From internet videos and memes to your usual household cats, it seems they have one thing in common – their love for anything that resembles a box. Place a comfy pet bed on the floor next to the box and eventually, they will love the box more than the fluffy and obviously softer bed. It makes you think as to why would your cat choose the box over some expensive seating or bed you bought for them, and you can’t seem to fathom why.
Although it’s fun to watch your cat turn completely liquid and fit in almost impossible spaces, it still quite a mystery why cats would go through all that trouble. But contrary to popular belief, cats actually has a reason why they would try to fit themselves in a tiny box. They will actually test out the “I fit, I sit” logic and will try their hardest to fit in almost any container.
The real reason is because of the instinctual behaviour in cats that never goes away even after a long time of domestication. They are always ready to pounce and attack whenever they are threatened, and it’s mostly out of their instinct. Never be offended if your cat arches its back on you after stepping on their tail – it’s their reflex and they are basically miniature hunters in your house.
The cardboard box that they usually stay in is actually a defense mechanism for them – a perfect cover and place to run into whenever they need to hide from enemies. Through the box, they feel snug and safe from possible ambush from predators that lurks around the house. Especially when you’ve just adopted a kitty, it will take a while for your furbaby to get used to the surroundings and with you. For a cat, everything is dangerous and needs their utmost attention – everything must be within their radius and their field of vision. They will be extra defensive, but they will loosen up when they get used to you.
This is the same thing with cats hiding under beds and couches – they are scared with the new environment and get nervous when they are there. They will probably attack anything that passes through them as they view this as a threat – a common thing for new felines. They are basically ninjas – they want to see everything while being in the shadows, and pounce once they think they’re discovered.
Don’t take it to heart when your kitty cat choose the box over your impressive pet bed and tree you got for them – it’s mainly because of instinct. It may seem ridiculous and hilarious for you, but it’s something they are used to and are comfortable with. Just take your time and they will eventually get used of the bed, but don’t be too surprised if they choose the box again!
Stress can take a toll on a person’s physical and mental health. However, humans aren’t the only one affected by this phenomenon. In fact, our very own furry friends might be hiding a lot of stress underneath that calm and playful exterior which can result to a myriad of health problems. If you feel your cat might “acting weird”, it could be a sign of stress. Here are some signs to watch out for.
This includes diarrhea, constipation, and other vomiting. Digestive issues usually mean that your cat may be lacking some nutritional requirements. Additionally, it could also be a sign that they may have eaten something suspicious.
Loss of Appetite
Other than digestive issues, loss of appetite could be a sign that something is wrong. If your cat ignores their favourite treat or stops eating altogether, it may be a sign that your cat has an underlying medical issue.
Scratching is one way for cats to relieve stress and stretch out their joint and back muscles. However, excessive scratching may indicate signs of parasites or certain behavioural issues like anxiety or hostility towards a new environment.
Cats are usually neat when it comes to defecating and urinating. For cats who are litterbox-trained, it can be surprising to see them pee anywhere other than their litter box. This is a sign that your cat is probably trying to tell you that something is wrong.
Many cats get a reputation of being aloof and indifferent species but that is not necessarily true. Like dogs, cats require affection and likes to be close to their owners now and then. If your cat is actively ignoring you and other people, it can be a sign of anxiety and nervousness.
Aggression Towards Other Animals
Cats don’t usually show signs of aggression unless they are provoked or defending themselves. However, signs of aggression towards other animals and people could be a sign of a stressed or sick cat.
Like humans, our cats can also be affected by stress. When not taken care of right away it can lead to more serious medical and behavioural problems. In some cases, like excessive scratching and picky eating, some measures can be taken to treat these problems right away. For instance, excessive scratching may be a sign that your indoor cat is bored and requires more exercise. To remedy this, consider getting a feather toy or make your own DIY cat toy to stimulate their senses and reduce their stress. Additionally, cats who are notoriously picky eaters may benefit from switching to a different food source.
