Category Archives: cat behavior

How to Get Your Cat to Be More Affectionate

cat affectionate maggieBy Julia Williams

Contrary to what those tired old stereotypes say (cats are aloof; cats want to be left alone; cats don’t bond with people, etc.), many felines are total love bugs. Many cats crave affection from humans and will return the love. However, because every cat is an individual, some will naturally be more affectionate than others. It depends on several factors. Some things simply can’t be changed, such as inborn personality traits and the way they were treated in the past by other humans before you. Luckily, a third factor – the things you do with and for your cat – can absolutely change the level of affection you get from them. It may take time, patience, understanding and determination, but improvements can be made. Here are some things you can do to develop a stronger bond with your cat and encourage them to be more affectionate.

Meet Their Basic Needs

This has to be the very first thing, because when you meet your cat’s needs they are happy. And a happy cat will naturally feel more affectionate toward the humans who are meeting her needs. See how it’s all one big circle? So make sure the litterbox is scooped daily and provide several types of scratching posts, an assortment of cat toys, access to fresh clean water, and a high quality food in the flavors your cat finds palatable.

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Can “Indoor Only” Cats Be Content?

indoor mickeyBy Julia Williams

It’s been 10 years, but I still remember the look a friend gave me after I expressed dismay that her “poor cats” were never allowed to go outside. At the time, all of my cats, past and present, had the freedom to go out as much as they wanted. I actually thought it was a bit unkind that my friend was depriving her cats of the outdoors, and when I said her cats could never be happy living indoors, that’s when I got “the look.” She vehemently disagreed, and it was clear we’d never see eye to eye.

A lot has changed since then. For starters, I now know that I was dead wrong about indoor-only cats not being happy. Secondly, I’ve changed my practice of allowing my cats unlimited access to the outdoors. It’s a personal decision we all have to make for our own cats. I just came to the conclusion that for me, the risks of allowing them outdoors outweighed the benefits. It’s been proven that indoor cats live longer and healthier lives, and I wanted my feline friends to be with me for as long as possible. However, I worried about their emotional state because I still struggled with the idea that indoor cats could be happy.

What I have found, after years of research and personal experience, is that some indoor cats will be just as happy as they could by having access to the outdoors, and some will not. There is no one size fits all answer; it really depends on several factors.

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How Can Cats Jump so High?

cat jumps marinaBy Langley Cornwell

Cats are amazing creatures. They are graceful, elegant, somewhat moody and hilarious to watch sometimes. If you have any doubt about that, just look up “funny cat videos” on the internet and you’ll be giggling for hours (and yes, I speak from experience).

Have you ever watched a cat race across a yard and then jump halfway up the trunk of a tree before it begins climbing? How about watching a cat easily leap from the ground to the top of a fence? How do they do that? When you see them perform these amazing feats, you begin to understand how closely related your domestic house cat is to a big jungle cat.

Thanks to evolution and the way felines have adapted to their environment over the years, both jungle cats and house cats have extremely strong back legs and a great deal of flexibility. This is because their ancestors mostly lived in trees and had to leap out to catch their prey before climbing back up the tree with their meal. Imagine a leopard carrying an antelope carcass up a tree; he’d need to have really strong hind quarters.

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Do Dogs and Cats Have Taste Buds?

taste micoloBy Linda Cole

When considering what a dog is willing to woof down, you can’t help but wonder if they actually taste what they eat. It doesn’t seem to matter to a dog whether it’s their favorite CANIDAE meal, a bug or an ice cube. My dogs will eat everything with gusto as if it had been prepared by a top chef. My cats hunt flies, spiders and other small creatures, and occasionally an overlooked dust bunny. The senses of dogs and cats are far superior to ours, but do they have taste buds, and can they really taste what they eat?

Taste buds play an ingenious role in human and animal survival and are designed to help keep us alive. Without the ability to distinguish between certain tastes it would be difficult to know which foods are safe to eat and which ones to avoid. Something that tastes bad usually means it could be harmful to swallow, and a good taste would be an indication it is safe to consume. All vertebrates have taste buds on their tongues, but how many a species has depends on which tastes they need to be able to detect to stay safe. Humans have about 10,000 taste buds, whereas dogs only have around 1,700 and cats have approximately 470. Because herbivores, like cows for example, dine on a large variety of plants, more taste buds are needed to help them tell if a plant is toxic or beneficial for them to eat.

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Bad Kitty Confessions: Is There Anything This Cat Won’t Do?

By Rocky Williams. Feline Guest Blogger

bad kitty davidI’m sure you’ve heard that saying “A leopard can’t change his spots” that refers to humans who can’t change their nature. Well, the same is true for naughty house cats. Once a bad kitty, always a bad kitty; I’m living proof of that. In fact, my Warden says “Bad Kitty!” to me so often that sometimes I forget my real name is Rocky. I’m not ashamed though. I wear my naughtiness like a badge.

I don’t really try to be a bad kitty, it’s just who I am. Most of the time when I do bad things, I don’t even think about it. For instance, if I see some tasty looking morsel of food, I just grab it. Who has time to meow nicely to ask for it? And what if the answer was no? If I take it without asking, I get what I want! You can’t argue with that end result.

The only downside to being a bad kitty is that not every human would put up with me. At least that’s what the Warden keeps saying. She’s still worried something will happen to her and no one will adopt me. I think she’s just trying to scare me into being good, but I can’t change my spots, now can I?

I’ve been keeping a diary confessional. I’m thinking, maybe if I record all of my many bad kitty accomplishments, someone will give me an award. You, perhaps? Take a look:

Dear Diary: Today was awesome. It was dairy day! First, I found a glass of unattended milk on the counter and lapped it right up. Then the Warden put whipped cream on her latte and turned toward the fridge. When she turned back around and saw me, she burst out laughing. I was like, “What?” Apparently, a cat with a whipped cream mustache is funny.

Dear Diary: Today I was lounging on the Warden’s lap when I heard footsteps on the deck. I hightailed it for my safe spot and in the process, my nails left a long, deep gash on her leg. Oops. She was not amused. That will heal, right? Darn that UPS man!

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What is a Flehmen Response in Cats?

flehmen bruceBy Langley Cornwell

Have you ever noticed your cat wrinkle up his nose like he smells something rancid? He may also lift up his head a bit and even pull back his lips, almost like a cartoon snarl or grimace. If you have seen it, you would know. It’s a distinctive look that catches your attention. Sometimes referred to as making a funny face or pulling a stinky face, this look is a real thing. It’s a biological response with a technical name: it’s called a Flehmen Response or a Flehmen Reaction. Sometimes the verb is shortened and simply called flehming.

Fun fact – Flehmen is a German word that means “lip curl” or “curl the upper lip.”

Some pet owners see their cat with a Flehmen Response and mistakenly think he is panting. Unlike dogs, cats don’t pant much. In most cases, cats only pant under extreme circumstances such as when they are in an overly stressful situation, when they are becoming dangerously overheated or when they are in labor.

So when your cat makes that funny face, even though it looks like he is either panting or smelling something bad, it’s really quite the opposite. When your cat has a Flehmen Response, he smells something he likes and he wants to further investigate the odor. That facial position allows him to taste the good smell so he can gather more information about it. Cats have a finely honed sense of smell, but the action is not all located in their noses.

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