Category Archives: cat behavior

I Could Pee On This (and Other Poems by Cats)

By Julia Williams

Sometimes “Meow” doesn’t quite get the point across. At least, that’s the premise behind I Could Pee On This (and Other Poems by Cats), a delightful book that I am totally in love with.

If we buy into the notion that cats can write – and why shouldn’t we? Scads of cat blogs and cat memoirs already exist, which suggests that felines have found a way around the whole “lack of opposable thumbs” thing – then it’s not such a stretch to believe that cats can also pen poetry. Not just any poetry, however; witty, wise, laugh-out-loud poems that claim to “reveal the true artistic and neurotic genius that every feline possesses.”

Indeed. I Could Pee On This does that and so much more. The 64 short poems delve into the reasons behind funny feline behaviors, explore hilarious eccentricities and even include some existential musings. All from the cat’s point of view, of course.

At approximately 5” x 6” and 112 pages, I Could Pee On This is a tiny little thing. Nevertheless, every page is a gem, each poem one that will elicit a knowing smile from every cat lover. Because clearly, these poems have captured the very essence of what makes felines so enticing to us.

Read More »

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+Share

The Types of Toys Cats Really Like

By Linda Cole

Cats need to play, and they enjoy it just as much as dogs do. Outside cats have nature provided “toys” like dried leaves blowing around on the ground and bugs crawling through the grass. Inside kitties depend on their owners to find interesting and exciting toys to play with – when they aren’t napping in a sun puddle, that is. However, not any old toy will do, from a cat’s point of view, and there are specific toys cats really like to play with.

Because felines are true carnivores and hunters, every aspect of the hunt is important to all kitties whether they live inside or outside. If you’ve ever observed a cat watching a bird sitting on a tree limb, you can see her excitement level grow as she sizes up her prey. The tail twitches back and forth, her intense eyes are focused, the whiskers are pulled forward, and her body is taut with anticipation. The intricate process of stalking prey is a cat’s ultimate toy.

The best toys for cats are those that allow them to use their predatory skills. It’s the act of hunting that entertains them. Toys that allow them to stalk, pounce on, bite, claw, grab and hug against their body, and simulate a bite to the neck of their pretend prey is a good toy. When you watch a cat play, everything about how they entertain themselves is connected to hunting. This is true even in cats that have never been taught to hunt.

When cats play, it’s how they practice and hone their skills as the perfect hunter. Once she detects movement, her instincts take over as she watches her “opponent” and waits for the right time to pounce, which is usually spot on. Toys that mimic the movements of natural prey, even if they don’t look like a mouse or bird, are ones cats find intriguing. A piece of string wiggling along the floor or held up and dangled in front of a cat will get her attention – as long as it keeps moving. Once it stops, however, a cat will quickly grow tired of it. Their brain is hardwired to detect the slightest movement of a mouse, and movement is what draws their interest to a toy.
Read More »

How to Tell if Your Pet is Right Pawed or Left Pawed

By Julia Williams

Statistically, about 90% of humans are right-handed and 10% are left-handed. Very few people are naturally ambidextrous, i.e., adept at using both hands.  Last year, I was not able to use my right hand for a few weeks and discovered just how difficult it can be to use your non-dominant hand. Simple everyday tasks like brushing my teeth and cutting up vegetables became almost an exercise in futility. They could be done, but not easily.

So when I read recently that studies suggest dogs and cats also have a “dominant paw” (or paw preference) for certain tasks, I was intrigued. The research indicated that the left paw/right paw division is more evenly distributed than with humans – a dog’s paw preference was split fifty-fifty while cats were 50% right-pawed, 40% left-pawed and 10% ambidextrous.

Moreover, there’s even a DIY test developed by Dr. Stefanie Schwartz of the Veterinary Neurology Center in California, which you can do yourself to determine if your pet is right or left pawed! The catch is that you have to repeat the test 100 times. For me personally, this means that although I am curious about the paw preferences of my three cats, I’ve not taken the time to test any of them. Maybe someday when I don’t have to do things like work, eat and sleep, I will. Oh, and I’d also need to have a great deal more patience, which I’d surely need to test three willful felines who typically won’t do anything I ask them to. However, if you really want to figure out the paw preference of your own dog or cat, read on.
Read More »

How to Break up a Dog vs. Cat Fight

By Langley Cornwell

My husband and I share our home with two dogs and a cat, and most of the time it’s completely harmonious. We got one of the dogs and the cat at the same time, so that introduction was easy for everyone involved. Because we rescued those two animals together, they were getting accustomed to us, our home and each other at the same time. It worked out seamlessly.

When we decided it was time to add another dog to our family, we were a bit concerned about how the potential new dog would get along with our cat. This dog needed a home immediately and he had never been exposed to cats. We decided to take the plunge, and made the introductions slowly. And of course, we followed the instructions I wrote about in this article: Tips for Introducing a New Dog to a Household with Cats. We were fortunate that after a few misunderstandings, it all worked out.

