Recently in Cat Behaviour Category

basket_comfortable.jpgSHORT ANSWER:

The reason cats purr is because they're content.

LONG ANSWER:

The purr comes from two membrane folds, called false vocal chords, that are situated behind the actual vocal cords. Cats purr at 26 cycles per second. Kitty purrs both when he or she inhales and exhales, all the time keeping his or her mouth completely closed. Scientists think purring is produced by blood in a large vein in the chest cavity that vibrates and is then magnified by air in the windpipe.

Kittens are born blind and deaf; but the vibration of their mothers' purring is a physical signal that the kittens can feel -- it acts like a homing device, signaling them to nurse. Kittens begin to purr at about one week of age, and this signals Mom that they are getting their milk.

WHAT SOME PURRS MEAN:

A deep purr can indicate that your feline is in pain or experiencing distress. Female cats for instance, purr when they're in labor. Sometimes cats purr from fear. Cats also purr when they are anticipating something that will make them happy, like food or being pet.

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striped brushing.jpegBefore beginning to try to change the behavior of your cat, it may be a good idea to learn a little bit about cat behavior. One of the most natural instincts for a cat is to jump and automatically land on their feet. A kitten is not born with the natural cushion it takes to be able to land on it's feet and it takes about 7 weeks for this cushion to actually develop. Also, cats have a unique bone structure when compared to other animals. A cat's bones are more flexible and because they have no collar bone they are able to turn more easily. This enables a cat to jump from many different angles without causing injury to itself in most instances.

As a result of this natural instinct to jump, you may wish to teach you cat how to jump through hoops, over sticks, or even from a scratching post onto your shoulder or back. Watch out for the claws though. Also, do keep in mind that a cat can be injured when jumping from extreme heights such as breaking a leg or internal injuries so use caution when training your cat to jump. Cats have the ability to hear high frequencies and pitches so you will often find they come running when you are opening a can of food or a door.

I know my own cats always seem to know when I am about to open a door to go outside and they will either be waiting to come in or trying to get out and heaven forbid I should open a can of anything, all four cats are right there wanting to know if they are going to get a treat. I am sometimes amazed at a cat's sense of smell. Just the other day when Ben was cutting up cold chicken, my cat Twinkie, who was sound asleep in the other room, woke up and came to see if she could have some scraps. She loves chicken.

It is their sense of smell that causes them to rub up against things or to urinate in certain areas. They are leaving their scent so that they will know they have been there before. This is what is known as marking their territory. When another cat or animal is in the same area, they will know that this cat was there before them. Understanding a little about these natural instincts and behaviors can help you learn more about how to train cats. Letting you cat use it's natural instincts during training is an important thing to keep in mind.

Older cats sometimes tend to become a little aggressive, especially if they are ill or if there are other cats in the home. Training a cat that is not in good health is not a good idea so check with your vet if you think your cat may have any medical problems before you start trying to train them.

If your cat had a previous owner and for some reason they decided to give the cat up, this can cause a cat to become depressed and show some signs of anxiety. I know this for a fact because when Sammy was first born he was supposed to go to my father in law but Sammy knew he was supposed to be my cat. He cried non stop for 2 days until Wally couldn't take it anymore and brought him back home. Don't worry if you have a similar reaction from your cat because they will learn to love you just as much in a short period of time. Again, be patient and don't try to train your cat if he is stressed out.

Pictures_cats_scratching_furniture.jpgYou should never, under any circumstance hit a cat because this will cause the cat to be afraid of you and it is very hard to undo the damage once it has been done. I do yell at my cat's every now and then if they do something they shouldn't but I have had them for a number of years and they are spoiled rotten and already know that I love them unconditionally. Using a spray bottle filled with water is one of the best ways to control unwanted behavior.

If you find your cat is constantly behaving in a way that bothers you, such as knocking things off tables or counter tops, simply remove everything just like you might do for a child. Learning how to train cats before you get one is the ideal way to go but if you already have a cat, it is never too late to start teaching them good habits. The best time to begin training is when you first get your cat or kitten but keep in mind this is only if there are no health or depression issues. If you have a good relationship with your cat from the beginning, you are more likely to have a happy, healthy cat.

