Recently in Cat Communication Category

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.

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Leslie sent me this picture of her cat Mattie who was best friends with Leslie's dog, Poo until Poo passed away earlier this year. Now Leslie and Mattie are trying to develop a friendship so Leslie has a few questions. Read what she has to say and if you have any suggestions, please comment below.

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Leslie writes "A little over 3 years ago my dog Poo lost her best friend...my hubs cat, called Midnight, from old age. Two years ago at the vet's office Poo was getting her toenails clipped and a kitten came over to wrap herself around the legs of my tall lab dog. The kitten had been found on the vet's doorstep with the eyes not even open and he nursed it back to health turning it  into an office cat. The problem was that the cat was wild from being teased by kids coming into the office, and biting, hissing at anyone.

Midnight.jpg"But Poo loved that little kitten and the vet finally talked me into taking her home because he feared nobody would take it because it had a broken tail since birth. Now I don't have hubs to 'teach' me and Poo is gone but I don't want to give up on Mattie!

 

Long story shortened, Mattie Cat never took to me but would follow Poo around, sleep with her, play with her, etc. Mattie never let me pet her, touch her, etc. Now she is 2 years old and Poo passed away this year and she has had a rough time of it but has started coming around more, ie, sleeping on the bed with me (after I go to sleep & gets up as soon as I move out of bed), every once in awhile laying on my lap for no more than 5 minutes on a rare evening for petting. Growls at anyone that enters the house and threatens them, and in general is not very nice. Because I know little about cats I have read everything I can online but can't find solutions to the main one:

 

"How do I get her to like me more? How do I get her to let me brush her since this was not started as a kitten? Is it possible to help Mattie & I, please???"

Poo.labmix.jpg"Leslie, I am so sorry for your loss. Poo and Midnight were two unique and loving fur-children. But you can take comfort knowing that you gave them both a good home and they lived happy lives while they were with you. It is obvious from their shiny coats and healthy bodies that you took excellent care of them. With the commitment that you've shown, I've no doubt that Mattie and you will develop a long and happy relationship.

baby steps, Leslie, baby steps

It will take some patience on your part, but you will make progress in your relationship with her. Mattie has a history of hurt and mistrust of humans, her behavior sounds to me like she's afraid or anxious. There are ways to make her feel more comfortable and to win her over, but it will take some time. Cats are very different from dogs in the way the develop relationships. At the beginning, you will have to take her lead on this, but if you make a few changes in your reactions and responses to her, I'm sure you'll see some positive changes.

The best thing you can do is give Mattie attention when she wants it. Those brief moments when she sits on your lap, cherish them and use them to reinforce trust. One thing you can do to build trust is to give her "cat kisses" Cat kisses are long blinks when you look at her. In the cat world, closing your eyes says to a cat, "hey, I'm not a threat, you can trust me" and it works. You might even notice her blinking her eyes at you too.

That brings me to my next point, because cats are predators, (more so than dogs - dogs have a longer history with humans and are not true carnivores - but more on that another time) making eye contact with a cat, actually challenges the cat into aggressive or unfriendly behavior.

In your case, making eye contact with her could actually be scaring her or making her anxious (because of her history of being teased). If Mattie starts doing things that are aggressive catch her eyes and blink, or simply walk away from her. If you change the way you look at her and respond to her, you will go a long to way to making her more comfortable around you. Speak to her in a quiet, gentle voice too, that will help.

mattie.jpgAs for grooming her, this is what I suggest, wait until you've established a stronger relationship, then leave the brush out so she can smell it and chew it and get to know it. When you do try to brush her, brush her only on the parts of her body that you are allowed to pet. if that is just her head, or just behind the ears, or only on one side, then do it. Start slow, brushing only once or twice and give her treats, make it a rewarding experience. Cats are like kids and need positive reinforcement, she'll soon learn that when you brush her, there's a treat at the end.

Getting Mattie to like you will rely on the eye contact thing, but another thing you can do is give her some play time with you, get toys that are interactive and devote 10 or 15 minutes to play time with her every day. I don't know what she likes but a string on the end of stick that you shake around is usually a popular toy. Praise her and give her treats and always, always, remember the eye contact thing.

Let me know how this goes, I have more ideas but I think this will get you started in the right direction.

Take care,

Melanie

P.S. Post your ideas and comments below so we can all help Mattie and Leslie become closer.

The pictures in this post are from LesliePoobear.jpg

The big one at the top is Mattie at 3 months old. Second one is of Midnight, the hubs cat. that made Poo dog so lonesome when he passed. Third one is Poo. Fourth one is Mattie hiding under Poo's bed after Poo passed. Fifth one is Poo taking Mattie's toy & trying to run off w/it.

Click here for our past posts, our archives have hundreds of helpful cat information posts for cat lovers.  Please subscribe to our RSS feed if you're a cat person that likes cat related information, cat care advice and news.

 

If you're new here, please consider subscribing to my feed. If you love cats, you'll enjoy the posts we place online every day.  Thanks for visiting!

Choosing a name for your cat is a very personal thing. The name reflects your interests and the cat’s temperament. It is also something that you have to love because your cat will be with you for up to two decades! There are millions of names out there to choose from. To make your choice a little easier, consider this:Pictures_cats_picking_names.jpg

• Your cat’s personality – you might want a name that suits the cat’s temperament. If Kitty is very alert and playful, a name that reflects that, like Sparkles or Chili might work.

• The name should be easy for you to say - making it easy to say when you are calling him for dinner might be something to consider – imagine having to call his name while walking up and down the streets of your neighborhood!

• If you have more than one cat, you might consider finding names that go together. One suggestion is Alexander and Ivan, or Nike and Adidas.

• Your personality – keep your personality in mind too, your cat’s name reflects on you too, so select a name that reflects who you are as well. If you are an avid reader, naming a cat after a character of your all time favorite book is a great idea. I personally think this is an important point. Neo was named after the main character in the Matrix trilogy.

• How others will react to your cat. Some names cause people to shy away from your cat while others allow people to feel comfortable with your cat. Consider Sparta vs Cuddles. See what I mean, a cat named Sparta might make people fearful of your cat before they even meet him.

pictures_cats_names.jpgHere are some cat name websites to visit for ideas.

All Pet Names only has a few hundred, but the meanings of the names are listed too.

Cat Names Ideas has thousands of names alphabetized but no meanings.

Cat Names has the longest list of cat names I've seen, with some meanings - it includes names from other languages.

Click here for our past posts, our archives have hundreds of helpful cat information posts for cat lovers.  Please subscribe to our RSS feed if you're a cat person that likes cat related information, cat care advice and news. 

It may sound like the word "yummy" if you don't understand cat communication. What is sounds like to me is, "Get your camera out of my face, I'm trying to eat!"

Why do people torment their cats like this? The poor cat is eating and this woman has her video camera in the cat’s face, trying to get the cat to say “Yummy”. The cat behavior is telling us he is hungry and obviously feeling threatened by her getting so close during meal time.

This kind of thing makes me mad. The cat is clearly trying to communicate that he is angry, but she is disrespectful of him. I think if you want to have a good relationship with your cat, you have to listen to his cat communication and watch the cat's behavior. Just respect what he is trying to say.

It may be a funny cat video to us, but if you think about it, it's not that funny for the cat.

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Each sound your cat makes has its own meaning - cats speak their own language. It just takes time for humans to learn their language. Experts say there are three categories of vocal sounds a cat makes, and each category has a meaning of its own. So this is what the experts say. The three categories are:

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