Behaviors of Domestic Cats

Cats have been kept as domestic pets since ancient times. They are known as loyal, finicky and independent creatures. Their behaviors can tell us whether they have a physical ailment, are upset or worried or are happy and contented. (Catsinfo. com) When a cat rubs up against someone, they are showing ownership of that person and marking them as such. Cats can be quite finicky as to who they like and can even choose to ignore someone if they decide they do not like them. (Budiansky, 2002) A cat is naturally inclined to claw things such as furniture, drapes or rugs.

Many people have their cats declawed to prevent damage to these objects. While this was commonplace for many years, it is now becoming something of a controversy. Animal rights activists and many cat owners are comparing the procedure to amputation and vehemently oppose the practice. With time and effort, cats can be trained to use a scratching post. One problem for cat owners is the hazard that most house plants present to the cats. In the wild, cats eat grass to help with fur in their stomach. Many common house plants can be poisonous to cats if ingested.

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Hanging plants are not always safe since cats will climb furniture to reach them. Some owners have found that growning a small patch of grass in a container will keep the cats happy enough to leave the other plants alone. Many indoor cats use a litter box instead of the outdoors. In the wild, cats bury their feces to keep predators from scenting them. This behavior continues indoors as well. Cats are naturally clean animals and like the litter box to be clean as well. One of the main issues for cat owners is urination in an area other than the litter box.
There can be many causes for this behavior and it is trial and error until the problem is resolved. Finding the right litter box and type of litter can also be trial and error as some cats prefer one thing, some another. One reason for a cat to refuse to use the litter box is that it is not clean. If the litter box is clean, it may be a physical ailment such as a bladder infection or urinary tract infection. Any ailments should be treated by a veterinarian. A cat may show it is upset by urination outside the litter box as well.
Cats can be upset by any number of things such as changes in habitat, additions of new pets to the family or other changes. Watching a cat’s tail can be a good indication of the cat’s mood. A tail that is erect and held high indicates a friendly mood. A tail that is laying down and twitching usually indicates the cat is pensive or irritable. A tail held high and fluffed out is a good indicator that the cat will attack if provoked. (xmission, 2007) Cats show affection in several ways. Purring is the most commonly recognized behavior of a friendly, content cat.
A cat will purr when happy, many times while being petted. Cats will also rub against a person to show friendliness and also to mark the person as their. Cats have scent glands all over their bodies that enable them to mark their territory. property This is another behavior taken from the wild where they mark their territory against other animals invading it. Butting their heads against a person is another way of showing affection. Urinary spray is also a way for them to mark their territory but having them spayed or neutered at around six months of age will stop this behavior.
Cats are natural hunters and will stalk birds, small animals and toys. It is their instinct to hunt that causes them to pounce on toys and bat them around. Cats are good hunters and quite fast at times. Many farms keep cats as mousers in the barn and home. Cats will chase small toys or laser lights. This is the hunting instinct in them causing this behavior as cats are attracted by movement. Cats have a tendency to show attention to people who do not care for cats when they visit. This is due to a behavior in the wild that indicates submissivness.
Cats will look directly at another cat and show aggression if protecting territory or young. A cat who refuses to look directly at another cat or seems to ignore it is showing submission to the other cat. It is the same behavior in people who do not care for cats, they tend to look away or try to ignore the cat. This is an invitation to the cat to show dominance. A cat that is injured or in pain will tend to hide itself in a dark area. This is a behavior that often saves their lives in the wild. Injured or weak animals often become food for predators so hiding is a natural instinct.
Cats will often do the same thing indoors when hurt. It is important to remember that any injured or pained animal will strike out if frightened and extra care should be taken when attempting to extricate the cat from its hiding place. (xmission, 2007) Cats make wonderful pets and are relatively low maintantence due to their independent nature. They do not require constant attention or reassurance. They can be trained to overcome inappropriate behavior and are extremely affectionate when it suits them. Whether the cat is an indoor cat or an outdoor cat, the behaviors tend to be the same.
Instinct plays a large part in cat behavior and knowing these behaviors can lead to a satisfactory cat and owner relationship. Works Cited Budiansky, Stephen. “The Character of Cats: The Mystery Is Not Why They’re So Antisocial but Why They’re Social at All. ” The Atlantic Monthly June 2002: 75+. Questia. 26 Sept. 2007 <http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5002470654>. http://www. catsinfo. com Moore, Glenda. “Catstuff” Retrieved September 24, 2007 from http://www. xmission. com/emailbox/whycat. htm

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