I have owned cats for over 60 years. Between them and their vets, I have learned a great deal about how they tick.
In The Beginning
Whether your cat came from a shelter, a friend whose cat had kittens, or outside, they can melt your heart. They look so helpless and cold. Where do they sleep? They are so skinny. Or they keep knocking on your window for attention. Those sweet little critters can and will be grateful for your rescue, usually. But be sure to remember this one little piece of information: you do not own the cat, the cat owns you.
Sad but true. They take your furniture without even asking. They go to the bathroom in a box you have to clean. They eat the food you provide for them. They soak up the heat like a magnet to steel. And they look at you with those sweet eyes and you let them have what they want.
Cat, What Did You Do
Cats are very curious about everything around them. This is an instinct that makes them check everything out for safety reasons. They need to make sure no one is hiding in the toaster or nesting in the printer. However, many of your garden-variety felines get comfy in the home. That is when they knock things over for fun. Yes, for fun. Actually, they are not really doing this for fun. A cat is a hunter. They need things to keep them busy. Contrary to popular belief, cats do not sleep all the time. They will play for hours if they have the right toys. Bored cats will knock over your glass because you will react and chase them. Ah, what fun, right?
The Michieve They Get Into
They can hide in your closet, climb into the smallest of places, or even poop in your potted plant which makes it seem like they are jerks. But their secret is they just want something to do. They like to explore and they like small tight places because they get warmer faster than say a cat bed would. They use your plant as a litter box because they can dig in it which allows them to bury it when they are done. Instinct tells them to do this because in the wild they can be tracked by their waste. Their waste gives off more of their scent than brushing against a tree might do. So the next time you find your cat in a place that surprises you, remember they are jerks, I mean curious cats.
Cats Can See In The Dark
Did you know that a cat can usually see in the dark? Their eyes help them to hunt or find shelter once the sun goes down. They have reflective eyes that look really scary when that is all you see, like the picture above. Of course, just like us humans, cats don't advertise that they can see in the dark, they just play all night while you are trying to sleep. That is because they are jerks, I mean nocturnal animals. Nocturnal animals are usually active at night.
Pain And The Wild
In the wild, or outside for many cats, it is a dangerous place for cats. They are prey to other animals. Dogs will kill a cat if they can for food. So will bobcats, mountain lions, meerkats, and any other species that you can name. That means cats that show any kind of weakness become more of a target. That is why, when a cat is in pain, they don't usually show it. They might, however, act out by biting and scratching if you try to move them because it hurts. Be careful if you see a wounded cat that isn't your cat because they can do a lot of damage with their claws and teeth. Your cat might but try to be understanding. You can't tell a cat that you are helping, they only understand cat.
Their Hunting Skills Are Incredible
Cats are fast and strong. They can hide well and attack without notice. That is why your cat hides under the chair and scratches you as you walk by. They are hunting. It is natural for them, but cruddy for us. They instinctively hunt in that manner even if their prey is bigger than them. Like you or your dog.
Please, if you have a cat, do not get them declawed just because they scratch. Declawing them leaves them in constant pain from exposed nerves. Think how you would feel if someone removed your finger nails. There are other ways to handle the situation.
Kittens To Adult Cats
When kittens are small, they are cute and even cuddly. Don't, however, expect that to be the norm once they are older. Kittens, like human babies, seek the warm comforting hug of 'momma'. Once they are jerks, I mean grown, that hug of yours becomes a bother. Let them grow up and tell you what they want. That way you spare yourself scratches that can really hurt.
Why They Do Things
Cats have ways of communicating that we do not understand, but understanding their hints can go a long way in keeping your house happy.
- If a cat uses something other than the litterbox it could mean their box is dirty, they have a medical issue, or they are mad at you for something like chasing them off the ceiling fan.
- Cats will pee on your things if they are not fixed. When an unfixed cat is in your home and another cat goes into heat anywhere nearby, they will pee to say "I am here, let's mate". When a cat pees, try to find out why.
- Cats may also pee if they are ill, or have urine crystals which can be deadly if not taken care of by a vet.
- If something has changed in the house, cats will pee to announce their territory, even if the something is a person. They pee to tell others that they are protecting that area. They might also pee if there is a strange cat lurking around outside the home.
- Cats scratch to leave their scent and to keep their claws trimmed and sharp. Give them a cat scratcher near the area they have scratched. Generally, they will prefer the scratcher.
- Cats will rub their cheeks against things like you or your hand to leave their scent. I always tell people that my cat just told the world that he claimed them as his. Most of the time, your cat will react to that by rubbing its scent over the other one.
- Cats like high places, you know the king of the world they survey type of thing. That is why you might find them on the top of your cabinet where you put the delicate wine glasses or laying on the table after pushing your Yule log to the side. They can climb things you would not consider in a million years like a smooth wall or a curtain. Expect it. But when you react angrily your cat will run knocking down anything in their path. Better to coax them down and move the stuff you have there. Once they have claimed a spot, they will go there again.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.