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50 Cat Behaviours Explained

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by KittenKong, Sep 3, 2018.


  1. KittenKong

    KittenKong PetForums VIP

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    #1 KittenKong, Sep 3, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  2. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    Hmm. Not sure where they got this interpretation from :rolleyes:

    4) Uncovered Poop
    Cats can actually clean up after themselves most of the time. But when they leave their poop uncovered, it is for a reason. Your cat is expressing anger, usually with his owner. If you keep finding uncovered poops, you may have some issues to resolve with your cat.
     
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  3. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Hides away from much through humour...

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    That's a dreadful article, containing incorrect and potentially damaging information.


    2. Low meow. This sound is not so cute. Cats release low meows when they are irritated or ready to defend themselves. When you hear this noise, be extra attentive to your cat.

    I think they are referring to a growl. I'm not sure what they mean by 'be extra attentive' but I wouldn't recommend trying to touch or comfort a growling cat.


    3. Uncovered poop. Cats can actually clean up after themselves most of the time. But when they leave their poop uncovered, it is for a reason. Your cat is expressing anger, usually with his owner. If you keep finding uncovered poops, you may have some issues to resolve with your cat.

    No no no no no!!!!!!! I'm actually angry myself reading that! :Rage A cat who doesn't cover its poo in the tray may dislike the litter type, or be experiencing pain when attempting to do so (for example arthritis).


    6. Staring With An Open Mouth. This one looks bizarre, but it does have a reason. Sometimes a cat will open his mouth to smell out of the roof of his mouth, especially when the scent is too complex for his nose. This is known as 'fleghming'.

    It's usually just 'flehmen'.


    15. Purring. Purring is actually relaxing to a cat. Not only will a cat purr when it is comfortable, but cats will also purr to make themselves more comfortable. A purring cat is a happy cat.

    Not always. Purring can also be exhibited by cats who are distressed or in pain.


    16. Twitchy tail. If the tip of your cat’s tail is twitching, he is excited and focused. This is usually the case when he is hunting. Let your cat capture his prey, and he will calm back down.

    Or he's angry / uncomfortable.


    17. Drooling. Just like in humans, a cat may drool as a sign of affection. This doesn’t happen with every kitty, but if your cat is drooling he is definitely in love with you.

    Or nauseated, or neurological, or has mouth pain. The statement is true for behavioural drooling but I think it would be better to make it clear that there are medical reasons as well.


    21. Grumpy when you leave the house. If your cat gets an attitude every time you leave, it is because he never wants to let you go. Your cat sees you as the leader of the pack, and he wants to spend the whole day by your side.

    What pack? Cats are not small dogs! Yet more misinformation perpetuating the myth that cats have the same social structure as dogs, which they most definitely do not. Lions aside, cats live solitary lives. Domestic cats may live in small social groups in certain circumstances. They are not pack animals, and I'm pretty sure they don't see us as their 'leaders'.


    23. Exposing their belly. A cat’s belly is his most vulnerable part. If he exposes it to you, it means he trusts you completely. It is also a sign that your cat wants affection.

    But not necessarily an invitation to touch the belly, which can be a breach of that trust. Doing it to the wrong cat at the wrong time can get you scratched or bitten.


    24. Bunting. This is when your cat repeatedly bonks his head into you. It may seem strange, but this is your cat’s way of saying, “I love you.” Just think of it as a way of trying to get attention.

    No mention of feline facial pheromones and the role of head rubbing in marking objects.


    25. Scratching your chair. Cats need to scratch so that their claws don’t get too long. But if your cat insists on scratching wherever you are, it is all about you. He can’t stand that you might have something to think about other than him.

    What? Cats also scratch to distribute pheromones onto whatever they are scratching. It's another way of marking territory. They will often do so at specific places eg entry points, to help mark out the edge of their territory. I've never heard that it's an attention-seeking thing primarily (though I'm sure a learned behaviour can develop in cats who realise that scratching something gets their owners attention, negative or otherwise).


    27. Love bites. Cats like to play, and it is in their nature to play hunting games for sport. Your cat might gently swipe at you or give you little love bites. As long as they are small and controlled, your cat is just trying to be playful.

    Not to be encouraged IMO, especially not in kittens (who then grow into adult cats who don't know how that human hands and feet are not playthings).


    31. Low tail. If your cat’s tail is straight and low, this means he feels scared or guilty. Look around the room for a mess; your cat may be ashamed of his previous actions. If your cat is feeling frightened, be sure to behave gently and sweetly.

    No no no no no! Cats do not feel 'guilt' or 'shame'. If you cat is reacting like this after a toileting incident or damage to something, its because they are frightened of your reaction. Maybe you are displaying anger because you are... well, angry. Or maybe you have form for yelling at your cat when things like this happen. This is nearly as bad as 'rubbing their nose in it' when they pee or poo in the house. You won't teach your cat not to do it, but you will make them scared of you.


    32. Lowering tail. If your cat’s tail starts high and straight and then lowers, this is a sign of grief. Your cat feels afraid and is in need of comfort. As the cat owner and leader, it is your job to make sure your kitty feels secure.

    See point 21. We are not seen as 'leaders' by our cats.


    33. Big eyes. If your cat’s pupils are dilated, this is a sign that he is feeling playful. Break out the toys and have a play date with your cat. He will love it.

    This can occur with playfulness, but also extreme fear.


    35. Slow blinking. This is a sign that your cat feels calm and comfortable…and maybe a little sleepy. Slow blinks are like a cue for cuddles. If you have the time, show your cat some love.