Article By Kimberly Aita

Article by Rebeca Rambal

pictures_cats_trouble.jpgEven the most ardent fan of the feline species has to admit that cats can be little trouble makers. While dogs can cause quite a bit of mischief themselves, your cat's intelligence, size, and nimbleness can help him or her cause more than a little bit of aggravation for you from time to time. But don't worry. The two of you can learn to live a harmonious life. Here are some strategies that can help you when you have cat trouble.

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Strategy #1: Learn Feline Nonverbal Communication

You'd be surprised how much easier your life would be if you simply understood the nonverbal communication messages your cat is sending your way. For example, if your cat has a habit of nipping you as you pet him, start watching for a few key signs, such as pinned back ears and a flicking tail. These are all signs that affection time is over. If you don't take the subtle hints, your cat has to give you something you will notice: a nip with her tip. By stopping when you see these signs, you can end this problem for good.

Strategy #2: Appreciate the Value of Scratching

While scratched up furniture might not be much of a value, your cat's claws are valuable to her. She uses them to give her a sense of safety and to help her manipulate her environment. Sometimes your couch just gets in the way. The best way to stop these types of unwanted behaviors is to invest in a scratching post and rub some cat nip on it. This will encourage your cat to use the post and to leave your furniture alone. There are also special adhesive strips to avoid this problem. NEVER think of declawing. This surgery is cruel and unnecessary.

Strategy #3: Learn Their Language

Cats are like human babies. An infant cries to get what it wants, but because the baby can't articulate what it wants in a vocabulary we understand, fulfilling the child's needs can sometimes be frustrating. That's the way it is with cats and their meowing. Incessant meowing can, admittedly, be annoying, but it is not being done to make you go crazy or to make ear plug manufacturers wealthy. Your cat is trying to say, "I want this. Please give it to me." As the human, you have to learn what "it" is. Sometimes it's food, a change of litter, or affection. A non-spayed female will meow a great deal when she is ready to mate. Trial and error is the best approach. Just remain calm and remember the meowing is a cry for assistance and not a tool for torture.

Strategy #4: End Bad Digging

pictures_cats_digging.jpegCats enjoy digging - something you may have noticed. They use digging to cover up their waste in the litter box, but they will also go digging as a way to entertain themselves. Your cat might, for example, decide to dig up your garden or your houseplants. Be proactive. Go to the grocery store and buy some fresh citrus fruits. It doesn't matter what kind you get. Cats aren't font of anything citrus. Remove the rinds from the fruits and bury them in the soil where you do not want your cat to dig. This will work wonders. But it might be a good idea to give her a safe outlet for her digging passion, such as a small sandbox in your fenced in backyard or a pot of dirt of her very own.

Following some of these strategies can make living with your cat much more enjoyable for both of you.

If you want to read more stories and find very useful information about your cats and dogs, please visit me at http://www.yourpetsuniverse.com

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Author: Dilani Mallikarachchi

pictures_cats_stressed.jpegAlthough cats don't have to deal with rush hour traffic, exams, paying bills or missing deadlines, which causes stress in we humans, they also get stressed with their own problems in life.

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A new member in family can make a cat stressed. That member can be another cat, a new dog or simply a new person. Cats are animals of habit. So, sudden changes in their schedules can easily make them stressed. So when you are doing changes in your house, do them smoothly as possible, giving your cat a little time to adjust to the new surrounding.

pictures_cats_playful.jpegCats treat your furniture as their own. They mark them, so they can identify them with the scent. Sometimes they scratch them to visually make item their own. So sometimes, new furniture can make them stressed. Now think about rearranging your furniture. You can't let your pet know that you are rearranging the place, when your cat arrives; he would be shocked as he just can't recognize the things with smell or anything. The places he knew very well have suddenly become unknown. It will easily put him in tension. So, when you are rearranging the house, always leave a little space for your cat which contains his toys and most familiar things, when he get use to new arrangements you can slowly change that space too(if you wish to).

Moving to a new house will also put him in stress because he doesn't know the reason to be in a new house. You better keep and eye on him as sometimes otherwise he will try to go to old house and get lost in unknown land.

Fear can also make a cat stressed. A mean dog in household or fireworks in holidays are few things that cat may get afraid of.

