The 20 Keys To Understanding Your Cat

A cat can be a very welcomed addition to any family if the conditions are right. The trouble is, a lot of people do not fully understand cats and what makes them the way that they are. The more time that you spend understanding your new cat’s behaviors and personality, the happier that the cat (and you) will be. While you can spend hundreds of dollars in self-help books intended to put you on the same mental wavelength as your pet, you could also just apply these keys to understanding you cat into your daily life. Below you will find 20 points to consider and better understand about how your cat acts, what your cat will want to do, and how to make life better for your pet overall. 

Your Cat Doesn’t Want To Be Alone  

Much along the same vein as your cat being misconstrued as an independent creature, they also do no want to be alone. While their peaked curiosity might send them to different areas of your home without you there with them, cats instinctively crave companionship from either human owners or other cats that they encounter. Even feral cats are often seen in packs or groups, and can recognize other members of that group and work cooperatively to reach certain goals. In many ways this need to be around someone or something else on a regular basis negates the independence theory completely, showing that cats do in fact crave attention and your personalized care over their well-being. 

Cats Are Not Solely Independent Creatures  

There is a camp of people that firmly believe that cats are these independent creatures that really want nothing to do with you or being domesticated at all. This group of people is completely convinced that your cat’s instincts to be feral and a wild animal supersede any want or desire they have to be owned or cared for by a human. The misconception stems from the curiosity of cats in general and the fact that they are typically not the type to spend hours doting on the humans in the house like other pets might. They are almost constantly surveying their surroundings when they are awake and alert, which leads them to venture off on their own for large portions of the day to discover new things and to patrol the entire house to prevent unwanted intrusions. You might consider this behavior to be the same as a guard dog warding off criminals and other creatures, with the exception that cats are less inclined to alert their owners to potential threats and instead, (depending on the personality of your cat) fight or flee from the situation.

Your Cat Craves Companionship

More than simply not wanting to be alone, scientists have discovered that domesticated and feral cats alike look to their surroundings to find another creature or human to pair off with This need is buried deep within their natural born instincts, and is a method of survival through what could be deemed uncertain conditions. Even when the threat from the environment and concern for food and water has been successfully sated, your cat is still in need to pair up with you or another cat for its life. This lends stock to the theory that cats are better behaved and happier overall when they have another cat in their life. This companionship is best started from the time of being a kitten, as the change in family dynamic could stress and worry an older cat. If you are considering another addition of a cat to your house, this is a decision that is best made when your pet now is at a young enough age to make the adjustment. 

Litter Box Problems  

Most of the litter boxes that you will find on the market are designed specifically to be convenient to you, and rarely take into account the needs of your cat. While your cat might be perfectly fine with the box that they have and use it regularly, there are many problems that your cat could face with the litter box that you have purchased for them. A lot of times, these boxes are far too small for your cat to use easily, especially considering a cat’s specific needs to cover their “creations” with the litter that you have filled the box with. Being unable to find a spot that they can use and then cover might then encourage your cat to choose to relieve themselves elsewhere in your home, since their instincts tell them not to use a box that they have a hard time fitting in or utilizing the litter inside of.

Your Cats Need To Clean

You might have noticed that your cat is giving itself a bath all the time. There is a specific reason for that being case, and it has a lot more to do with the needs of your cat and not their apparent boredom or lack of anything better to do. It is in every single cat’s nature to stay as clean as possible, and based on how they feel about the cleanliness of their coat or other parts, will repeatedly clean the area until they feel like the problem has been resolved. You might consider these events to be like mini showers or baths for you cat that will target specific areas that your cat has considered to have gotten dirty again since the last bathing. This is a good reason that unless absolutely imperative, you do not attempt to give your cat a normal bath like you would other kinds of animals, as their aversion to water could be hazardous to your arms and hands during an unexpected bath time. 

