Have you ever wondered why some cats are so friendly while others seem to be poster-cats for that aloof, untouchable attitude cats are famous for? Not much research has been done into cat personalities, but one important study looked at the effects of paternity and early handling.
Cats, especially younger ones, love to play. Play can include chasing, stalking, jumping and even biting. Play is important for cats. It can provide exercise, mental stimulation, and when playing with other animals, it provides social contact.
Cats will play by themselves if they have toys that interest them. Small balls, like ping pong balls, small fur covered artificial mice, or food-stuffed puzzle toys can be very entertaining for cats. Some cats like things that swing in the air, so a feather on a string that you an dangle can be quite interesting. More sophisticated electronic toys that move when wound up, or back up when they run up against something may be of interest to your cat as well. Boxes with holes cut in them, paper bags or commercial variants of these are interesting to most cats.
You may need to experiment with different toys to find out what your cat prefers. Once your cat has settled on a few toys, rotate them, so that they aren't all available all the time. That way they will continue to be of interest to your cat.
Playing with your cat can be a bonding experience as well as fun for you both. You cat will likely appreciate you tossing small toys for him to chase – and he may even bring it back to you! Pull a string across the floor, or wave a feather attached to the end of a stick to get your cat moving.
If your cat becomes too rough during play, just get up and walk away from her, taking the toy with you if possible. You could squirt her with a bit of water, but in most cases it's just not practical to have a squirt bottle right at hand. You can consider putting your cat in a "time out" – confining her in a small room with nothing to amuse herself – for a few minutes. BUT if your cat is a bit worked up from playing, if you try to pick her up, she may bite or scratch you.
Wrestling with your cat or using your hands (or other body parts) as toys are not good ways to play with your cat. This can cause injury to one or both of you and encourages your cat to play roughly with you and other people. For some cats, another pet – most likely another cat or dog – can be a good playmate. But proper introductions among pets are CRUCIAL for a good relationship. We have detailed instructions in our Helping Kitties Co-Exist DVD.
Individual cats vary regarding how much they want to play, but even the most sedate of cats can usually be coaxed into a play bout with the right toy. Sedentary, "couch potato" cats often gain weight which can lead to a variety of health problems. So help your cat get off the couch and become more active with the suggestions we've given you here.
Redirection of aggression is a phenomenon that isn’t often recognized by pet owners, but can be a significant cause of aggression problems.
It occurs when an animal becomes aggressively motivated but is blocked from actually aggressing against the initial target. That aggressive motivation is then expressed to another individual who wasn’t a part of the original encounter, that is, an “innocent by-stander.”
A while ago attended our first cat show and cat agility trial.
What an experience! Agility for cats is a relatively new activity but it is catching on in the U.S. and other countries. There is an organization devoted to the sport called the International Cat Agility Tournaments (www.CatAgility.com)
Last time we talked about insomnia in cats, where our kitties seem to be getting too little sleep and talked about a couple of conditions that need the attention of a veterinarian. There are other problems that may not need the help of a veterinarian.
In previous blogs we talked about the typical sleep patterns of cats, some of the things that can influence how much a cat sleeps and one sleep problem that cats sometimes have – hypersomnia or too much sleep. We also talked about some things to do if you suspect that your cat is sleeping too much. Another sleep problem that happens in cats and people, but is more rare in cats, is narcolepsy.
When we think about animals that might have sleep problems, our first thought is not about cats. After all, it seems that most of their lives is spent sleeping. How could cats have problems sleeping? Well, in fact, some cats do have problems sleeping.
When you think about the really interesting things that cats do, you probably don’t have sleep on your list. After all, sleep is really the lack of behavior, and how boring is that? Actually, sleep is a behavior and even though there’s little movement, some really important things are going on during sleep including physical recovery and important memory processes.
We heard recently about a cat that was urinating in several rooms of the house in the middle of the floor. The episodes are reported to be quite random (we don’t have sufficient information from the questioner to know whether this is true or not). The question put to us was why this was happening. Someone had read somewhere that cats don’t usually choose the middle of the room unless they are ill or in distress.
When our cat Buffett was about 14 years old, he became quite stiff in his back legs and was having more and more difficulty jumping up onto a bar chair and from there onto the counter where his food and water were located. We often lifted him up onto the counter, but finally decided Buffett needed a pet-stair to make things easier.