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Cat Behaviour

There is not much information out there on cat behavior. We will be updating this page regularly as we find more information.

“When you understand cats, you can begin to work on modifying their behavior. In a way that provides both you and them what you need for a healthy, happy life.”

Did you know that people who read a book or read websites about cats are more likely to keep them. This is probably because these people do not have unrealistic expectations on their pet. Here are a few general things you should know about cats.

Hunting

You must understand that cats are natural predators. Generally a cat’s prey will include birds, lizards and rodents and some cats may even bring their kill home and present it to you. Whilst this is unacceptable to humans it is a natural behaviour of the cat and will continue no matter how much your cat is fed. Most hunting is done in the morning and evening so make sure your cat is inside during these times. Those lucky cats with an enclosure can stay out all night without harming our wildlife. Unfortunately, apart from having an indoor cat, there is nothing 100% effective to prevent cats killing wildlife but having a bell on their collar can help. This is used to alert wildlife to your cats presence but some cats teach themselves how to hunt without the bell ringing! Please do not have unrealistic expectations on your cat by thinking their hunting tendencies are ‘cruel’. Hunting is simply something instinctive to them and you cannot train a cat out of this. If you have a cat that regularly kills wildlife the only effective advice I can give you is to get a cat enclosure so they do not have access to prey anymore.

Cats that love to talk

Howling is most commonly heard from a female cat that is not desexed as she calls for a mate, however, there are other reasons why your cat loves to talk. Oriental breeds like Siamese and Burmese are naturally vocal cats and sometimes can get very attached to their owners, yowling in search of some company. A cat can also howl if frightened, to warn off intruders or from anxiety. If you normally have a quiet cat that suddenly starts howling then seek veterinary attention to rule out any medical conditions. Cats can howl with pain, urinary blockages, arthritis, constipation or may have a painful wound from a cat fight. For this reason, unusual behaviour should never be ignored and some illnesses like urinary blockages are fatal and can be sudden so never ignore unusual behaviour. If the howling is driving you crazy and your cat’s vet check has come has come back normal then try a few of these things to prevent the constant crying. Don’t rush to the cat whenever it cries. Give your cat quality time every day, or think of getting another kitten for companionship if you plan to be away from home for long periods of time (if you can afford it)

Learn to know when your cat has had enough

If only we humans could all speak cat! Well you can start by knowing when your cat has had enough affection. Some cats can be highly affectionate one minute then jump up and scratch or bite. This can

commonly happen when you scratch your cat’s belly. If your cat feels threatened it can lash out with it’s paws in defense particularly towards a person, she does not trust as much as her owner. Children especially, can often get bitten and scratched by a cat as they often cannot read or chose to ignore the cat’s signs of irritation. Teaching children that unlike us, cats prefer to sleep all day rather than play all day is a start. Children should also be taught to avoid touching the cat’s belly altogether and use single soft strokes to pat the cat. Children should also be encouraged to pat your cat for a short period of time so she does not get to the stage of irritation. Most cats love a good scratch under the chin so start here to build up her confidence with you first.

Cats love to sit up high

Cats love high places to sit, so as mentioned earlier, provide window sill ledges and scratching poles for your cat to climb up on. Although your enclosure will have cat hammocks, ladders etc for your cat to climb on, they will still need to learn the rules of the house. If you don’t want her jumping up onto a particular surface like kitchen benches then place some tape with the sticky side up onto the bench. Cats hate sticky surfaces and will discourage her from jumping up again. Be careful of your stove’s hot plates! They will burn your cats paw pads if they are not taught to stay away from the area.

The Best place to start learning more is from Jackson Galaxy