Your Cats Tail Can Tell You A Lot

Much like other animals, your cat can tell you quite a lot through its body language and movements. The tail of your cat specifically has a story to tell every single time that you see it, and can instantly give you an indication of how your cat is feeling and its overall mood. The more that you can pick up on cues like this, the better you will understand your cat and be able to provide an environment that they are happy to be in and comfortable. For example, a high swinging tail can indicate to owners that the cat is happy and playful. A rigid tail that is sticking straight up or straight out could be an indication that the cat is afraid or preparing to fight/pounce on something. Finally, a tail that is curled underneath the cat (between its legs) is a sign of fear and submission, and that could indicate that the cat is feeling overly threatened by something in the house.

Misbehavior Might Be Relative To Uncleanliness  

Have you ever wondered why your cat might be behaving abnormally or outright bad and thought: well, I could be the problem? Of course, you haven’t. But the fact is, there are many times in which a cat might be simply trying to get your attention focused on something that is bothersome to them by getting your complete focus through inappropriate behaviors. Cleanliness is often a big concern among this kind of response, as cats are very big on being very clean. If areas they have designated for themselves have been cluttered, dirtied or improperly cleaned (like a litter box), they might respond in negative fashions in order to get you to pay attention to something that is troublesome to them.

Gifts In The Form Of Dead Animals

There are a lot of theories surrounding why outside cats, and even indoor ones, might present dead animals in a place where you are sure to find them. While often times these creatures have been partially eaten (as your cats natural hunting instincts would encourage them to do), why on earth would they choose to give you the remains? Scientists and behavior specialists have narrowed this down for two possible (and most likely) reasons as to why you might wake up one morning to a half-eaten mouse on your kitchen floor. The first of these is the most widely recognized, and it is a present to you. Much like you feed them and give them presents like new toys, they are simply returning the favor with this dead animal. The other plausible theory is that cats understand that their human companions are typically inadequate hunters, which encourages them to help you stay fed as they would for their young.

Cats Have To Play  

Playtime is very important for a cat. Understanding the nature of how much energy they want to spend when they are awake can help you to appreciate the need for toys and structures designed to help them get out their energy and stay relaxed and calm when they are not at play throughout your house. Catnip toys encourage cats to be even more active than some of them might care to be otherwise, which can help them to be calmer throughout other phases of their day. This is an especially critical component to the daily life of kittens and younger cats, as they will have a lot of energy and nervousness that they have to work through in order to be calmer overall. This can certainly save you a few broken items that might be knocked off of shelves as young cats work through their balled up energy. 

Cats Are Not Nocturnal Creatures As You Might Have Heard

It has been a long-standing theory that cats were nocturnal creatures. Especially in the world of domesticated cats, owners have been remarking for years and years about how their cats will stay up through large portions of the night. The truth in all of this is that cats are not nocturnal, but they are also not daytime creatures either. Cats have no discernable sleep schedule and will wake and sleep as the need arises. While this might end up with several hours every night when your cat is up and about, you might also find that an equal time is spent doing the same thin when the sun is up. 

The Science of Your Cat’s Ears  

Your cat’s ears, much like their tails, can give you a clear idea of how they are feeling. Cat’s have the ability to move their ears freely, following a sound with on particular ear or another. Additionally, you might notice that there are times when a cat’s ears are sticking straight up and pointed, indicating that their interest in something has been peaked. Slouchy ears can either indicate comfort and trust or submission and fear, which based on the elements in the room they are in should be easy enough to determine. Pay close attention to body language from your cat, as it can speak very clearly to you.

Your Cat Needs To Sleep  

While it might seem like all your cat does is sleep some days, this is a critical element to their overall happiness and wellbeing. Much like you need a certain amount of sleep to function appropriately for your daily activities, cats determine this need each and every day. Some days they require less sleep as they’ve done less rigorous activities while other days it might seem like all you’ve seen your cat doing is sleep. When this is the case, it is best not to disturb them if you don’t have to. A well-rested cat is a happy one, and they can have adverse emotional reactions to being sleep deprived. 