Whatever the reason your cat get stressed you can lower it simply by showing much love and sympathy to him. Time he spend with you is the most valuable time he got, so play with him, give praise and kind words, spend little more time with him and enjoy the moment.

Dilani is really interested in cats and their behavior. She writes with the inspiration she got from her two cats' behavior and the books she read. You can read more at Understanding your cat

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_pictures_cats_clean_ears.jpgExperts say that it's impossible to get your cat to do something because of their independent nature. They also say that cats have chosen to live with humans to survive. Many people don't believe that but there are also people that support this belief. They are usually the people who don't like cats. You need to choose for yourself what you really believe.

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If you have or had a cat, you know what great animals they are and how well they bond with people. You also know that they have very special habits. They don't like just anyone and everyone; usually they choose one person that they bond with. You can easily tell if the cat is seeking a relationship with you for he will plop on your lap, seek your attention, or snuggle up at night. Usually when cats purr it means that they really love you.

Experts have looked for the answer but no one knows why cats choose particular people to bond with. There most definitely will be something about that person that this particular cat needs or likes. Maybe it's the tone of their voice, or their manners, or the way the person treats animals. Some cats like individuals who are gentle while some prefer those who are more forceful for this brings out the best in the cat.

Some researchers say that a cat chooses a person for the "psychic aura" of the person. According to this opinion, the cat chooses the person whose physic aura is compatible with the cat. It has to do a lot with positive and negative vibration. If cat feels that a certain person has a bad vibration, the cat will ignore him. Although there are people who believe that, most of cat owners will argue with this opinion.

There are many theories on that subject but no one really knows what is causing cats to like or dislike certain people. What basis they have to bond with us is still a mystery. One thing is certain; it might not be only a natural instinct of survival. Cat owners know best how cats crave attention. Cats need to feel needed. They are affectionate creatures if you give them a proper environment.

New cat owners may say it's impossible to get your cat to have a bond with people. It is true that cats bond differently than dogs or other animals. There is no wonder in it - cats are different than dogs and they shouldn't be expected to act like them. One thing is sure, the more time you spend with your cat the more of a bond you will have with them. With time you will see that your relationship with your cat is changing for the good. Sometimes it will take a long time because cats differ among each other. But finally you will find yourself in a place when you and your cat get along pretty well.

Article by Sandy Stone from No Bad Cats

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pictures_cats_names.jpgCat behavior is more difficult for most people to understand than dog behavior, because they communicate so much differently. If you experience behavior problems with your cat, like biting, scratching, excessive meowing or avoiding the litter box, eliminate any physical causes and then patiently retrain your cat, to try to eliminate the undesirable behaviors. Remember, there aren't bad cats, just uninformed cat owners.

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It's best to deal with problem cat behavior one step at a time, lest you frustrate your cat with too many do's and don'ts. That would make it difficult for her to learn just what you want from her. Start with the most serious problems first, like chewing electric cords. Take care of one problem before you start work on another.

If your cat behavior is problematic because she is seeking more attention, you probably are hearing excess vocalization from your feline. She has underlying causes for this behavior, and they may be emotional, physical or both. Make sure she doesn't have some pain issues before you punish her for excessive meowing. She might be in heat, or there might be another physical cause.

If your pet's cat behavior includes being aggressive towards people, this may have been caused by poor training when she was a kitten. Or it could be a fear response, and she may have been mistreated or neglected when she was young. You, as your cat's caregiver, will need to learn what you can do to prevent aggression, how to take care of it when it occurs, and how to slow this behavior down.

pictures_cats_love_2.jpgCats are territorial animals, so expect some uproar if you introduce a new cat into your home. Sometimes they will settle down quickly, and sometimes you will need to separate them - as unpleasant as that idea might sound. Usually, after the first few cat-fights, your felines will fall into a pecking order, and the fights should be fewer then.

If you experience cat behavior in the areas of destructive chewing and scratching by kittens and cats, it is a dangerous habit for them and it causes damage to your belongings. Address the causes before you start flinging slippers at your cats - they may be expressing boredom, curiosity or even a deficiency in their nutrient levels. If your cat scratches you or your furniture, check out all your options before considering de-clawing. This is no more humane than removing your own fingernails would be. You can even buy thin plastic claw-covers in bright colors, to keep your cat's scratching from destroying anything else.

