turn into mountains for climbing. The kitchen sink becomes a drinking fountain. As for your bed it isn't yours anymore. Welcome to the world of cats.

Cats And The Pack Mentality


Rumor has it cats are more independent than dogs. Although this may be true, don't be fooled into thinking they need less attention than pets of the canine variety. Cats surely act as though they own the castle and you can expect the same as with any hierarchy. Being at the top equates the need to be pampered.

If you have several cats your lap will probably never be empty. This is usually true for single cat households as well at least part of the time. Your cat thinks you're a chair. Maybe, you're simply in their favorite spot; it's really up to interpretation. One thing we do know concerns their pack mentality. Especially in homes where several cats reside, it's not unusual to find they tend to congregate to the den or family room where everyone is getting together to interact socially. Hold on a minute, aren't they loners? It might seem this way considering they run off any felines they don't know very well. In the wild they stick with their family also known as a pride. At home you could be living in a lion's den so to speak and not know it. All kidding aside, to your cat this is exactly what is going on.

Of course, they hate it when social time is at a stand still. Have you ever noticed when you leave the room, your cat follows? They can get a little demanding when you close the door. They don't have posable thumbs so exits and entryways are of no use to them. When they were kittens our cats were able to crawl underneath the door. All was fine and dandy until they started growing bigger and getting stuck. It's not funny when your fur baby is distressed. We used to place a blanket or pillow in the way to keep them from getting hurt. Once they were completely grown this wasn't a problem anymore.

Have you ever heard the term, put a sock in it ? When your cat beats on the door begging to be let in and you're trying to sleep put a sock in the door. They will put their whole body into it and you will not be able to rest until you literally put a sock in it. This stops all the shaking and rattling from the impact, but they might continue to meow.

The Feline-Human Connection And Food


Who hasn't served their cat a ham sandwich in bed- hold the bread? Angel Kitty never even noticed when we switched to turkey. It's hardly mind control when they're so adorable. It's a fact people love pampering their pets and cats receive a great deal of attention and affection from their care givers.

The more love you have to give, the more your cat will appreciate your efforts although it may not always seem this way. Just wait until you get sick. They are very empathic and caring toward their humans. The other morning, I was curled up with stomach cramps and woke to discover one of our cats relaxing on top of me. In and out of the sleep state, every now and then, I was coherent enough to realize the cat was still there. He actually made me feel better. Now, how about that turkey sandwich-hold the bread and mayo? I know you're likely thinking he did it for the reward, but the truth is it doesn't matter to me why. A friend is a friend indeed-even a hungry friend.

Our cat Katy stands in front of the fridge waiting for a treat even though she doesn't always get one. She loves food so much we call her the Julia Child's of the feline world. When I'm cooking in the kitchen, she's my number one fan watching my every move. It's true you're not supposed to feed table scraps to your domestic animals, but an occasional bowl of tuna or slice of lunch meat is o.k. The aroma just drives Katy Kitty crazy. Who can blame her? Everyone needs a hobby and watching me cook is hers. She isn't allowed on the counters or table so she has to observe my culinary performances from the floor, but this doesn't deter her one bit from gazing on as I prepare meals.

As you likely gather, the feline-human connection has a great deal to do with food. Cats and humans first became friends when farmers would employ them to watch out for mice. At some point our furry friends started living in our homes and we all know they stay for the food and companionship. When a stray shows up the first thing you probably do is feed them.

Cats are very curious about what we eat. It's hard not to notice your cat always showing interest when you bring a snack to movie night. The reality is they don't know if they want it until you give them a morsel or two. Who hasn't watched their cat loose their appetite after actually being offered a bite? Sometimes they will surprise us. For example, our daughter's cat, Vanilla loves broccoli. Don't ask me how she figured this out.

Speaking of Vanilla, he had an incident early in life with a tomato plant. The leaves and stems of the plant are poison. Of course, I didn't realize this at the time. Starting the seeds in the window seemed like a good idea to me until our kitten decided to nibble on the leaves. He was in the window with the plants when we left the house to go shopping. By the time we arrived home he was sick. Under a year old, he almost died when he went into convulsions. We took him to an emergency vet and the next morning he was playing with the other kittens as though nothing had happened.

We learned many plants are poisonous to cats. For a complete list you can look online. It might be wise to keep a copy in your gardening journal or tape it to the wall close to any area where you plan to start seeds indoors. For this reason, most of my planting is done on the patio now.

