It’s all about Me-owww! Techniques Cats Use To Win Our Attention

It’s 11:00PM.  You’re up against a deadline to finish a report for work.   You’ve just belted down a strong cup of coffee and you’re on the home stretch.   One more section to go and you’re done!  Hmmm, you think to yourself, the cats have been amazingly quiet.

Just as you touch your keypad, something distracts you out of the corner of your eye.  You glance over your shoulder.  There they are – both of them – perched atop your side desk, staring at you.  Their stare isn’t just any casual gaze.  Their eyes are large, round, intense and compelling, their stare unwavering.  You know what they want – your undivided attention!

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What is it about cats that drive you to stop whatever you’re doing, and attend to their every whim?

Cats are intelligent creatures.   Once they figure you out (which doesn’t take very long), you’re putty in their little paws.  They know exactly what to do and they do it.  If you make the fatal mistake of catering to them the first time, they will repeat the process again and again, and you’re hooked.

Here are just a few of the many techniques employed by the cats in my household (or, should I say, theirs).

  • The Stare Down. It works every time.  It elicits a response something like, “Hey cutie, what is it?  What do you want?”  Bingo!
  • The Wait. They wait patiently in the kitchen until they see a human approach.  From that point forward, it’s a steady litany of me-owwws, some extremely lengthy and desperate.  They don’t let up until you put the food bowls down, with their dinner just the way they like it.  Success!
  • The Hit and Run. You’re reading a magazine on the couch, your collection of magazines neatly stacked in front of you on the coffee table.  Out of the blue streaks a wild cat, leaping onto the stack, scattering them halfway across the room.   You slap down the magazine and get up to fix the mess.  The me-owwws start, with longing looks towards the kitchen. Mission accomplished!
  • The Toy Closet Vigil. My cats know where I stash their wand and laser toys.  If I am within an ear shot of “the” closet, they assemble like soldiers in front of it.  If I start to walk past them, they begin lightly scratching on the closet door, elevating to full, obnoxious scratching, however long it takes.  Fifteen minutes later, after a decent play session, they nonchalantly saunter away while I’m still waving the toy, collapse on the floor, and casually survey the room as if to say, “You can put that thing away now…I’ll let you know when I’m ready to play again.”
  • The Heart Stopper. This works something like the Hit and Run, only you’re lucky to survive.  In the middle of the night, you’re experiencing a deep REM sleep.   Your feline 757 lands with a thundering thud on the bed, skipping to the end of the runway, heading directly into your face.   Not only do you wake up with heart palpitations, you wake up to a set of wild, black pupils staring into yours.   After convincing yourself it’s not a nightmare, you desperately try to fall back asleep.  That’s when they repeat.  You get up.  They me-owww, you follow them, tripping down the stairs into the kitchen.  This is a win-win (for the cat, not for the two of you)!

If you haven’t yet experienced any of the above, it’s probably because you have cats that have employed other techniques that have proven successful, or else you’ve just adopted a cat today who hasn’t yet figured you out.  Don’t worry – he’ll have you “trained” by the end of the week, and you won’t even know it!

Wanted: Cats Who Act Like Like Dogs- Why Not Cats Who Act Like Cats?

Depositphotos_18035129_s-2015 AOL.com recently posted an article about dog people who prefer a cat who has their canine’s “extroverted playfulness”, compared to a cat who displays “quiet affection.”   They like cats who will fetch; go swimming; come to you when called by name.  They then proceed to list all of the purebreed cats whom they say act like dogs, like the Maine Coon,  Burmese; Ragdoll; Burmese; Manx and others.

While I understand the point, it somehow doesn’t sit quite right with me.

I don’t believe the notion that only certain breeds of cats are extroverted or playful, to the exclusion of all other cats.

First, just like you and me, and the dogs in our lives, each cat has a distinctly unique temperment.  There may be characteristics we think are common to some types of purebred cats.  And, not just in the case of purebreds but in the case of mixes – you’ve heard of a calico cat’s “catitude” or an orange tabby’s easy going temperment.  However, in the final analysis, their background, upbringing and interactions with humans have significant bearing how they act as adult cats, forming their unique personality traits.

Having said that, from observing and interacting with many types of cats over my lifetime, it’s very obvious to me that far more (socialized) cats have a playful, receptive personality than not.  Interestingly enough, the regular garden variety of cats, like tortoiseshells or tuxedos especially follow this pattern.  They, like their canine counterparts, co-habitate well with other household pets; are energetic and playful; and like interaction with humans.  However, just because cats are “quietly affectionate”, doesn’t mean there isn’t a perfect human match for them out there as well!

The long and short of it is…let’s not stereotype our feline friends!  Finally, let’s celebrate their uniqueness and realize there is a place in our lives for the adventurous Tigers as there is for the quiet, affectionate Lilies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Men Like Cats!

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If you ask my husband Jim how he feels about Chester, our Maine Coon mixed breed male cat and Bandit, our female Tortoiseshell, he might likely respond with a resounding “Real men like cats!”