    On the contrary, it can also mean that the cat is very nervous and uneasy. We see this all the time in cats in frightening situations like the vet's. The 'slow blink' is frequently used to say 'I'm not a threat to you', and may be exhibited by cats who are trying to avoid conflict.


    44. Closed eyes. In the wild, closing one’s eyes will leave an animal completely exposed. If your cat closes his eyes around you often, it means he trusts you.

    Or he's asleep - LOL.


    48. Burying poop. This actually isn’t the product of good manners. As hunters, cats hate to leave their scent in case a bigger animal is near. They will cover their poop to block the smell, protecting themselves from being preyed on.

    I should think so - which is why the bit earlier about cats failing to cover poop because they are 'angry at their human' is so backwards, and verges on disgraceful as an example 'information' to put out there.


    49. Licking wounds. Like other animals, cats like to lick their wounds to heal them. Their saliva contains enzymes that allow them to control blood cell activity and clotting, so licking a wound will help it to scab over faster.

    This old chestnut... :rolleyes: in fact, excessively licking wounds delays healing and can introduce infection. The very same bacteria a cat would introduce into a wound by licking cause cat bite abscesses, remember.


    50. Knocking things over. This is definitely the worst habit that cats have. There are a few reasons why your cat might love knocking over your favorite objects. Perhaps he is upset that you are not giving him enough attention, or maybe he’s practicing his hunting skills.


    Yeah I really have no idea why cats do this, but it's annoying. :Hilarious
     
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  4. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Hides away from much through humour...

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    Numbers 3 and 31 should be removed from the list as they contain potentially harmful information. The rest are livable with, if a little inaccurate here and there.
     
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  5. KittenKong

    KittenKong PetForums VIP

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    Oh dear, didn't expect this backlash.
    Thought it was generally light hearted and uplifting with some lovely images of cats in addition.

    Clearly it has upset some of you here. I hear what you're all saying, especially taking on board CK's words.

    Thought I'd better delete the original post. Forget I ever mentioned it.....
     
    #5 KittenKong, Sep 3, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  6. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    Totally agree with all of your points @Ceiling Kitty

    My only additional comment seeing as we are busting misconceptions is that dogs don't see humans as pack leaders either. The whole alpha and pack leader thing was based on erroneous research based on a study of captive zoo wolves conducted in the 1930s and 1940s by Swiss animal behaviorist Rudolph Schenkel, in which the scientist concluded that wolves in a pack fight to gain dominance, and the winner is the alpha wolf. Rather than study a pack of wild wolves whose makeup is one of parents and offspring rather like human families, his study group was a collection of unrelated strange wolves whose behaviour in a stressful captive setting on no way reflected normal behaviour.

    This incorrect interpretation was then used by David Mech and others as the basis of wolf behaviour and further extrapolated to apply to dogs. Whilst dogs did decend from wolves, thousands of years of evolution and coexistence with man means that inferring behaviours from their long distant wolf ancestors is also erroneous.

    Unfortunately this school of thought has been taken up by a variety of dog trainers including a certain TV "trainer" and used to justify dominance and pack leader and alpha styles of dog training.

    For the record dogs don't view humans as other dogs, they are not trying to battle you to be the boss and showing dominance is not necessary to assert your position, neither is pretending to eat out of your dog's bowl, walking out the door first (unless on safety grounds :) ) or not letting the dog sit on the sofa.

    Dogs just want a human who shows them what is required in a kind clear and positive way and who looks out for their best interests.

    Whilst cats and dogs have different social structures neither have or want pack leaders.

    Apologies to CK for going off on a bit of a rant but just wanted any lurkers or those unfamiliar with dogs that the pack leader references still out there in literature and on the web are just wrong.

    PS Even David Mech agreed that the research findings were incorrect and retracted his interpretation.

    https://positively.com/dog-training/myths-truths/pack-theory-debunked/
     
    #6 kittih, Sep 3, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  7. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    No one is having a go at you @KittenKong - the cute pics were great :) It was a good example of how much there is out there about our pets that gets parcelled up as "information" that is just plain wrong.

    The problem is, like you discovered, it all sounds perfectly reasonable and interesting. However most of these factoid type articles just churn out the same old information and because that's what everyone sees and because it is passed on word of mouth, people believe it is true.

    We are really lucky here on Cat chat to have lots of people that really have a great understanding of the intricacies of cat behaviour who can tease out the fact from the fiction.

    It's a great reminder for all of us that not everything we read is correct but it's also a great opportunity to learn about our kitties.

    Thanks for sharing the article. Even though it didn't get the reception you hoped it still turned into a very useful thread and hopefully the lurkers and readers will have learned lots of useful stuff. :)
     
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  8. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    Well said :)
     
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  9. moggie14

    moggie14 PetForums VIP

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    Erm, on the subject of not covering poop :oops:
    Dexter very often doesn't. He isn't angry with me, or dislikes the litter, or uncomfortable. He just can't be arsed sometimes ;)
    On a serious note, I have heard that this can be a dominating behaviour. Either way I kinda disagree with most of these theories :)
     
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  10. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Hides away from much through humour...

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    Not upset, just irritated - at the article and whoever researched it, not at you for sharing it!

    @kittih has already said it best - the trouble with these sorts of articles is that they rehash old information, some of it good but some of it bad.

    The pictures were cute and FWIW I think you should reinstate the link here. It's educational if nothing else.
     
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  11. KittenKong

    KittenKong PetForums VIP

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    Thanks, I knew no one was getting at me personally and you had every right to point out anything that irritated/concerned you.

    I couldn't restore the link if I wanted to as I can no longer find it!

    Goes to show how better it would be to seek advice here rather than rely on such articles. It popped up as a FB ad rather than me looking for it.
     
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  12. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Hides away from much through humour...

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