Chocolate is prohibited. If you are a chocolate lover, your cat might beg you for this tasty candy, because it smells good. However, it can be lethal to them. As far as other sweets go most are probably too rich even for fancy felines. Cats do enjoy them even though it is well documented they can't taste sugar. A little yogurt now and then is fine when your fur baby wants it. If your cat ever has digestive problems this is something the vet might suggest. Vanilla's twin brother, Butterscotch loves it!

The feline-human connection goes far beyond food. We look after them with their well being in mind. Our kindness may appear to go unnoticed when they suddenly want something they can't have from us as this is the way of the cat, but in times of trouble you will find they have not forgotten you. They can sense when you're not at ease and this is why they will come to the rescue when you're ill or feeling unwell. This makes them woman's best friend.

On The Prowl In The House

When our fur babies were kittens they woke us up early every morning running through the house. Just four of them sounded like a stampede. Adult cats will still do this sometimes at night, but usually not together all at the same time. When we go to bed they enjoy prowling in the dark. It's just a cat thing. The main living space is suddenly all theirs and they immediately take charge of their surroundings.

It's common for cat owners to report their pet is fond of waking them up. They want their breakfast or they're bored and lonely. The cat may feel humans sleep so long at a time it's frightening to them so they wake you up to make sure you're still alive. Ha. Ha. I've wondered about this myself, but I'm not sure if they're that naïve. They can be pretty persistent regardless of the reason.

Since they do explore it's important to make sure their surroundings are suitable. Something you may not have thought about is having a loaded gun in the house with cats. We all know guns should be put away empty, but you probably never thought your cat would get into your ammunition. One of our cats climbed up onto the shelf in our closet and knocked our bb gun down, Luckily, it wasn't loaded. That's what happens when you allow your cat to watch westerns on television. Oh you know when I'm kidding, but kitty wants you to remember gun safety is no joke.

Cats will get into things. A house with cats is usually not one with a lot of expensive breakables. They've been known to nock something over a time or two just to watch it fall. Aren't cats sophisticated though? In their own minds, they are kings and queens. On the prowl they're still wild animals.

Do Cats Watch T.V. ?

Have you ever wondered what your cat thinks of t.v. The other night, my husband and I were in our room watching a vampire movie when two of our fur babies just so happened to be present. Mystery Kitty appeared to be watching the program until the film turned gory and we noticed she was looking away with her back to the television set. Her brother, Butterscotch showed the same reaction. They were both looking at us as though to ask a question. "What is wrong with you two? This show is horrible!" Cats don't mind using guilt to get their way, but we didn't turn it off. They're not exactly children.

Mystery Kitty's favorite show to watch might surprise you. It's not, Murder She Wrote. Hello, she's a cat so she loves the video where the fish swim around the screen. Of course, she still hasn't seen the t.v. adaption to the screen play, Cats. Her story may change if we ever get around to viewing it.

As I'm sure you already are well aware, they have a short attention span when it comes to following a story on television. This is one reason for playing aquatics on film. It's not difficult to keep a cat's mind on fish especially when the programming is formatted to hold their stare. You can probably find them on DVD, but they're available as screen savers for your computer as well. Plus, if you have Netflix you'll find a couple of options if you search for aquarium.

So, to answer the question regarding whether or not cats watch t.v. it's one of those situations where we kind of prefer to think they're getting something out of it when we have it on. Trust me, if your cat never got to see another episode of your favorite show they would not mourn the loss although they would console you if you were upset about it getting cancelled.

Taking Your Cat On Holiday

Many years ago, my husband had a friend who had a friend who owned a cat she put on a leash. This works mostly with kittens. Our daughter used to put a harness on Vanilla Mice Mice Baby to take him out in the yard when he was younger. If you do this on a regular basis for a long time, starting at an early age your cat might tolerate it.

For the most part, there are two things you can count on here. Leashes are made for dogs and cats hate car rides. A couple of years back, we were feeling brave and decided to take Mystery to the lake. Although my husband was against this idea from the get-go this was one of those times he just had to let us learn on our own. Realistically, he figured this would turn out to be a bloody adventure and it actually went pretty well considering we will never take her anywhere again except to the vet. She was on a leash which gave her enough room to roam around, but she stayed stuck like glue to the kids. I'll admit Mystery was shaky and nervous. This short trip had her fur standing on end. For a human it's hard to understand, but cats know there is no place like home. Besides, cars really freak them out. This is how we know taking your cat on holiday is most likely out of the question.

