CAT BEHAVIOUR

Cat Behaviour

Cats may seem like the most independent of creatures, but they are really quite social and do need a lot of attention. And even though they appear to nap constantly, they also need to be occupied, even when you're not around.

Cat capers

Cats love to play. Regular playtime helps cats maintain fitness, improve their social skills and mental alertness. It will also reduce the likelihood of them scratching up your furniture, carpets - and you. Perhaps the best thing about playing with your cat is that it will strengthen your mutual bond.

There are so many cat toys on the market today, you can build up a collection over time and rotate them to ensure your cat is constantly stimulated. When you're not at home, leave a toy to keep kitty happy. Spend time each day playing with your cat.

Encourage your cat to find its inner tiger through play and you'll see that domestic cats' behaviour is not so far removed from their wild ancestors after all. Their hunting habits in the wild translate to playful antics in the home. Anything that replicates the 'hunt' will keep your cat amused.

The mad dash

Ever seen a cat dashing around like mad, leaping over furniture, under tables and bouncing off the walls? It's their playful part of their behaviour through which they expend some of the energy they've conserved cat-napping all day. If you have a garden, let your cat out during the day so they have plenty of time to run around. Make sure they come in again at night.

Keeping your cats amused

There are many exciting ways for you to keep your cat occupied when you're not around. As modern life becomes busier and people are away from home most of the day, this has become increasingly important.

Cats are a little easier to leave home alone rather than dogs, as dogs need constant reassurance from their owners. Cats are quite easily amused and will often find the simpler things in life very stimulating.

Kittens and young adult cats love the opportunity to play-hunt almost anything you have lying around the house. Throw bottle tops on the floor, screw up newspapers, wiggle carpet fringes and waggle old socks at them. They will take up the game immediately: pouncing, leaping and running at their toy 'prey'.

Cats love scratching posts, climbing frames (they love to be up high), balls and toys with string or feathers. Most of the time cats will amuse themselves but they also need a daily dose from their owners. Spending time with your cat is really important as it allows you to maintain the bond you have with your animal. Another thing that you can try is having a bird feeder or a fish tank. Bird feeders will have to be in visible view outside and the fish tank will have to have a secure lid on it as they might decide to do a little fishing… which could be bad news!

If you really want to spoil your puss go the local pet shop and splurge on some treats. They will love you for it! Exercise is a must for cats, so take the time to sit around and spend some time hanging out with your furry friend.

Scratching

Scratching comes naturally to kittens and cats. It's a form of playing, which also has the benefits of keeping their claws in good condition and toning their back muscles. A multi-tiered scratching post will be an endless source of amusement for your cat (and could save your furniture).

Different levels give your cat plenty of leaping opportunities whilst the 'nest area' provides a well-protected vantage point from which to observe the house. Place your scratching pole in a high traffic zone of the house to allow your cat a good view of the entire living area.

Naming your kitten

Naming your kitten is fun and if you have a family it's a great way to get everyone involved in your new arrival. It's also important in kick-starting training and establishing a relationship with your new companion.

When selecting a name, try for something simple and avoid names that sound like commands as these will confuse your kitten. For example, 'Joe' sounds like 'no'. And don't pick something you'll be embarrassed to call aloud - a name needs to suit both you and your cat.

Once you have settled on a name, use it every time you play with, stroke, feed, or talk to your kitten.

Managing cat fights

If you live in a multi-cat household you are bound to see some fighting amongst your feline tenants. Causes of in-house fighting vary and may include 'playing', sexual aggression or territorial aggression.

You can help avoid fighting by spaying or neutering your cats, which reduces aggression levels, and by not keeping too many cats. In the event of a fight, you should never physically intervene but there are others ways you can break it up - try turning on the vacuum cleaner or hissing loudly as a distraction.

When the fight is over, it can pay to separate the cats, giving them time to get over the scrap. Any visible bite wounds or deep scratches should be given prompt veterinary attention.

Adopting an adult cat

For people looking to bring a cat into their lives, there are numerous advantages to adopting an adult cat, opposed to a kitten.

Adult cats are much less destructive than young kittens, and it is easier to discern their size and personality and so avoid the surprises that can come with a kitten's growth. Being more subdued and settled, adult cats will learn a new owner's routine quicker than a kitten, and they are often safer if you have young children.

Also, because the adoption rate of adult cats is lower than that of cute kittens, animal shelters are usually overrun with fully grown cats. So by choosing an adult cat, you will be reducing the strain on shelters, as well as giving a second chance to a loving and deserving pet.

Search for and block any small spaces or holes in and around your home and always be sure your kitten doesn't get shut in drawers, cupboards or your clothes dryer. If you have a yard, check your fence for gaps and ensure any swimming pools or fish ponds are fenced off.

If you have a yard, be sure to check your fence for gaps and ensure any swimming pools or fish ponds are fenced off. Also be aware of the plants you have in your garden - some can be dangerous to cats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DR. CHRIS BROWN

Want expert advice and great health tips for your pet? Sign up to receive quarterly updates from Dr Chris Brown.

Chris Brown
RECEIVE UPDATES FROM CHRIS