Dr. med. vet. Dunya Reiwald, 
dipl. SHI, SVS, DENVF

078 82 82 485



Cats

Cat behaviour, a shortcut

Unlike dogs cats are rather solitary individuals. Many cats of course like company, but they don’t really need it. What they need is a territory and a person they can greet now and then, when they feel like it. 

The territory is most important for the cat. Hunting is his normal activity. All his muscles are conceived to react quickly and precisely to hunt (6-8 hours a day for 100-150 attacks of which only 10% are successful). Cats do not know apaising signals. If they come to close wunds are predicted. Communication deals with keeping up distances.

Sight: cats see far into the night, but they see fewer colours than humans. The iris gets wider when the cat is scared or afraid. It gets narrows when the cat gets aggressive. 

Smelling: smelling is essential! It allows the cat to understand who just went through the garden and what sexual cycle this individual is in.

Whiskers: Important for communication : a quiet animal holds them relaxed. In stressful situations the whiskers go forward and in fearful situations they stick to the head. 

Education: One should never punish a cat ! If the stress is so big that one can’t leave it, the punishment should take place while the cat is transgressing the law. Never afterwards! And one should show him what he has to do. When he sharpens his claws on the furniture, one should take him to the cat tree, when he urinates on the carpet, to the litter box. A punishment at the wrong time will destroy the confidence between the owner and the cat. 
The sensible period in kittens goes from 2 to 7 weeks. Softly manipulate baby cats then. That way they learn that being taken in the arms is not dangerous. One should touch the ears, the paws, the belly.
One shouldn’t hold him for too long and let him go before he tries to free himself. With time he can be held longer. Consequence is very important! Every body should allow him the same things, don’t punish him unnecessarily. 

The litter box: Many cat owners think their cat will urinate automatically in the litter box, even if its in the wrong place, is never cleaned up and is full of this disagreeable litter. The cat is not very demanding, but can decide to choose another place. That’s why one should not put the box beside his food and choose the litter carefully so that it pleases the cat. The litter box should be cleaned every day. One litter box is needed per floor and 50m2 

His name: If Garfield must understand his name is Garfield, he must associate this name with positive things. When caressing him, speak his name, when preparing his food, call him by his name and give him something to eat from your hand repeating his name softly. It can be very useful that the cat comes or answer when he’s called, when he’s locked up in the cupboard for instance… 

Sleeping: Looking at where the cat likes to sleep helps to organize nice, soft beds there. Cats like to sleep in high and warm places. 

Occupation: Cats are active at night but get used to the human rhythm. It is important that they get enough occupation. For that they need hiding places, trees to sharpen their claws, tunnels and bookshelves to watch the birds outside…
One should play one quarter of a hour in the morning and in the evening if the cat cannot go outside. Toys the cat likes are necessary for that : ropes with mice at their end or semi rigid ropes with feathers at their end for example. The objects should simulate animals, because the cat likes to hunt animals! To hunt like a cat is approaching slowly and jumping suddenly, not like dogs running after the prey for hours. Trying to imitate a mouse will give the best results ?. Let this mouse breath, so that the cat can get closer, let it tremble and change the speed of its race. The cat must catch the prey now and then, this is very important and doesn’t speak for laser pointer or soap bubbles. If you don't have this half an hour a day, you should at least offer your cat a Pipolino. This occupation toy will lead your cat to play for hours to get food out of the toy. It will even make it slimmer and Depression or Fear can disappear. Information:www.pipolino.eu or at the practice.

Playing as behavioural modification and education: If the cat is always afraid of a particular noise, trying to calm it by taking its favourite toy and catch its attention can be helpful. Playing can help to calm and take the cats attention even when cats fight together. Toys like paper bags or plastic caps can do it, never use threads or other easily swallowed objects.

If the problem goes on, call a behaviourist, the cat could have some pain or another more serious problem.

 

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