We often do things unwittingly or reward behaviour without realising the consequences of our actions, then have to live with the results!
Here is my biggest mistake!
I taught my cats to meow, yes that’s right I taught them to meow and now they do it all the time.
It all started when they were just tiny little kittens. Back then they didn’t say a word, quite as a mouse (he he). When they did try to meow it was this silent little open mouth that didn’t make a sound. So how did it all go so wrong.
Well it started so cute and innocent, when I would arrive home Shadow (my cat) would come up to me and silently open her mouth and so I would talk back. So started the oh so cute and slippery slope, when she would do this I would alway talk back to her and give her attention, thus rewarding her. As time went on her meows started to become louder and louder all the while I was still rewarding her behaviour, talking to her and showing her attention.
By the time I realised what I was doing it was too late, she was “talking” to me all the time. My Wife said to me “Look what you’ve done” this is all your fault, and it was.
Shadow was doing it so much that her very silent “up till now” sister Frosty took up the habit. Now I have 2 noisy meowing cats and only myself to blame. I have accepted my mistake now and learnt from it. What started out so cute and fun turned into a quite annoying and disruptive behaviour especially when trying to work from home or take a business call.
Now i’m not saying don’t talk to your cats, it’s very important to communicate with them. If the only time you talk to them and show them attention is when they meow at you then expect them to do it all the time.
Accepting my mistake and changing my behaviour I am now retraining them to not meow so much. Yes it’s possible, it takes a lot of time and patience to achieve.
Its important we think about what behaviour we are teaching our cats and understand often it is us not them to blame. A cute biting and scratching game as a kitten can turn into a quite serious behaviour issue later in life.
Tell me about what cute/annoying habit have you taught your cats.
The short answer is – NO you should absolutely not cut cat whiskers!
The end … wow that was easy lol! Just kidding…
Let’s get into it further, people often make the mistake of assuming cat whiskers are like human hair. Whiskers are actually touch receptors used for sensing their environment. These long stiff hairs are called vibrissae. They are much larger and are deeper in the cat’s body than their fur coats. They connect into the sensitive muscular and nervous system sending information of their surroundings, giving them a heightened sense of feeling and helping the cat detect changes around them, like a kitty radar!
Don’t cut them, they are important!
Cutting them is a really big no no! Cutting or even trimming these hairs can cause your cat to become disorientated, stressed and frightened. All of our senses are so important to do the simple things we take for granted, a short while ago I got labyrinthitis (basically inflammation of the labyrinth or inner ear) it causes damage to the balance part of your ear and makes you feel like you are drunk. I couldn’t stand or walk, and took 3 months to recover. It seemed like such a small change but had a huge impact on a simple thing like standing or walking. Cat whiskers are exactly like this, an important sensor used to guide them in their environment. Cut them off and they can become disoriented, frightened and stressed. Yes – whiskers will grow back but they need them intact to alert them of potential situations.
They help them feel
Whiskers have sensitive nerves at the ends. This makes them very sensitive to small changes around them, from gauging if they can fit in tight spaces to changes in the air when playing or chasing prey.
Whiskers indicate mood
Whiskers can also serve as a mood indicator. When resting or relaxed whiskers are mostly immobile, but if you see them suddenly lay flat or bunch up it indicates they are scared or stressed.
When cats are playing or hunting whiskers will be splayed forward to maximise their reach and sensory input.
When cats are startled their hair will stand on end including their whiskers a bit like a puffer fish (but not quite that extreme) and point completely forward.
Perhaps when playing “chase the toy” with a cat, you’ll notice its whiskers are pointing forward. This is probably its “game face,” a sign that your cat is in hunting mode.
So whiskers are a really important of your cat’s amazing sensors. Without them cats couldn’t achieve their amazing feats or protect themselves from danger.
Should you cut cat whiskers ….NO!
Let me know your thought on Q&A Thursday. Look out on Facebook for my Questions post in the days leading up to Thursday where you can ask your question for me to answer.
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What did you think of the video? Did it make you smile? If you like this video, check out some of out other posts in humour and fun!