10 Perplexing things cats do!
Opening your heart and home to a cat is an experience like no other. It’s not like living with a dog, a bird or a hamster. Feline companions are fascinating in that they are domesticated, yet retain many of the natural instincts and behaviours of their wild cousins. But here are some habits of cat that will perplex he pet parent.
Cat lovers are also unique, because there are things about sharing life with a kitty that only ‘cat people’ truly understand.
You belong to your feline: Your need privacy…what’s that? Kittens figure out early on that a human on a toilet is a good audience for vocalisation and head butting, where they will repeatedly butt their head on your lower leg and rub against you. But don’t you dare repeat this same thing to your cat, believe it, it will not be appreciated. Cats like privacy when they are in their own litterbox.
The house belongs to the cat: If you have a cat, you know that every square inch of space you own is actually your cat’s. Anyone with the audacity to shrink Fluffy’s territory by closing doors to certain rooms will live to regret it – especially if he on one side of the door while the kitty is on the other. There will be howling, scratching, thumping, and paws appearing and disappearing under the door. More than a few clever cats have figured out how to work door handles after being locked out of rooms in ‘their’ house.
Suckling on your body: Some cats are rather strange, in that they love to suckle on the body parts of their humans. If you are blessed with one such cat, consider yourself lucky. If the cat can’t get to the body parts, they will make do with clothes.
Hiding in anything they can: Cats just love to hide, and if you think you have lost your cat, look in the hampers, nooks and crannies, behind the blinds, under the bed, even in your closet a little more carefully. And once you find them, let them be for a bit, because they won’t like being pulled out.
All sunny spots belong to the cat: Cats don’t like the cold, but rather, like a temperature of about 35oC, something that would be about 20oC above a human’s comfort range. So they figure out creative ways to stay warm. They will find patches of sunshine streaming in through the window, and they will stretch in it. Now, these patches might fall anywhere, on the floor, on furniture, on a windowsill, or right in the middle of your desk or the kitchen counter as you’re working. And rest assured that your cat will be found on these patches, no matter how inconvenient it is for you.
If it moves, it’s prey: Cats like particularly small and squeaky objects, which is why most cat toys resemble small rats, and almost always squeak. Now, ‘it’ could be anything, and if ‘it’ moves quickly, furtively, or is underneath something, your cat will chase it. Obviously this makes for a very long list of ‘prey’ around the house, including anything real or imagined moving under bed covers, paperwork, and area rugs. It also includes your ankles if kitty happens to be stalking you as you walk from room to room, and your toes if you move them underneath the sheets as you sleep.
A cat’s backend is every bit as cute as his frontend: This doesn’t really need an explanation, does it? Your cat’s butt is as cute as her face. If she comes and lies down on your chest, with her rear end facing you, trust me, she is being just as affectionate if her face were facing you. You scratch his head or stroke the fur on his back, and the next thing you know, his tail is raised and his bottom is an inch from your face. Your cat is just being sociable…no offense.
The human head is an excellent rubbing post: You’re fast asleep, and suddenly, you feel a furry, wriggly creature rubbing and sliding up against your head. Panic not, it is just your cat. Cats love rubbing against things as much as they enjoy belly rubs. And it is your job as your cat’s servant to be available anytime she needs either of the above. This can be difficult if you are allergic, or sensitive to cat fur or dander, but so what! If your cat is determined to shove her head under your nose, she will. Many cats also head butt the top of their human’s head. If your kitty does this, she’s rubbing her scent on you so that everyone knows you belong to her.
The best time to meow really loud is at night when the house is quiet: 4 am? Everyone is asleep? Perfect time to run from one end of the house to the other at full speed and making as much noise as possible. This is of course not taking into account the meowing and vocalisation. It isn’t mealtime, they aren’t hurt, they aren’t saying ‘Hullo’. Eventually, you’ll learn to sleep through it all.
If you scold them, they will run away: But only about five feet, and then turn around and stare at you, quizzically at first, challengingly later. It will annoy you, you will hate it, but they will look so adorable doing this that you will forget all about it in about five minutes.
(Garima Singhal is KCAI accredited feline behaviourist, neurobiologist, school teacher and a long-term pet parent)