Why is my cat doing that?
There are so many characteristics in our little feline friends that make us scratch our heads as to why they do certain things, why they have certain behaviours and generally why they are just the way they are. I recently came across a very interesting article which gives mention to the H.I.S.S Test that every human should know about or do when they come across some strange behaviour in our little fur friends. So, what does this stand for?
H is for Health
Whenever your cat is doing something slightly out of the ordinary, or even if it is something he does often, always consider whether or not your cat should have some sort of Health issue. For example, Sancho drools when he is kneading and in such a trance that he forgets to swallow. This is normal behaviour for him, but I do know that he has issues with his teeth that the vet has pointed out to me. It is nothing detrimental to his health just yet, but he has to have a good cleaning. This could be the potential cause of his over active saliva. But, Sancho has drooled since he was a kitten whenever he kneads. If you are experiencing your kitty doing this, all you need to do is remind him to swallow by touching his nose. This will make him lick causing him to swallow.
Anything that your cat does that you are wondering if it is normal or not, or if you are worried at all, always consider having a vet take a look. There is no harm in asking the question, is this normal? Is he perhaps ill? At the end of the day you could prevent something more serious popping up which we don’t want.
I is for Instinct
There are so many aspects of our kitty friends that are instinctual, that they have carried over from their wild ancestors. One thing for example is their need to hunt. When they are in a domestic environment whether indoor or outdoor they will always show this trait. It is purely instinctual. It is good to take a look at your cats behaviour and determine whether or not it is Instinctual or perhaps something that could be related to his health. Always first check the health factor before determining instinctual behaviour. After all, instincts are just part of their build up. I love to watch my boys hunt for their toys, food and even each other as they play together. But certain things they do that seem instinctual could point towards something more serious.
S is for Stress
Once you have eliminated any health concerns with your vet, but you are still a little worried about your cats behaviour, consider whether or not your kitty is perhaps under some stress in his environment. So many things can cause stress in your cat, things that seem so small for you, but for your cat and in his world it is major. Examples of strange behaviours caused on by stress could be marking of territory, hair loss etc. There are so many things that could cause stress for your cat like change in routine, a new family member - human or not, even if you change the layout of your furniture. If you have a cat like Travis ten to one the littlest thing can stress him out. If your cat is stressed out, try to calm him down by separating him from the stressful environment for a few days. In other words, put him in another room, a “safe room”, and after a few days re-introduce him to the environment. He needs to feel safe and secure again, and sometimes the only way to do this is to get him back to his happy state of mind whatever it takes.
S is for Symptom Solvers
So you have figured out what is going on with your cat, but now you need to try to minimize the unwanted behaviour. How do you do this? You need to solve the problem, generally to get a cat into an accepted pattern you need to stay persistent. If you’ve read my recent blog on whether or not you can train your cat, you will see that it is indeed possible to teach your cat the ways of your home, his home. You just need know and understand who your cat is, if his behaviour is brought on by something out of your and his control, then once health or stress has been eliminated, then you can look at ways to reduce the issues. As mentioned above try to separate your kitty from the situation for a while if it is something that is clearly upsetting him. Or, if he is just naughty like my Scotch, you need to keep at it. Hiss at him when he does something unruly, and always follow it with a stern NO. If you keep at it, he will learn that it is unwanted behaviour. Never pet a cat immediately after doing wrong, this will send mixed signals and enforce positive behaviour when you are trying to tell him otherwise. Don’t even touch your cat when you have reprimanded him. Give it a good 30 minutes before you give him any attention again.
If you do however see that the unwanted behaviour is brought on by health issues you need to chat to your vet immediately. Cats are very good at hiding it when they are unwell. So it is up to you to know your cat and his behaviours.
In short, follow these 4 simple steps and HISS if you aren’t sure what to do next. Check health, check instincts, check stress and causes thereof and come up with solutions through treatment, separation, or just some extra cuddle time.
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.
Over the last couple of months having the privilege of doing some extra research and readings on my favourite animal, the cat, I have come across so many articles, quotes and facts about our feline companions that highlight specifically how special they actually are. Yes, I’ve written about their different personalities, why women generally are attracted to cats more than men and so on. It is clear that our feline friends have some sort of meaning to us that can simply be explained by how they make us feel. So what do our cats really mean to us?