While it certainly isn’t easy to spot signs of stress from our cats (After all, we aren’t mind readers!), careful monitoring and consideration can help us make the right decisions. While some of these signs can be treated, your best bet would be to consult with your veterinarian or a cat behavior specialist so your cat can get a more effective treatment. Remember to ask questions once you schedule an appointment with the vet!
“Long nights, a rough bed; our cat’s ‘meow,’ running through our head,” we’ve all been there. 3 A.M. wake up calls asking for a meal, or simply for attention. It’s the same old pattern, and we always get up to heed our furry companion’s companion beck and call.
However, consecutive sleepless nights won’t do any of you some good. As important as giving our cats the attention and love they need, it’s crucial that we take care of ourselves, and we get some shut eye as well. So, how exactly do we train our cats to do just that?
Guide Your Cat’s Circadian Rhythm
Much like humans, cats have their own circadian rhythms as well, and they vary greatly from ours. Cats are nocturnal, and are naturally inclined to wake from dusk ‘til dawn. Now, it is possible to reset their body clocks, but you’d have to guide their circadian rhythms first. To efficiently influence it, it’s going to be our job as their parents to provide them with, and maintain, a feeding schedule.
The best way to affect a cat’s behaviour is by strategically controlling their feeding schedule. Allowing them to eat whenever (and whatever) they want is what’s hindering us from dramatically making an impact to them. Without a schedule, you’ll also be putting your cat’s body in a constant flux of digestion, making their energies highly unpredictable. It’s best to stop free feeding, and stick to scheduled meal times, which is better for your cats.
Try to Get them To Sleep When You Do
Feeding your cat it’s last meal an hour and a half, prior to your bed time, is a good technique to try and get them to sleep when you do. However, don’t give it to them immediately. What you want to do is to give your cat a sweet amount of play time, tiring them out, before feeding it to them.
Cats run on four principles: Hunt. Catch. Kill. Eat. The play time will serve as the “hunt, catch, and kill,” part. Once they’re pooped out, then you let them eat, and soon after that, they’ll be grooming themselves ‘til they finally fall asleep.
Learn to Ignore Them Completely
Now, there’ll be times when they still won’t let you sleep, despite everything you’ve done. This is where things get serious because the next thing you have to do is… You have to ignore them completely. Yes, you read that, you ignore them completely.
The point of ignoring them is to discourage them to repeat their behaviour. Whether it’s in a positive, or negative way, responding to them is still attention. Tell your cats that nothing is going to happen whenever they do that certain behaviour, by not heeding to it.
Before your cat finally learns to let you sleep through the night, it’s going to be an uphill battle. However, the payoff will be so much worth it, for both you and your cat, as you let your body get some of rightfully earned snores. No more late night wake up calls.
Is your cat giving you the stink eye every time you try to give them a little hug? If so, it could be a sign that your cat is not a big fan of hugs. Regardless of whether your furbaby is a lovable softie or an independent ruler, here are some habits we do that actually drive them up the wall!
Let’s face it: No one likes to be forced into a bone-crushing hug, regardless of whether the recipient is actually a hugger or not! The same rule applies to cats who generally prefer a level of distance between themselves and their humans.
Lack of Attention
Consequently, cats are also not a big fan of lacking affection. While they don’t like forced affection, they generally aren’t big fans of being ignored either. So next time you think you’re spending too much time on your laptop, your little friend might give you a hint by effectively lying down on your keyboard for a belly rub.
Cats are very sensitive creatures especially when it comes to noise. Certain pranks like sneaking up on them from behind and actively shouting “Boo!” just to get a reaction from them is not something they look forward to.
Not Letting Them Win
Is your cat a fan of chasing the red dot from your laser pointer? If so, it might be a good idea to let them catch the dot or feather and win once in a while. Cats generally like a good workout but playing a game that never gives them the fair chance of winning can discourage them from future games.