Many families have at least one cat and one dog, and I’ve heard too many stories about serious fights breaking out between the two. It’s not always the dog picking on the cat, either. Plenty of cat breeds are feisty, and some felines take pleasure in tormenting the family dog. Alternatively, a dog may want to play when a cat isn’t in the mood. If the uninitiated dog doesn’t read the cat’s hissing, swatting or growling signs, a full-on fight can erupt.

Read More »

Why Do Cats Sneeze?

By Langley Cornwell

This is probably wrong of me, but I think it’s cute when our cat sneezes. After the initial ah-choo, he always looks startled, as if to say “where did that come from?”

Of course, humans are not the only ones with allergies. Dogs and cats can have them too. In fact, when a cat sneezes, it’s often a sign that he is allergic to something. Excess sneezing may be one of the first signs that something is amiss with your feline friend. In general, cats sneeze for the same reason that people do; it may be something as simple as a tickling in their nose, or they might have a more serious issue that is causing them to sneeze.

As responsible pet owners, we coddle our cats and feed them nutritious, high quality food like Canidae, but we don’t want to run off to the vet every time they sneeze. So how do we know when kitty is just sneezing “regularly” or if he needs a visit to the veterinarian?

Time to see the vet

An occasional sneeze is nothing to worry about most of the time. Kittens and cats will sneeze whenever they get something in their nasal passage that doesn’t belong there. If your cat is particularly curious, this may occur fairly often. Our cat puts his nose into everything! Perhaps he learned it from our dogs or maybe it’s a common behavior, but he is a sniffer and a sneezer.

Read More »

Is It Okay for Cats to Eat Bugs?

By Julia Williams

Like their wild cousins, our domestic kitty cats are natural born hunters. Their motto is “If it moves, chase it” which includes everything from rodents and insects to human toes that unwittingly wiggle under the bedcovers. For many cats, hunting is the fun part; they either bring their catch to us in exchange for praise, or leave it lying around for our bare feet to step in.

Sometimes they will eat what they catch. It’s not about hunger though – my cats get two square CANIDAE meals a day plus treats, yet they still munch on that juicy grasshopper like it’s the best feline caviar on the planet, the stuff of every kitty’s dream. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear they eat their kill with even more gusto when I am watching, because they know how much it grosses me out. Yep, there is nothing quite like seeing your cat wolf down a fly and come running over for a kiss. I love my cats dearly, but there will be no kisses until that little snack is washed down with copious amounts of water or the “incident” is forgotten, whichever comes first.

So while many cats do relish eating things like flies, spiders, grasshoppers, ants, crickets, June bugs and moths, is there any harm? With a few exceptions, the answer is no. Most household and garden-variety bugs aren’t harmful to cats. Although it may turn your stomach to witness the carnage, eating bugs is a natural behavior for cats that in most cases is not cause for alarm.

As I said, though, there are some exceptions:

Gastrointestinal upset

If a cat eats a lot of bugs in one sitting, or a certain kind of bugs, this could result in stomach upset. Bugs with hard exoskeletons, such as beetles, are really irritating to the cat’s digestive tract. Typically, this doesn’t end well – as in, the cat barfs up a pile of bugs. Per the Cat Golden Rule, this will be done “always on the rug, never the linoleum.” Additionally, if kitty doesn’t chew thoroughly, a chunk of bug can get stuck in his throat, causing choking. Diarrhea is also a strong possibility.

Poisonous Bugs

Some bugs, such as stink bugs, are not poisonous per se but their secretions can cause excessive drooling or vomiting and can also irritate the cat’s gastrointestinal tract. A few bugs – lovebugs and fireflies, for example – are actually poisonous for your cat and can cause severe intestinal problems. If a cat tries to eat a black widow spider and gets bitten by it, this can cause a long list of serious health issues and even death.

I have read that cats instinctively know which bugs to avoid. However, I wouldn’t want to put that theory to the test and have my cat suffer the consequences if it proved not to be true. In any event, figuring out which bugs are safe and which ones are not can be tricky. If you see a bug you know to be poisonous or any bug you can’t identify, it’s best to procure the professional services of an exterminator.

Insecticide Toxicity

Bug bait traps can be deadly for pets. Even if you place the bug bait where kitty can’t get to it, the insect may drag some of the poison out where your cat can come into contact with it. Cats can also become severely ill from eating poisoned bugs. I personally would never take that chance, especially since there are pet-friendly alternatives for killing bugs when necessary.

I may not enjoy seeing my cats devour the occasional fly that sneaks into my house, but I don’t panic either, because I know that hunting and eating bugs is a perfectly natural feline behavior. Does your cat like to eat bugs?

Top photo by Simon Evans
Middle photo by Ian Barbour 
Bottom photo by babbagecabbage 

Read more articles by Julia Williams