Are you a cat person or a dog person? The nice thing is, you don’t need to pick one or the other to love. We love animals, no matter what species. It’s just that dogs are more involved with our lives a lot of the time, and cats come and go as they please. So this means cats are all fine, aren’t they?
The quick answer to this is – no, they aren’t, and we miss the signs because cats don’t make it obvious! Cats do not have the same number of facial muscles as dogs, largely because they probably haven’t needed us to communicate with in quite the same way as dogs. They are a fascinating and lovely species, so let’s learn more about them.
Cats can and do suffer myriad behaviour problems, often without obvious complaint. Their problems appear quietly, with a range of initially annoying but easy to ignore issues such as the occasional spat with a neighbourhood cat, or scratching the furniture now and again. However, these issues can develop into more obvious signals that all is not well; spraying urine indoors, toileting in the bath, or leaving for good.
The saddest thing about stress and behaviour problems in cats is that many problems can be easily resolved by us owners making the right choices for them for toys, companionship and exercise – it goes far beyond them turning their noses up at the bowl of tasty dinner that you presented.
What kinds of things do cats not always cope well with? Well, a key one that people do not realise is that many cats do not like to be in multiple cat households. They do not always like to share their space with other cats (and sometimes aren’t keen on humans being around either). Never feel like your cat needs a companion just because they are an ‘only’ cat. In a multiple cat household, many cats in one home territory cause stress-related issues such as spraying, inappropriate toileting, as well as aggression.
How about cat toys? Well, they need to move in a certain way, and to make sure your hands are out of reach! Fishing rod toys, have a long rod to protect hands and prevent cats learning that human hands are to be grabbed or scratched.
Even for older cats, scratching posts, toys, and boxes can attract them away from testing out their claws and scent marks on furniture and wallpaper.
To make toys more interesting and to guarantee you know what’s inside, a refill tub of catnip can be obtained separately. Just visit your local pet shop (call first to check their Covid safety regulations!) and you can choose from a wide selection.
Next week we will look at more ways to help your cat, so stay ready to pounce on the next column!
Yes, cats are known to be inscrutable, but their behaviour tell us more about them than we often think. Did you know that if your cat is wagging her tail at you that is not a good sign? (She’s angry.) Or what it means if her pupils are dilated? (She’s scared.) Or if she’s kneading your leg? (She s showing appreciation.) Getting straight to the point, The Purrfect Guide to Thinking like a Cat doesn’t waste time on lengthy and complicated explanations that you will never finish reading let alone put into practice. Instead, in brief instructions the book explains how to understand your cat s behaviour and how you can adapt your own behaviour to make the most of your relationship.