Perches and Special Spots  

One of the things that you might not have known about your cat is that they like to have things that are just theirs alone. Certain spots and toys, for example, can be a safe haven and a comfort to cats when other elements in their life might be changing or when they become stressed. You might consider this point and purchase perches or fake trees for your cat to allow them a place to scratch their claws (that isn’t your furniture) and a place that they can easily see and understand is just for them.

Playtime Is Critical For Your Cat

While we have briefly touched on the need for cats to have toys and exercise throughout their day to get out some of their energy, you might not realize that you can play an important part in this beyond getting the toys for them. Since cats crave attention at times and need your companionship, they often want you to actively be engaged in the games they are playing and the toys they are playing with. Have you ever seen a cat play fetch? They will if you actively engage them when its playtime. This strengthens the bond between you and your cat, and can also provide some precious memories as well. 

Cats Benefit From Being Outside  

Your cat might be intended to be kept indoors, but most cats crave the feel and the air of the outside world. If you cannot provide them this safely, you might consider a screened area on your porch that your cat can come out to and see the world around them and hear the sounds of the other wildlife without the threat of dogs or your cat running away when it becomes overly stimulated. If you live in a more secluded area, you might consider taking your cat for a walk to get them to experience the outside world in a controlled way. 

A Cat’s Aversion To Water  

It is commonly understood that cats simply do not like to be in water. This has a lot to do with the fact that cats are very clean creatures by nature, and a body full of wet fur would undoubtedly need to be cleaned thoroughly before they could feel alright about it again. Ultimately, the solution for most cats is to avoid water at all costs. This extends in some ways to their water dishes as well, as most cats are not thrilled with the idea of getting the water they need to drink from a bowl. Instead, they will drink plenty of water from a running source (and that is why companies sell waterfall style water dishes for cats)

Domestic Cats Still Like To Hunt  

Much along the same lines as why you might get dead animals as a gift from time to time, you have to consider the instinctive nature of cats to hunt their prey. This might present itself in several strange ways, from a cat preparing to pounce on a helpless toy they have left out in the middle of the floor to their literal hunting of creatures that might have found their way inside of your home. Either way, this is a behavior that is to be expected and encouraged. For one, no one wants a mouse on the loose in their house eating contents of cupboards and cabinets, and secondly, you want your cats instincts and senses to stay sharp and focused as they grow up. 

Keep Your Pet Stress Free 

There are a lot of things that can happen that will completely stress a cat out. Once anxiety has set in on your feline companion, there is little that you can do but wait it out until they can get comfortable with their surroundings and situation again. A highly stressful event for a cat, for example, is moving to a new home (even if it is with the family that they know and care about). The best thing that you can do is to limit the time that they have to be in animal crates in transport from one place to another, and ensure that when they do get into your new place, familiar things are set up that they can play with or lay on to assess their new environment. 

Limit Changes To Your Routine  

Stress for your cat might also show itself in other ways, such as you not being home at a time when you would normally be expected to come back. Cats are rarely going to greet you at the door and attempt to leap into your arms like a dog might, but they do have a solid internal clock that can indicate when something is different than it usually is. Extend this same principle to feeding your cat and other parts of their daily routine, ensuring that as you are able to, the time of these events is relatively the same every day. This will add some structure to the life of your cat, and discourage behaviors like demanding food at odd times of the day.

The Curiosity You’ve Heard So Much About

Cats are indeed curious creatures, and this is one of the things that has made them internet sensations and beloved pets to people around the world. They get into places that they probably shouldn’t, sleep in strange places that they have recently discovered, and set out on new adventures like finally successfully jumping from the arm of the couch to a nearby desk. Their playful and curious nature is one that will have you laughing at times, but it is also relatively harmless. While there are certain things that you should keep up from your cat and prevent them from messing around with, for the most part, this is an endearing feature that should be a welcomed commodity to your home.

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