Category Archives: cat behavior

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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Hide and Sleep: Funny Places to Find a Cat

hide and sleep wylieBy Julia Williams

Last week as I was engaging in my favorite stress reducing time waster (aka Facebook), I happened upon the funniest video of a cat trying to squeeze into a small, empty fish bowl. The cat tried for several minutes to get into that bowl, and I couldn’t stop watching. I was sure he was too big to fit in there, but it was entertaining to watch him try. Lo and behold, he got in! I can only imagine his owner’s face the first time they walked in and saw their cat in a tiny fish bowl.

The video reminded me of all the times I’ve found one of my cats in a funny place. I wish I could say I took a photo every time it happened to me. Alas, I have not. Nor have I saved any of the hilarious photos I’ve come across over the years. Luckily, whenever I want to laugh at the antics of cats, it’s easy to find videos and photos online. I am thankful that others are not so lax at capturing those impromptu silly things cats do.

hide and sleep belleMy all-time favorite funny place I found my cat was in a large turkey roasting pan. It was a few days before Thanksgiving, and I’d gotten the roaster out of storage and set it on top of the dryer. When I walked into the laundry room and saw Annabelle curled up in there, fast asleep, I could not stop laughing! I also got a kick out of finding her hanging out with my collection of stuffed wolves. Likewise, seeing Rocky chilling out on top of my espresso maker is always good for a chuckle.

Like the ubiquitous box, it seems that vases, fruit bowls, baskets, suitcases and strange containers of all sizes are also cat magnets. Kittens have even been known to curl up in tiny teacups! I have the cutest photo of Annabelle at about 8 weeks old, fast asleep in my slipper. My cat Mickey likes to dig most of the dish towels out of the kitchen drawer and sleep in there; that always cracks me up.

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Pet Peeves: 10 Things Cats Hate

pet peeves ireneBy Julia Williams

Although it’s true that all cats are individuals with unique likes and dislikes, one can reasonably come up with a list of feline pet peeves that will apply to most cats. As with anything, there are exceptions. It’s up to us as responsible pet owners to get to know our BFFs (best feline friends) well enough to recognize what they do and don’t like. We can’t eliminate everything they hate, of course; some things are unavoidable and some are necessary for their wellbeing. Here are 10 things to consider.

Loud Noises

Many cats are terrified of fireworks, thunder and loud car noises such as honking, backfires and screeching tires. Raucous parties and arguing humans are also on the list of things that disturb cats. Even a very loud sneeze from you can spook a skittish kitty. You’ll know if your cat hates any of these things, because they will bolt for their safe place at the first sign of them.

Other Cats in “Their” Territory

All cats have a territorial nature; it’s instinctual. Even indoor kitties have what they perceive as their own territory, and they don’t appreciate it when other cats encroach upon it. Luckily, most felines in multi-cat households can learn to share territory and get along. One thing you can do is take care to treat all cats the same; trust me, they do notice inequality, and they definitely don’t like it. Some indoor cats are highly disturbed when they see a cat outside in “their” yard. In that case, close the blinds or distract them with a favorite toy.

Car Rides

Oh, the joy of taking your cat for a ride in the car. Their piercing screams will fray your nerves, but sometimes it’s unavoidable, such as visits to the vet or when you’re moving. For cats who hate car rides, there isn’t much you can to do alleviate their displeasure; you just have to bear it until you reach your destination. I have heard stories about cats who don’t mind car rides, but I’m pretty sure those are fables. If not, and your cat doesn’t pitch a fit in the car, consider yourself blessed.

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Decoding the Sleeping Positions of Cats

By Julia Williams

As I’ve mentioned here before, cat owners and bloggers have their own little language. Actually, there’s nothing little about it, as it consists of hundreds of unique words and phrases, with more being added every week. You probably won’t hear any of them on the street, but Catspeak permeates the blogging world.

One subset of this language refers to the sleeping positions of cats, and these have in turn become popular with the cat meme makers. Just do a Google image search for Cat Loaf, Monorail Cat, or Contortionist Cat, and you’ll be rewarded with countless funny memes. Be forewarned, though – this activity is addicting and can easily eat up half your day. (Don’t ask me how I know this!).

Here are a few common cat sleeping positions.

Cat Loaf

Picture a big, fluffy loaf of bread, and you’ll have a good idea what this cat position looks like. A Cat Loaf is when a cat sits with all four feet tucked under her body, which forms a rectangular loaf shape. Judging by the number of memes and photos online, the Cat Loaf is one of the most prevalent feline positions.

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An Indoor Cat’s Need for Territorial Stability

By Langley Cornwell

All cat lovers know how important a stable environment is for their feline friend. Most of us do a good job of giving our cats what they need in order to live long and healthy lives. We feed them high quality food like CANIDAE grain free PURE, we take them for regular veterinarian exams and we give them plenty of snuggles – but sometimes it’s good to be reminded of a few of their less obvious needs. With that in mind, here are some tips to ensure your indoor cat’s home territory is stable and safe.

Why are Cats Territorial?

In the wild, a feline’s territory is clearly marked, defined, and well-defended which is vital for hunting and breeding success. In most cases, a cat’s connection to their environment or territory is stronger than their connection with the other occupants of that same territory. And this need for territorial dominance starts early; the youngest of kittens can differentiate between their own environment and another one. In fact, a one day old kitten will claim an individual mother’s nipple and drink from it exclusively. Even though kittens are born blind and deaf, they can distinguish their personal nipple by its distinct smell and will struggle to return to that same nipple every time they eat.

Clarity of Surroundings

Domestic cats are keenly aware of their surroundings. Because of this, they need to live in a predictable, stable environment in order to thrive. Territorial stability is everything to a cat. Their territory must be a place where they can feel safe and in control. For you, that means keeping things the same as much as possible. When you must make changes to your home, make them slowly and mindfully.

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