Jim is among a growing number of men who don’t mind declaring their fondness for their companion cats.  He even unabashedly posts videos and photos of them on our Instagram site.

History has revealed some famous men who also happened to bond with their cats.

Take Isaac Newton, for one, who discovered the laws of gravity and universal motion. During his studies at Cambridge University, this cat fan discovered that his cats were interrupting his studies by wanting in and out.  Newton cut two holes in the door, one for the mother cat and one for her kittens.  For being such a smart dude, he didn’t realize that the kittens would simply follow their mother through her hole.

Another famous cat guy, Mark Twain, had many quotes regarding his feline companions.  One of his most famous was “if man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but deteriorate the cat.”

There are many contemporary famous men who have also flaunted their love of cats.  A small sampling of these cool guys (I say “cool”, because if they like cats, they are cool, and that is that) are:  Ricky Gervais; Ian Somerhalder; John Hamm; and ex-President George W. Bush.  Indeed, there is now a popular a cat dude by the name of Jackson Galaxy who has his own cat centric show, “Cat From Hell”, a weekly series showcasing Jackson’s innate talent for solving cat behavioral problems to create happier human/feline households.

It could be that this (great) trend of increasing male cat “literacy” is occurring because men have evolved to the point where they now feel comfortable admitting they prefer “cats” over “dogs”.  Perhaps another contributing factor is the growing number of single men who have discovered that they like the companionship of a cat or two.  Then, it could be that men like the “low maintenance” feature of cats over other types of pets.  No matter what the reason, one thing is for sure:  real men like cats!

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a harmonious multiple cat household?

Black and white cats appear to be kissing.

Current statistics on U.S. cat-owning households (there are about 90 million today) show that nearly one half (49%) of these households own more than one cat. (source:  Armandhammer.com)  Those multiple cat households must have somehow figured out how to achieve feline harmony in their homes.

Basically, the way to a peaceful feline home is to make sure that there are enough resources and space for your cats.   If your cats know they have options on where they can eat, sleep, play, and use the litter box, all the better.    If all of your cats have only one option, that’s an ideal setting for territorial disputes and added stress among them.  We have a few pointers on how to create and maintain harmony in your cat household.

The initial introduction of cats to each other should be gradual and stress free.  If possible, keep the new cat in a separate living quarters in your home, with their food, litter box and toys.  Your “incumbent cats” will know about the new cat, but not have the stress of direct contact.  After a couple of days, gradually allow your “incumbent” cats to approach the new cat, keeping their contacts short and sweet.  After a few more days, you will have achieved a successful introduction.

Our strongest recommendation:  invest in vertical play spaces.   Cat trees, shelves and window perches are ideal solutions for giving your cats privacy in an off-the-ground location.  Cats like height, so it’s an ideal solution.

Your cats needs outlets for exercising and scratching.  Leave plenty of scratching devices around your home.  Whether they are horizontal, vertical or slanted pads, they will protect your furniture as well as your sanity!

Allow each of your cats a separate food bowl .  If you have common water bowls, have several in different areas.  A water fountain designed for multiple cats is a great way of managing this, just make sure to keep the fountain and the water it holds clean and fresh.

Keep as many litter boxes in your home as the number of cats.  One of the worst problems can arise when cats have the use the same box.    Territorial issues may arise, causing them to “spray” the litter box, which signals to the other cats to stay away.    No one needs to have cats depositing in undesignated areas of the house.  Once that “out of box” behavior starts, it’s hard to stop it.

Finally, monitor your cats’ interactions.  It’s better to observe body language and catch an early warning signal so that you can diffuse any tension and avoid an out-an-out battle.   One great technique for diffusing attention is to pull out a wand toy that immediately draws their attention away from one another and on the moving object (the toy on the wand).

Congratulations on your multiple cat household.  May you and they live harmoniously over all of their nine lives!

Cats are amazing. Did you know…

 

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  • A cat’s heart beats twice as fast as a human heart, at 110-140 beats per minute.
  • A cat’s normal body temperature is 101.5 degrees.  This is slightly warmer than a humans.
  • Cats have 290 bones in their body, and 517 muscles.
  • A cat has five more vertebrae in her spinal column than her human does.
  • A cat will almost never “meow” at another cat.  This sound is reserved for humans.
  • During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. (Spay and/or neuter your cat!)
  • Kittens begin dreaming at just one week old.
  • If your cat is 3, your cat is 21 in human years.  If your cat is 8, your cat is 40 in human years.  If your cat is 14, your cat is 70 in human years.
  • The more cats are spoken to, the more they will speak to you.
  • Cats are partially color blind.   They have the equivalency of human red/green color blindness.  (Reds appear green and greens appear red;  or shades thereof.)
  • Cats need 1/6th the amount of light that humans do to see.  Their night vision is amazing!
  • Cats can see up to 120 feet away.   Their peripheral vision is about 285 degrees.
  • A cat’s ear pivots 180 degrees.   They have 30 muscles in each ear, and use twelve or more muscles to control their ear movement.