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Cat Behavior

Please note:
The information provided here is meant to supplement that provided by your veterinarian.
Nothing can replace a complete history and physical examination performed by your veterinarian.

Cats can be major stinkers. We're not talking about smell, but rather their “catty” behavior towards their humans. Cats believe they are superior to all other living things. Don't you feel that sometimes they are just humoring us humans? Sometimes, their behavior can go to extremes and make us all crazy. Whether it is caterwauling, stalking, pouncing or displaying their dual personalities and schizophrenic tendencies, sometimes coexisting with your cat can be nerve-wracking and almost not worth the trouble. However, with a few basic tips, you can live with your cat peacefully. Ok, peaceful might be a relative term, but you get the idea!

Co-existing tip #1 – Take your cue from your cat. Many times, us humans do not know when to stop petting. Usually your cat will instigate a petting session, but they can only put up with so much petting and become over stimulated. Since they cannot turn around and tell us to back off, they let us know in their own way that “enough is enough” by nipping at us. This does not indicate that they are being malicious, but rather that they need their own time-out from the petting. By cueing into their behavior moments before they nip, you can avoid their sharp little teeth. Tensing of the body, tail flicking, and even pinned back ears are all signs leading to the cat's nipping behavior.

Co-existing tip #2 – Stalking and pouncing are all part of a cat's innate nature. Hunting and stalking prey are ingrained in their genes. That is just what cats do. Don't take it personally when all of the sudden, out of nowhere, your cat decides you make for a fun plaything and pounce. Luckily for most cats, this playful aggression is just a phase that they eventually grow out of as they enter into their adult cat roles. It is up to you to know how to avoid conflict with your cat during these “playful” times. One way is to deflect this playful aggression away from you before it actually happens. Pay attention to where your cat is and learn the body cues that tell you when they are about to make their move. Another way is to divert their attention to another activity.

Co-existing tip #3 – Digging is another cat quirk ingrained in their genetic makeup. This quirk shows up predominately during bodily waste elimination. Just picture them in their litter box. They are always scratching around so that they can cover up their “evidence.” Cats also dig for recreation and can make short work of your garden or houseplants. It doesn't pay to get upset with what is usually normal behavior for a cat. Instead fight back with citrus products. Cats absolutely hate any citrus smells – orange, grapefruit, lemons and limes. Bury the rinds from these fruits in the soil of your houseplants or outside in your garden's perimeter.

Co-existing tip #4 – Scratching can be beneficial for cats. Using their claws offers up several benefits for cats. For one, scratching helps eliminate dead cells from the claws. Secondly, when cats claw on things, they are marking their territory, both in a visual and scented way. Cats need a sense of their own domain and clawing helps your felines feel more secure. Before scheduling surgery to remove their claws due to their destructive ways, you can help them by providing scratching posts and pads for their use. Use catnip as an incentive by rubbing it on the scratching post.

Co-existing tip #5 – All that meowing has a purpose. Sometimes, it seems that your cat's mission in life is to drive you up the wall with all their caterwauling. However, all that vocalizing is how they communicate. And since we are mere human beings, we just don't get what they are telling us. However, through a little trial and error, we can determine at least what some of that cat calling is all about. One of the reasons for the incessant meowing could be hunger or boredom. If there is no food in their bowl and it's close to dinner time, put food in their bowl. If they shut up and eat, you got lucky and figured out that particular meow. Other times, all that meowing could mean that your cat is ready to mate or they are fearful of something. If there is a storm outside or one is about to start, that might be a good indication of why your cat is meowing.

Cats are complex creatures and these five basic co-existing tips aren't even close to deciphering the moods and quirks of your feline. It could take a lifetime to figure it all out! However, just remember to take your cue from them and always assess a situation before administering punishment to your family feline.

 Cat Article courtesy of I-Love-Cats.com

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