Vacationing Without Your Pet

Last year, we decided to take a spur of the moment road trip. It's about an hour's drive to Tyler, Texas from where we live in Seven Points. After spending the day at the national park, we thought about staying the night in a hotel. Then, we remembered our cats and it was time to drive home. Before leaving them overnight it's important to cat proof the house and close off the bedrooms . We wouldn't want them eating paste.

On The Prowl Outdoors

Some cat owners believe they really own the cat while others know the truth. Besides, I'm not sure it's psychologically healthy for them to stay inside the house 365 days a year. Logically, I think it depends on the individual nature of your pet. For example, Angel Kitty was born to a mother who lived outdoors so for the first eleven months of his life, he was strictly outside although he did spend brief moments with his foster mother who took him inside once a day to feed him. It's not feasible in my opinion to hold him down and keep him from his natural habitat. We allow him to come and go as he pleases during the day. Then, at night he comes in.

We live on the land of a thousand trees and Angel is a tree climber. This does in particular get on my nerves, because he's my baby. I've spent a few afternoons trying to coerce him out of trees. He puts on an act though pretending he's scared to climb down. Of course, he might really be frightened. It's just hard to fathom when he isn't interested in the ladder we provide for him. The last time this happened he wound up on the roof of the garage and we had to call a neighbor to get him back on the ground. All our friend had to do was climb up there and Angel came down on his own. Sometimes, this cat just wants us to jump through hoops for him.

Angie as I sometimes call him enjoys chasing grasshoppers and it's not sensible for me to argue with this habit. They destroy every plant they can get a hold of during the summer months. So, go Angie! Go get them, boy! Mama will have your ham sandwich ready when you come in-I mean turkey since we switched.

Angel Kitty isn't the only one this season who wants to play in the yard. Curio has changed his mind and decided if it's good enough for his adopted brother, it's good enough for him. With summer on the horizon he's sunning himself on the front steps and venturing onto the lawn. There was a time you couldn't take him outside. He would try to climb back in through the window. Now, he's almost three and he's becoming a big boy. His sister, Mystery has started hanging her head out the door too. This is funny as in funny-odd, because she used to warn the others they should play it safe and stay in the house at all times.

Just like humans cat personalities are capable of changing over time. It would be nice if we could convince them our Labrador Retriever, Midnight is harmless. They couldn't really be afraid of her, because just today Mystery slapped her in the face for absolutely no rational reason. Our cats are fearless except for when it rains. Thunderstorms result in a bunch of fantastic felines poking their heads out from under the couches wondering if it has passed yet. Yes, there, there now. Mama will make you a turkey sandwich-hold the bread and you can forget all about it.

We live on nine acres of land and the cats love to watch the rabbits out the window. Don't worry. I sort of doubt they can catch them. Even Angel Kitty is clueless about real hunting. He can try all day long, but his efforts don't seem to get him very far. However, yesterday Butterscotch Pudding Pop managed to catch a frog, but the lucky amphibian is still alive. It urinated in his mouth and needless to say he spit it out. Talk about an effective defense mechanism. Butterscotch thinks it was a dirty trick!

Cats and the outdoors go back a long ways. It's perfectly natural for them to want to gnaw on grass, creep through the brush pile and roll around on the ground. Keep in mind, if you let yours go out weekly baths might be in order depending on where you live. Bathing will help eliminate fleas, but your cats won't like it at all unless their name is Vanilla.

Conclusion

Even with all their stunts the companionship is worth an occasional catastrophe. Cat owners know they're in good hands. Mystery Kitty chimes in," you mean they're in good paws." Alright, the cats can write the next article. Butterscotch says," but mama didn't we write this one?"

Tags

Animal Psychology, Cats, Felines, Pets

Meet the author

author avatar Nancy Austin
I'm a freelance writer interested in poetry and social issues, gardening and the outdoors. .

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Apr 2015 (#)

All one needs to know about cats are covered in this article, great share thanks Nancy - siva

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author avatar Ellen Lord
24th Apr 2015 (#)

Quite informative. Many of my friends are owned by cats.

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author avatar Nancy Austin
24th Apr 2015 (#)

Absolutely, Ellen. Absolutely.

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