Water and cats don’t mix unless you have a quirky cat who actually doesn’t mind getting in the tub! The reason why cats generally hate baths is because they are wired to believe that wet fur attracts their natural predators in the wild.
Are you thinking of dressing Snuffles in a pirate costume for Halloween? If so, you might want to think again. Cats are notoriously sensitive creatures that rely on their whiskers, ears, and other body parts to sense incoming danger. Certain costumes that cover their ears, limit their vision, and affect their defense system can add stress to your cat instead of making them happy!
Lack of Hygiene
Not cleaning your kitty’s litter box is another annoyance that they simply would not tolerate. After all, you wouldn’t like it if your partner didn’t flush the toilet after using it, right?
Smoking causes damage to the smoker and the surrounding parties which also include your pets. Like dogs, cats rely on their sense of smell to understand their environment which can be a hindrance if their human is a chainsmoker. Pets of smokers are also most likely to get certain types of cancers which means it’s probably a good idea to limit your smoking or quit it altogether!
While most cats often display a more “tolerable” attitude towards certain habits, it is always best to think twice before attempting any of the above. After all, while your cat loves you, there are certain instances where they may feel uneasy around you which can affect your relationship in the long run. Remember to give them enough affection and allow them to come to you at their own pace. Treat them with respect and love and they are most likely going to do the same.
So you decided to get a pet cat (a great decision by the way!) and you’re nervous because you never had one before. Well look further, here are some tips for first-time cat owners need to remember before bringing their cat home:
Consider Your Situation
Assess your situation first before getting a cat. For instance, are you currently living alone or are you living with family? Are you staying in a house or are you currently renting an apartment? Are you away from your home a lot? Do you have young children around? The list goes on. While cats are fairly independent creatures, they still require attention and affection which is why we need to consider how they would fit in our daily lifestyle.
Cat-Proof Your Home
Once you are certain that you are bringing a cat home, make sure to cat-proof your home. This includes keeping counters and other surfaces clean and free from sharp objects that could potentially harm your cat. Make sure you’re not keeping any dangerous plants around and put away your valuable items or at least at a place where your cat can’t reach them.
Invest In Essential Items
Some essential items include cat food, food bowls, collars, a cat carrier, name tags, a personal litter box, kitty litter, a scratching post, a cat bed, shampoo, a brush, and toys. For future cat owners who are on a budget, you can make your very own DIY cat toys to entertain your feline friends.
Get Them Vaccinated
If you’re adopting a cat from a shelter, remember to ask the stuff whether your cat is vaccinated and whether they give out regular vaccinations. For kittens who are not from shelters (i.e. bought from pet shops or if you have taken in a stray), consider putting aside a budget so you can get them vaccinated at a clinic. Some essential kitten vaccinations include prevention from feline rhinotracheitis, feline panleukopenia (FVRCP), and feline calicivirus. For adult cats, make sure to consult with your veterinarian on the proper vaccination schedule for your pet.
Once your house is ready for your feline friend, make sure to watch them over with patience and understanding. For cats, living in a new environment can be a stressful situation which is why it is important to provide a safe haven for them.
Upon arriving home, try to set up a small room that will serve as their “first” territory. This can be any small, quiet room like a small bedroom, a small corner at the living room, or a walk-in closet. Keep your cat in the carrier while you set up their safe space and allow them to get used to their surroundings. Remember to put everything the cat needs within their space like their litter box, food, and water, toys, scratching post, bed, and other essentials. Once you are done preparing their room/spot, open the carrier and let your cat decide whether they should explore or not. Remember not to force them to do something they aren’t prepared to do since cats usually have an adjustment period of a few days or more. Once they are used to their room or “spot”, open some doors to let them explore other places in your home.
Taking care of a cat is a big responsibility although the rewards are great! Once you are able to introduce your pet into your new home, you’ll find that it’s relatively easy to become a cat parent. Always remember to search for additional cat care tips and take time a veterinarian or a cat behaviour expert for additional tips.