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Cat Behavior | PetsWeekly

Weird Cat Behaviors Explained

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Cats often surprise us with their unpredictability and, at times, they may even seem downright ditsy. Big Boy, the extremely large cat who charmed my mother for more than fifteen years, was fond of darting into the kitchen sink. There he would sit, staring into the dish drainer as if it contained the answers to the mysteries of the universe. To avoid disrupting his peaceful meditations, my mother would use the bathroom sink upstairs. It was clear who owned whom in that relationship, but it begs the question: Why do felines like Big Boy behave in such puzzling ways in the first place?

Wacky Cat-isms

“The why part [of cat weird] is easy -- cats and people are different species with different genetic evolutions,” says Oceanside, California-based Animal Behavior Consultant Arden Moore, who is the author of pet books such as The Cat Behavior Answer Book: Practical Insights & Proven Solutions for Your Feline Questions (Storey, 2007). As an example of a basic difference between cat and human behavior, Moore points to the fact that cats “rank as one of the top snoozers of all creatures, averaging around 16 to 17 hours of sleep each day. Most people are lucky to get seven hours of sleep a night.”

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Cats are from Venus, Dogs are from Mars

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cats-and-dogsThe saying "fighting like cats and dogs" had to come from somewhere. But in Janis Cook's experience, the phrase was far from reality. When she brought a service dog into the household that her cat had ruled for years, the Annandale, Virginia, pet owner was pleasantly surprised to see that the dog and cat actually got along well. "The cat was very cautious for a while," says Cook. "I made sure that the cat could jump away and escape. And the dog was very well trained. There was no problem at all. It just wasn't an issue." Success, indeed, can happen. How well they get along together will depend on your pet's personality, socialization, and how you prepare it for the addition of a Snoopy or Snowball, say animal behavior experts. Here are some tips on what to consider about your feline before adding a mutt to your hut, as well as advice on how to maintain household harmony if you're set on living with both cats and dogs.

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The ‘Animal Nanny’ Cat Sitter Cares for Lonely Cats

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cat-sitters-01012The Animal Nanny, Marna Stein, is a registered veterinary technician who works in San Francisco and represents a new kind of pet sitter -- one who provides more personal and specialized services for your cat. Would you and your cat benefit from having such a nanny cat sitter? You might be surprised by the tasks Stein and other super-sitters can handle.

Cat Sitter Supreme

With a cat nanny service, expect the usual pet sitter perks, only with a twist. For example, Stein and her colleagues will feed and play with your cat, but for lonely or otherwise needy felines, they can stay overnight at your home, too.

“Really social cats get lonely and are used to their regular routine with their owners,” explains Stein. “They will come sleep in the bed and curl up beside the sitter, who can help to ensure the cat maintains its usual habits.” Since she also has a medical background, including serving as a hospital manager for two veterinary clinics, Stein can administer medicines and provide extra support, even at night, for aged and ailing felines. We all know about dog walks, but some cats also like to take an outdoor stroll on a leash. One of Stein’s regular cat clients must have its daily walk in the owner’s courtyard. “It’s often amusing because the cat follows the same routine of inspecting the perimeter and certain favorite spots,” she says.

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Harmony in a House of Cats

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Cats are like potato chips. Stopping at just one isn't easy. On average, cat owners have 2.4 cats, according to the American Pet Product Manufacturer's Association. "Living with other cats is stimulating and overall a very good thing," says veterinary behaviorist Sharon Crowell-Davis, DVM, professor at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens. "Preconceived ideas about cats being solitary are simply not true. Cats are social and enjoy the company of their own kind. We've shown in our research of feral and stray outdoor cats that they often form complex social groups. They groom one another, pay attention to one another and play together; they wouldn't do that if they were solitary."

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Signs of a Stressed-out Cat

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You’ve probably heard the phrase “hair-pulling moment” in reference to stressful situations, but did you know that cats sometimes compulsively pull out their fur when they feel anxious? “Stress is a very big deal because it has a profound effect on all aspects of animals’ experience,” says Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D., a certified applied animal behaviorist. Stress can trigger feline reactions ranging in severity from hiding to self-mutilation. Just as humans often need support during tough times, our feline friends could use a “helping hand" when feeling anxious.

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Feline Behavior

  • Is Mint Safe for Cats?

    Hello Grey Socks, Every time I put toothpaste on my brush, which is mint flavored, my cat wants to lick it. She goes completely banana's over it. Is it okay to let her lick some? Thanks,
    Kathy Easley

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  • Wool-sucking in cats

    Dear Kyra, I have an adopted 5-month-old ginger boy named Barney. He's a very sweet, funny kitty, and I love him to pieces. But...he has some strange quirks. The nice people at the animal shelter told me that he was… Read More +

  • Cats covering feces

    Dear Ghost, Why do cats cover their feces? My two cats are neurotic about covering up everything in their litter box, which is stupid because it's automatic anyway. Is it really necessary? Thanks,
    Kristin

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  • Cats spraying

    Baby, I live with 2 male cats (neutered) and 1 female cat (spayed). All of a sudden they have started spraying (they are 1 year old). They have sprayed my bed, my doors and in my closet (that I know of). I'm… Read More +

  • hypersthesia

    Mama-San, My 1 yr old tabby has developed a fear of its tail! The end twitches and she sometimes lightly attacks it, but most times just runs from it (especially at night) your site mentions anger in connection with tip- twitching.… Read More +

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