Many cat behavior problems are actually related to health issues, or caused by the inadvertent miscues of your cat caregivers. Make sure to give your feline the benefit of the doubt, and work patiently with her when correction needs to be administered.

Article by Jenny Styles

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pictures_cats_litter.jpgIn our discussion of litter boxes and why cats pee outside the box, we've touched on litter box size, litter box odor and number of litter boxes as possible causes. And just as important as cleaning, size and number of litter boxes, is what you put inside the litter box. Today's discussion is about types of litter.

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The regular clay litter is the cheapest and most plentiful on the market. I mean you can get a huge bag that takes two people to carry for under $5.00. That's a plus, cheap litter at a time when most people are trying to save some money. But there are some disadvantages that may make Kitty not want to use the regular clay.

The clay produces a lot of dust, which can be harmful if inhaled, by you and your cat, and the dust tracks through the house on little paws. Often the clay contains additives like antibacterial agents and perfumes - which seem like a good idea, but your cat is very sensitive to smells so perfumes aren't the answer. And the clay gets really heavy when wet, so it can be hard to clean out the box.

Another problem is that many communities require that litter be put into the garbage, so it goes to landfills. Fortunately some communities are catching on and have included kitty litter in their community composting program - either they pick it up or you drop it off and it gets composted. But again, that's a lot of weight to be lugging around.

Clumping cats litters contain Bentonite which is highly absorbable and forms into clumps that can be removed when you remove the solid waste. Clumping clay really reduces odor and is often used in multi cat houses. But sodium bentonite can cause illnesses, especially gastrointestinal blockages and respiratory illnesses.

pictures_cats_litter_types.jpgThe bentonite clay can absorb up to 12 times it's weight in fluid which means that if kitty cleans his paws after using the litter box, he is eating some of clay and it can absorb liquids in his system and cause a blockage in his intestinal tract. The same can happen in his lungs if he breathes it in, it can block his air ways. Kittens are especially at risk but consult with your vet.

In both cases, clay can be economical but you end up using a lot of it to keep your cat happy and your litter box odor free. So in the end, that huge bag of litter may not be worth it, after you factor in your gas, time and effects on the environment. The health risks are also a little worrisome. Using a product that can harm your cat if swallowed, doesn't seem like a good choice.

If you are considering making a change or if you have a kitten I would consider a green product like world's best cat litter or President's Choice Green Twice as Absorbent Clumping Cat litter that's made from corn so it's natural, long lasting, safe, clumping, and is odor free and dust free. Oh and it can be flushed down the toilet. (more on that tomorrow)

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pictures_cats_dirty_litter_box.jpgImagine you are out for the day, someplace nice, someplace that you like to be...visualize the place... is it a shopping mall or an amusement park, a movie theatre... a public pool, a nice park or at the zoo? Ok, get a clear picture in your mind of a really nice, fun place to be. Got it? Ok. Now let me ask you a question.

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How would you feel if the bathroom to this really nice place was smelly, had toilet paper strewn all over the place, no running water and someone urinated on the floor? How would it make you feel to have to walk through the urine with your bare feet? How would you feel if you couldn't wash properly after?

Pretty disgusting image isn't it? I've been in my fair share of scuzzy bathrooms. Some of them, I've just turned right around and 'held it' until I could get to a clean bathroom. And other times, when I had no choice but to use the facilities, I've felt like I needed a shower after just walking in there, let alone getting half naked to do my business. Ok maybe this is too much information.. but you get the idea. I swear there have been times when I considered peeing in a bush somewhere instead of using the bathroom.

So now, imagine what it's like for your cat whose sense of smell is 4x more sensitive than a human's. If you think it smells bad, just imagine what it must smell like for Kitty!

And to make matters worse, imagine what it must be like to have to walk in there, dig around in dirty litter then cover it up. Then you have to lick your paws clean? That's what it's like for your cat to use a litter box that isn't kept clean.

