Help Needed on Cat Behavior Article

Help Needed on Cat Behavior Article

by Michael

Hi, everyone..I would like to rewrite the cat behavior page on this site from a different perspective; using different techniques. Normally cat behavior articles are based on what the so called experts say in text books. This time I would like us to do it together.

I think anyone with a brain who has cared for a domestic cat for a long time has good experience to pass on to people who are thinking about adopting or people who would like to learn or who have cat behavior problems. I can think of a decent number of people who regularly visit PoC who have the brains and experience.

By “cat behavior”, I think we have to mean two things:

  • The behavior of the domestic cat. Their desires, emotions, likes, dislikes and routines etc. and;
  • How we deal with cat behavior and what we think is the best way to deal with. This should include our expectations, responsibilities, methods etc.

I need help to create this page. I am looking for at least five visitors who can write about 3000 CHARACTERS (I said words but meant characters – sorry) or the equivalent of a full comment (in the comment section) on “cat behavior”. That would be about 50+ lines as the comment section is narrow. The general theme should address the above points in the form of a summary.

I would like the person to provide a name and ideally a photograph of themselves. The photo is not essential but if you send me one please send it by email.

If a visitor would like to be paid for their contribution, they can email me (so that it is anonymous) or ask me to donate to a cat charity. I can choose the charity or the author can choose for me. PoC will pay or donate $20 for each published article. The articles will be combined to form one page. I will also contribute an article to the page. There will be a link to the page in the navigation bar so the objective is to build a very good page.

I hope people will assist me. I think it will be a unique perspective on cat behavior and better than an article written by a single person. It will be more diverse and provide different ideas (I hope).

As mentioned, the article should be an overview on cat behavior. That is probably the difficulty as it is a large subject so it needs to focus on the central issues and major topics.

For example, I think that correct expectations from us are important as people with the correct expectations do not see normal cat behavior as problem behavior which is how it is sometimes described. Then there are subjects such as a cat’s like of security and routine etc. But I would like your thoughts.

I cannot guarantee publishing an article. It has to be good as it will be on PoC for ever! But don’t be put off by that.

I would hope that we can have the new page on cat behavior by Christmas. The comments for this page will be deleted if and when they are published on the cat behavior page to avoid duplication.

Comments for
Help Needed on Cat Behavior Article

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Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.
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Jan 13, 2012
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many thanks NEW
by: leanne

thank you so much ed, it was very generous of you to give us your first ever pay ( for writing anyway) as you know we need every penny, kevin has been out today to order some blocks for the inside of the cattery so we can get more pens built, we also need to get the guttering and facia boards put up on our NEW ROOF. we’re all a bit over excited at the moment, like a bunch of bairns. anyway thanks again, it will certainly be put to good use.


Jan 13, 2012
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My pay NEW
by: Edward

Thanks Ruth man Im glad you can give my pay to Leanne and Kevin for me to do some good with.

I enjoyed it writing about cats as well man and still think of what a nice shock it was that Michael liked it enough to use it.

Ed


Jan 07, 2012
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To Edward NEW
by: Ruth

Your cheque from Michael has arrived today, I’ll cash it early next week and pass it on to Kevin or Leanne.

Thanks very much for your support for them, I know they will be very grateful.


Jan 06, 2012
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Forgot NEW
by: Edward

Forgot to say Michael thanks for your email but a gremlin got in my account while I was on the road and sent spam to contacts so I darent answer you.

I think Ill have to start a new one to be safe.

Leanne man you are a glamorous grannie in your wellies with your lovely smile and Im sorry I made you blush (not really sorry lol but my wife said I have to say it)

Ed


Jan 06, 2012
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i’m blushing now!! NEW
by: leanne

ruth just sent this to me and its made me blush, however i’ll let you off as i’m in the middle of a pile of paperwork that was supposed to be finished before the end of the year(nobody said which year!) and once again you’ve made me laugh. thank you again for your kindness it means an awful lot to an old granny!!


Jan 06, 2012
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Thanks man NEW
by: Edward

Thanks man best you send it to Ruth cos if I got to Kays Hill and saw the lovely Leanne in her bejewelled wellies Id be no more good.

I hope it helps them a bit.

Ive never got paid for writing before I cant get over it.

Ed


Jan 06, 2012
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Thank you NEW
by: Ruth

That’s wonderful, Ed you are a star !

Thanks Michael as a cheque for Kays Hill is on it’s way too from Sylvia Ann in the USA so I can bank and cash both together and hand it over. I’m sure Kevin and Leanne will be grateful.

I’m happy to be able to send mine to Martha as I promised her a good while ago if I ever got any extra I’d do so.

