Know When To Stop.
The trouble with some humans is that they just don’t know when to stop. At least that’s how it must seem to some cats, who can only take so much fussing and cuddling. Lots of cats do enjoy physical affection from their owners, but lying on a lap or losing yourself in the moment puts you in a vulnerable position and is actually quite unnatural for a cat. This can lead to what is known as the ‘petting and biting syndrome’, which may come about because a cat is torn between pleasure and their natural instinct for self-preservation. Another situation which may lead to a misunderstanding is if a cat nods off while you’re stroking them, only to wake suddenly to find that they’re being threatened by a strange creature. They may then launch a counter attack before they realize it’s just their owner’s hand.
People can find themselves at the wrong end of a tooth or claw because they have misinterpreted a cat’s behavior. The so-called ‘social-roll’ is one typical example. This is when a cat rolls over, stretches out all floppy and relaxed and does a full belly display. This is a friendly gesture, indicating a happy cat content to be in your company, but it is not a request for a belly rub. Generally speaking, cats do not like having their stomach area touched. Attempting to do this may result in hisses and scratches (and some hurt feelings on both sides).
Another mistake we make is assuming our cats need to be comforted. If a cat appears anxious (because a dog is walking past the house, for example), our natural instinct is to offer reassurance, as we would a child. But the cat may be in full wildcat defense mode and any interference from you may just provoke some redirected aggression. Also, don’t bother them when they’re busy. If you’re cat is stalking, prowling, patrolling or hunting, probably best to leave them alone. Individual cats vary enormously in how much physical attention they crave or can tolerate, but whatever affection you get from your cat should be appreciated – it’s not given lightly.
Ten Things Your Cat Wants You To Understand.
Cats in the wild don’t need to express their emotions publicly because they tend to live alone. Indeed, baring their souls might reveal their weaknesses to enemies or competitors and put them in danger. This is why cats can be very hard to read. Humans, as highly sociable animals, don’t always understand what’s going on in a cat’s head and often miss the subtle signs that may indicate stress. If they were a tad more communicative, these are some of the things our cats would like to say to us:
- I don’t always feel like being picked up.
- I really hate people staring at me.
- I’m not being naughty when I scratch stuff.
- I can’t help being really alert first thing in the morning.
- I need access to high places where I can feel safe.
- I don’t want to eat my dinner next to my litter tray or my water bowl.
- I want my litter tray in a quiet area and cleaned every day.
- I want to have the choice to come to you.
- I like my cat carrier covered with a blanket to help me feel safe.
- I need a hiding place where I know I’ll be left alone.
Everybody knows that cats are predatory hunters, yet when they shoot through the cat flap with a live mouse in their jaws, it can still provoke shock, surprise and horror. Some people are troubled by the way a cat appears to toy with its catch. It can be an uncomfortable spectacle, but cats don’t do this because they are cruel. Pet cats obviously don’t need to hunt in order to survive, but domestic cats remain little changed since their wild days and the drive to hunt is still very much with them.
Why Do Cats Bring Prey Home?
When a well-fed cat does catch something, it is surplus to requirements, so they don’t feel the need to eat it straight away (feral cats are much less likely to play with their prey in this way). This is probably one of the reasons why cats frequently bring their prey home, although people often think they’re being given a ‘gift’ (however unwelcome). There is some debate as to why cats do this. One explanation is that cats are so horrified by our poor hunting skills, they think they need to show us how it’s done. Another theory is that cats regard us as big kittens and they’re just bringing us our dinner. The problem with these ideas, though, is that they assume cats feel responsible for feeding us (which seems unlikely) and that they can’t tell the difference between people and cats (which also seems unlikely). More plausible is that the cat doesn’t really need a dead mouse right now, so they’ll leave it at the bottom of the stairs in case they need it later.