Cats and Others at Home
Have you ever wondered what your cat thinks when he looks at you? How do they perceive their surroundings? Do they think like us, do they dream like us? I have recently read an article where they say that cat’s brains are rather similar, or close to, human brains than any other mammal. In fact, cats have 300 million neurons. They have more nerve cells in the visual areas of the brain than humans and most other mammals.
So, it makes you wonder, are cats possibly smarter and more observant than we think? They may not be able to communicate with us like we communicate with one another, but cats communicate with us in so many other ways that surely we can all learn from them.
Keeping in mind that our little kitties live with many types of beings, from adult humans to kiddie humans and even sometimes the canine! Here are ways to remember how some of these may affect the tranquillity, and how to avoid any issues that might arise from multi-sharing households.
What are Humans to your Cat?
With one obvious factor in mind, our size – we are clearly different to cats. We can see the differences; we can hear the differences but can your cat? There are so many aspects of our kitties that we love and adore, and I can assure you this is most definitely a two-way street. Your cat loves and adores you so much too. When you pet a cat and they purr and head butt your hand, cats actually find this motion similar to that of their mother licking them as kittens. They get the same sensation out of it as they did when they were dependant on her. Have you ever noticed when you speak to your cat how their faces change expression in some way or another? This is true for my boys. Their eyes widen, but are not dilated, their whiskers are forward and all of a sudden they will come and rub up against you with an arched back – I like to think that this is their way of giving me a little hug.
Have you ever witnessed how your cat reacts to strange humans? This too has a tale to tell. Some cats are shyer than others, but the friendly cat will almost always go straight to that one friend of yours that does not particularly like cats. Cats are nervous animals in general, and if you look at a cat in the eyes they will feel intimidated and show it. So with that friend who doesn’t like cats will ten to one not look at your cat at all therefore making him the lesser threat.
To our cats we are their confidant, friend and food provider, yes, but we are also their companions. As dogs love their owners, cats too have a certain level of respect for us humans that can simply be defined as pure love, or purr love!
Cats and Kids
I don’t have kids, but I have been a kid with a cat. One thing is for sure, kids love kitties, and cats have the same respect for them as they do for us adult humans. The only problem is kids tend to try to pick up the cat in a way that is threatening, or pull at their tails which to any being could be quite annoying. I always say this; it is up to us adults to teach our kids how to treat any animal. If you ever witness your child being forceful towards your cat or any pet for that matter, it is your duty to intervene. You need to teach your child right from wrong. It is building respect and trust between them because after all they share the same space, they both don’t have anywhere else to go, this was the life chosen for them, not by them. You need to show them love and respect by action and learning. If your cat is treated properly there will be no issues with your cat swiping at your child or hating his environment. It sounds so simple but I have heard people saying that they have to re-home the cat because it does not get along with the kids. I find this tragic because I do believe that both kids and cats can live in harmony if you just put in the extra effort to teach them all the way of doing so. For example, implement chores where your kids have to feed the cat, clean the litter boxes, brush the cat etc. These small tasks will teach your kids how to appreciate them as a little being, and not a play thing!
Cats and Dogs
The perception that cats and dogs just cannot get along is just not true. I have seen it with my own eyes that they most certainly can. When I got Travis I would often take him with me to visit with my mom. She has a massive male Boerboel dog who is the same age as Travis. They did not live together, I would just take him with and let them be together (supervised) when I went to visit. This developed a much respected relationship between the two of them. Guss, my mom’s dog, was gentle and loveable, Travis being Travis was the same. If a cat and a dog know each other, the bond is forever. Don’t expect all love and purrs by putting a strange cat and dog together randomly because that will not work, the cat, being the smaller of the two generally, will not win that fight. Once again, it is up to us, the humans to ensure that the environment is safe for everyone. If you decide to introduce a cat and dog together, do it slowly, always ensure that you are monitoring the interaction and that at any point in time your cat can escape, should there be any need to do so.
In general, your cats have a life with you, you have the ability to create the life you want for everyone sharing the home. Everyone can get a long, I believe this, as long as you give it some extra time and effort things will always end up purrfectly alright!
When you have a kitty and you’ve spent time with him, you get to know his personality and behaviours which coincide. You tend to know when he is upset, happy, agitated. You understand his meows and all the small sounds that come out of his little mouth. You understand his purrs and the way he looks at you. You understand him. Or so you think! Cats are complex creatures, and every cat has a personality of their own, and their environment creates certain behaviours which can get influenced by the smallest changes. Over the past 10 years, I have had 5 cats, all of which have had very different personalities. But, one thing I have noticed with all of them is that they all carry one very certain type of characteristic within their individuality. Either confidence, lack thereof or just quite happy as it is, whatever “it” is.
I have heard it so many times in my life – “My cat does not get along with my new puppy, looking for a good home for it”, or, “My husband is allergic to my cat… looking for a good home”. This just breaks my heart to be honest. A cat comes with so many responsibilities and is a lifelong commitment. The moment you feel the need to get a cat you need to consider everything that could come your way with this little feline. Don’t let it be an impromptu decision, it is one that should not come lightly, because at the end of the day, if it turns out to not suit your way of life, you will be to blame, but the cat is the one who suffers.