Far Place will be grateful too I know after all their troubles with the gale force winds here blowing buildings down.

A HUGE thank you to Michael for making it possible for us to help others this way.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Jan 05, 2012
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Update NEW
by: Michael

Just a quick note to say that I will be paying to the charities selected by contributor tomorrow all being well (my bank has failed to send me a new cheque book!). I waited until after the Christmas period to be sure post got through as it is unreliable in the UK at the best of times.

Babz wants her $20 to go to FARPLACE ANIMAL RESCUE by cheque. Ruth wants hers to go to Martha Kane in Malta and Ed asked for his to go to Kays Hill. I’ll send the Kays Hill money to Ruth for forwarding on.

This is just an update.


Dec 14, 2011
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Done
by: Michael

Hi, I have built the page. The home page link is “Cat Guardianship” and all the articles in the comments have been used verbatim. I simply added paragraphs on occasion to make the text visually more friendly. The page is headed “cat behavior explained” as that is a keyword. As I say on the page cat behavior is about our expectations and behavior + common sense and empathy.

Everyone will be paid $20 or equivalent. Please contact me as to how you would like this paid.

Thanks for your contributions. I really like what has been written. It is very real and shows how we are the major players in respect of cat behavior.

[Michael]


Dec 12, 2011
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Great job, Ed!
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

Edward, I don’t think Michael should change a single word from what you have written. You are a good writer, because you have your own voice and it flows. Not everyone who is a scholar can write like you can. I like your sense of humor also. You may be able to reach people through your writing that the best scholarly writer could not. What you write is easy to understand. You also mentioned all the important things people need to know when adopting a cat.


Dec 12, 2011
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To Edward
by: Ruth

Ed you are so funny ! Who cares about grammar, it’s not important at all.

Glad you enjoyed your pint lol

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Dec 12, 2011
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Sorry about granmar
by: Edward

Man sorry about my grammar and I only remembered to put a ‘ in one dont

Told you Im no scholar lol

Ed

By I enjoyed that pint


Dec 11, 2011
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What I know about cats
by: Edward

Well now I can speak from over 40 years of experience with cats as when me and my twin sister were born our parents had 4 so we always had cats in our life and knew no different.

The secret of having happy and good cats is simply that its best to have a relaxed household.

You have to understand that cats are not kids and our parents didnt treat them like they did us kids because they wouldnt have liked it.

Cats are not people so shouldnt be expected to behave as we do.

We had to learn right from wrong and how people have to behave for others to accept us but cats are different.

You have to accept that cats are cats and behave by their instinct not by their thoughts like we do.

So if we were rough with a cat and got scratched it was our fault as wed got told to be nice and not pester the cats.

Our mam said she never left us alone with the cats until we proved we were responsible enough to treat them right.

Its not cats that need to learn how to behave its kids because then they grow up into sensible independant adults. Cats always have to rely on people to look after them all their life.

We grew up respecting cats and they loved us and we loved them and we both have our own cats in our own homes since we grew up.

Shouting at cats is no good and I get annoyed when people say you should hit them or even squirt water as I think what a miserable life it is for a cat frightened of their people. People who say give them time out like some teach kids dont know much about cats as cats dont know what time out is for. You can tell a kid what hes done wrong and not to do it again but you have to actually show a cat what not to do. If you hurt them they dont know why, I don’t think anyone should hurt kids or cats.

Like I said you only need to show a cat what to do, like where to scratch, if you dont get them a scratching post what can you expect them to scratch on? They have to scratch to keep their body fit and to keep their claws healthy as well.

If you dont want them to go on certain places lift them off and they learn where they can or cant go.

Another thing is that cats dont show their feelings of illness like people show theirs so you have to know if they are not acting like they usually do there is something wrong.

They cant tell us they get lonely if we leave them too long so we need to remember not to do that and if we have to go away we must get someone we trust to look after them.

If they cant go out because its too dangerous then they must have things to stop them living a life of boredom. They need a lot of our attention. No one should have a cat if they cant give him or her a cats life of happiness and love and attention. No one in countries where declawing is legal should have a cat if they dont like their claws because cats claws are not negotiable, they are essential and taking them off them is very cruel.

Ed

(Man I need a pint after writing all that)


Dec 10, 2011
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Ill have a try
by: Edward

Man Im no scholar but Ill have a try to write a bit as Ive been with cats since I was born.

Ed


Dec 09, 2011
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Hi
by: Michael

Firstly thanks a lot. We have some v.good stuff here.

I have let the comments build up. That is why I have not been here for a while.

To Kay Zirkel: Please write a full comment (on this page) on your thoughts about cat behavior. They will be your thoughts and not out of a text book but based on experience! I look forward to it. I will publish it on the new page and pay as described.