Another issue with smelly, dirty litter boxes is that in your cat's mind, that smell is attracting predators. Your cat may feel vulnerable and frightened to use the litter box. In the wild, predators locate their prey by scent, so a smelly litter box is like a neon fast food sign to predators. That's why cats are so careful to clean themselves all the time.. they don't want to become the lunch special to a coyote!

So do your cat a favor and keep his litter box clean and I bet the peeing problem will go away. So here's what you have to do.

Pictures_cats_litter_box_scoop.jpg1. Scoop out the clumps and poop every day - yes I said every day, just go one day without flushing your toilet and you'll understand why you have to do it everyday! Some cats like it done twice a day.

2. Add in a little bit of fresh litter to replace the wet and soiled litter you scoop out every day. This only amounts to a cup or two of litter but it makes a big difference to Kitty because cats like a lot of litter to dig around in.

3. Once a week (or more if your cat is particular about her litter box), empty out all the litter, wash out the litter box with a mild detergent - dish soap works well, but nothing too harsh like bleach or perfumed because it smells way stronger to your cat than to you and you might end up with an unhappy cat peeing on the floor again. Then fill the litter box with fresh, clean litter.

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People are constantly complaining about litter box issues so I am taking sometime to get to the bottom of this issue, once and for all! I have a theory that if you have one cat, you need two litter boxes; two cats, three litter boxes; three cats, four litter boxes and so on.

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pictures_cats_litter_box.jpgI blogged about litter box size a few days ago but the number of litter boxes might be an issue your cat needs you to address. Most vets and cat experts will tell you that if you have one cat, one litter box is fine, and if you have more than one cat, you need one litter box for each cat, plus one more. Well, that advice is correct to a point. If your litter boxes are the correct size for your cat and you clean them out regularly, you may only need one box per cat plus one more.

But I have a theory that even if you only have one cat, you might need another litter box. If you think about it, it makes sense. In the wild cats don't eliminate in one place all the time, that would be suicide, all a predator would have to do is hide at the pooping place and wait for Fluffy to come along and then the predator would have an easy snack.

Also, you don't know what could be bothering your cat on any given day, cats are sensitive to their environments - maybe the phone has been ringing too often and the sound is bothering him, so he doesn't want to use his litter box where it is because he's afraid that darned phone is going to ring again and scare him right in the middle of a big poo. Or maybe you are doing some cleaning and you keep walking by his litter box several times a day. Any number of things can make your cat want to go somewhere else.

So by offering your cat a second (or third litter box) you are providing a more natural way to eliminate. A second location gives your cat an alternative if he is feeling anxious or if he is not entirely happy with the first litter box or its location.

Because cats are so particular and like to stay clean, one small, dirty litter box is sure to cause some stress in your cat and stress is the number one cause of peeing outside the box. So when you are placing your litter boxes think about what it might be like for a cat in the wild - would they want to pee close to their food...no, would the want to poop where there are loud, frightening noises...no, would they want to pee while people or other animals walk by...no, would they like a big light shining on them...no.

The litter boxes should be in nice, quiet, locations, and the litter boxes should be big enough for him to turn around and dig around and find the best position for eliminating. I'm going to put my second litter box far away from the first so that Neo has a choice about where he goes. I'll let you know how that goes.

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I get so many people emailing me about cats peeing outside their litter boxes. Even Neo does it and I thought he had a urinary tract infection, I've tried different types of litter, cleaning his litter box every day and putting his litter box in quiet areas. Everything they experts have suggested.

Cat_Litter_Box.jpgThe only thing he seems to like, is to go outside - so I let him out as often as I can, but that doesn't always work. But there is hope for all of us with the problem of cats urinating outside the litter box.

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According to Dr. Tony Buffington at Ohio State University, a litter box should be 1.5 x longer than your cat - that's 1 and a half cats!

Neo is about 20 inches long so an ideal cat litter box for him would 1.5 x 20 which equals 30 inches. The ideal litter box for Neo would be at least 30 inches long! When I measured him, I didn't include his tail because cats usually lift their tails out of the way when they use the litter box. Besides, Neo has a freakishly long tail!

30 inches is way longer than a standard litter box, so what can you do? A suggestion is to get one of those clear plastic storage containers. I'm going to find one this weekend and let Neo try it out. I'll let you know how it works.

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