Cat Behaviour

· Purr

The purr is a continuous, soft, vibrating sound made in the throat by most cat species. Domestic kittens can purr as early as two days of age. Purring is often believed to indicate a positive emotional state, but cats sometimes purr when they are ill, tense, experiencing painful moments or are dying. Did you know that a cat’s purr is also believed to be beneficial to humans?

· Meow

A “Meow” or “Miaow” sound is the most familiar vocalization of adult cats. It can be assertive, plaintive, friendly, bold, welcoming, attention soliciting, demanding, or complaining. Adult cats do not meow to communicate with other cats. They only meow when speaking to their human guardians.

· Chirr

The chirr or chirrup sounds like a meow rolled on the tongue. It is commonly used by mother cats to call their kittens inside the nest. Kittens recognize their own mother’s chirp and do not respond to the chirps of other mothers. It is also used by friendly cats, welcoming the approach of another cat or a human. Humans can mimic the sound to reassure and greet pet cats.

· Chirping and Chattering

Cats sometimes make excited chirping or chattering noises when observing or stalking prey. Cats often chirp when bird or squirrel watching. Sometimes they chirp to get their guardian’s attention. These range from quiet clicking sounds, to loud but sustained chirping mixed with the occasional meow.

·  Trilling

Cats make a trilling sound when they are happy to see someone; human and cat friends.

·   Humming

Some cats make a humming sound when they are anxious, to get their guardian’s attention, when they are hungry, or when they want to play.

·   Call

The call is a loud, rhythmic voice made with the mouth closed. It is primarily associated with female cats soliciting males, and sometimes when males fight with each other.

·   Growl, Snarl, Hiss, and Spit

The growl, snarl, and hiss are all associated with either offensive or defensive aggression. They are usually accompanied by a postural display intended to have a visual effect on the perceived threat. Cats hiss when they are startled, scared, angry or in pain, and also to scare off intruders into their territory. If the hiss and growl warning does not remove the threat, an attack may follow. “Spitting” is a shorter but louder and more emphatic version of hissing.

Elimination Habits

Cats instinctively bury their excrement (pee and poop) to protect themselves from predators. Kittens see their mothers burying their excrement either outdoors or in a litter box and follow suit. They do not need to be trained if their mother teaches them. Cats are fastidious. Most like to pee in one box and poop in another. Keep one extra box than the number of cats you have at home (For instance, one cat=2 boxes. 2 cats=3 boxes)

Boxes must be scooped at least once daily. Litter should be replaced and; the boxes washed and sanitized monthly. You may have to try a few different types of litter to find the one your cat likes. Boxes would be kept in a quiet, low-traffic, lighted area. If you are doing these things and your cat is not using its box; it is most likely sick or stressed. The first thing you should do is take your cat to the vet to ensure it does not have an infection, kidney stones, or some other ailment. Males are particularly susceptible to blockages, which can be deadly.

Scratching

Scratching is not only a natural instinct in cats, it also serves a necessary function. As a cat’s nail grows, the outer nail peels away. Scratching removes the outer layer. You cannot expect a cat to not scratch. To prevent your cat from scratching where you don’t want it to, make sure you have a scratching tree, pole, or mat to distract them in place before you bring your cat home. Some cats like boards covered in sisal or carpet on the floor, others like vertical scratching surfaces. The scratching surface should be longer or taller than your cat so that it can really stretch out and pull on those claws.

You may need to rub the scratching post with catnip to encourage your cat to use it. Take your cat to the post, stand them on their hind legs then, and then raising their arms slowly and softly, pull their front paws in a downward motion on the scratching post. Doing this often will help your cat get the hang of it. If your cat tries to scratch something else, redirect it to the post. Never, ever punish a cat or any animal for doing something instinctual. Declawing is a misnomer. It does not remove just the claw, but also the knuckle that the claw is attached to. Don’t attempt this cruel, painful, disfiguring amputation on your cat. If you’re not prepared for the possibility that your cat may scratch something you don’t want it to, don’t get a cat.

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