Understanding Cat Behaviour

May 11, 2016

Are you a first time cat owner, or wanting a better understanding of your fantastic feline? Nadia Crighton investigates common and misunderstood cat behaviour.

Cats are wonderfully entertaining and lovable creatures. They light up any home they are invited into and have a certain aloofness that has many of us are simply addicted to! But what are some of the most misunderstood behaviours that our beloved cats exhibit?

1. Slow Blinking
No your cat is not overly sleepy or wanting a cat-nap. Slow blinks are actually your felines way of communicating their love for you. This is cat speak at its best. In fact; the best way to a cat’s heart is to slow blink your way into their good books. For cats; having one eye shut in the presence of another signals trust. So when they blink at you (or each other) it is a clear confirmation that you are accepted, trusted and loved. So slow blink away feline fans!

2. Scratching
This can be an annoyance for many cat owners! However, when the behaviour is redirected towards the correct object AKA the cat-tree and not the leather lounge, your cat will exhibit this very natural behaviour with joy. Cat’s love to scratch for numerous reasons. Not only does it mark their territory (with scent and sight marks), it also removes dead claws, stretches their feet and whole body, and basically feels good. So don’t be discouraged by your cats desire to scratch, redirect it towards a scratching post, cat-tree or cat-house and encourage this wonderful behaviour.

3. Chasing Tails
Many cat owners you will understand that their cats really have TWO brains…one in their lovely little head, and the other lurking in their tail! It’s no surprise that your cat will sometimes look at their tail in complete disgust, leaving owners positive that there is another entity all together controlling the long furry appendage as it bats their face while they are peacefully sleeping. So it’s no wonder your cat loves to chase and bite this comical addition to their body. This is a very natural behaviour for your cat, particularly kittens that will spend hours playing with their tails. Hunting is a very natural instinct for cats; their tails provide ample training and practice to zone in on their stealth talents. However, if the tail chasing gets overly excessive or compulsive, a trip to the vet is in order to check all is right.

4. Pee Pee Pee
Ok…this is a sticking point for many cat lovers. Inappropriate toileting is a HUGE issue for cat owners and sadly a very common reason why many cats are abandoned. Cats will toilet inappropriately in places, like the bathroom or the kitchen floor or just beside the little box, in order to tell you that something is not right. Many cats suffering from kidney problems or urinary tract infections will toilet around the home. A trip to the vet is a must for this behaviour, as your cat is desperately trying to tell you something. For cats that mark or spray (this will not be on the floor but will be up on things in a vertical manner), this is to clearly mark their territory with their scent. This type of toileting signals that your cat is stressed (particularly if it is a new behaviour). Perhaps another cat has moved into the area or you have a new pet or houseguest? Your cat is surrounding his/herself with their scent as the pungent odor puts them at ease. Again, a trip to the vet will help you better understand this behaviour and will give you ample advice on what things you can do to help your cat feel secure and safe (without the smell of pee). The quicker you seek professional advice in regards to your cat’s toileting problems the better. This behaviour is treatable and manageable if sorted quickly.

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