To Ed: I would like to hear your thoughts too. It does not matter if you feel that you can’t write well. I can improve it a bit if it requires it.

To Grahame: Thanks for the comment about the existing page. The existing page on behavior is very detailed and long. I am looking to add another page based on the personal views of experienced cat people. The intention is to have 2 pages as this is a very big and important core subject.

Best
Michael


Dec 09, 2011
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3 cat ladies
by: Edward

Three great contributions there from three great cat ladies.
Sorry Im no writer or Id have a go.
Ill look forward to the new article anyway when its wrote,
for all the old one is good its always better to refresh stuff.
Ed


Dec 06, 2011
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“If it ain’t broke, why ‘fix’ it?”
by: Grahame

Michael, your existing cat behaviour article (which I have just re-read) is wonderful and very well written. Why change it? “If it ain’t broke, why ‘fix’ it?”


Dec 05, 2011
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My contribution
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

“What’s my motivation?”You might hear an actor or actress ask this question when trying to get into character. It’s a good question. We all have things that motivate us: we desire things like food and rest, but we also desire to be loved, to acquire possessions, or to have a good time. Understanding what motivates a person can be a key to understanding his or her behavior. So what motivates cats? I would say, quite often, it is the desire to hunt and kill something. Cat behavior is in reality the behavior of a predator, for he is one of nature’s best predators. The wonder and miracle is that these fierce little creatures will condescend to share our homes with us. This does not mean that house cats are not predators. You cannot totally take that wild element from cats, even if you take their claws. They are still hunters, but hunters without their natural weapons. Declawing a cat will undoubtedly cause psychological damage, because their claws are so much a part of their essential nature.

My message to those who would understand cat behavior is to look always to a cat’s place in the wild, for what he is there is what he still is even when he is sleeping on your bed at night. Responsible cat caretakers will keep this in mind. A variety of toys are needed to provide stimulation for inside only cats. Scratching posts of various heights and sizes should be provided. If a cat is allowed outside, cat enclosures are a good option. Some cats will tolerate a leash and harness. I believe it is good for cats to experience the outdoors, so long as they are safe doing so.

When outside in our fenced yard with my cat Monty, I will often scare away potential prey. This causes him to look at me as if I am hopelessly stupid. I must confess, I have not always been quick enough to prevent Monty from taking the life of a bird. (This has happened frequently enough that my sister has taken to calling him “Killer.”) His killing of birds is where our differing motivations come into conflict. Monty played out his role as predator perfectly, and though I couldn’t bring myself to praise him for it, I did not scold him.

But I took the reminder to heart: A cat is not a throw pillow. He is not just something to snuggle and hold on the cold winter nights. He is a predator by nature and will always be a predator, no matter how pampered or well fed. It would be much easier to possess a furry little throw pillow, but it would be far less interesting. We can learn from our cats if we are willing to treat them as cats by respecting that their motivations and drives are at times quite different from our own.


Dec 05, 2011
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My attempt
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

The key to understanding a cat is to realise that what is bad behavior in a human is not the same in a cat.A new cat caretaker may have different expectations about a kitten.Encouraging him to play rough by rolling him over and tickling his tummy may be amusing but it gives the wrong message to the kitten.When he grows up he will be confused as to why it is wrong to bite and kick his human family’s hands and feet.Stop a kitten from biting inappropriately by silently distracting him.Have cat toys handy and put one gently by his mouth or throw it for him to chase.When he grabs the toy, praise him saying his name.He soon learns that bad behavior brings silence, good behavior brings praise.To stop him scratching a person or the furniture, follow the same rule.Silently lift him to his scratching post and praise him saying his name when he uses it.It’s easy to show a kitten how to do that by dragging your own nails down while he watches, then gently guide his front legs up the post until he digs in his claws.Scratching is not bad behavior in a cat, it is necessary behavior.He will soon learn that using his own furniture brings him praise.Cats need consistency and routine.Gently lifting him down from places he won’t be allowed when he is bigger teaches him if he goes there he will be removed.Punishment is unkind and pointless.The cat only becomes nervous of the person punishing him.They learn by kindness and patience.A mother cat keeps her kittens under control by carrying them by the scruff of their necks but a human should never pick up a kitten or a cat by the scruff unless in an emergency and there is no other way to handle him.A cat’s whole body needs support on being picked up.Reach down with both hands and hold him with one while making a seat with the other,always slowly and gently.Cats should never be lifted by their front legs, the whole weight of their body on those legs can cause dislocation of the joints.Although cats have been domesticated for thousands of years now, they still have their wild instincts deep inside and a threatened or frightened cat will naturally lash out.It’s wrong to praise a cat if he catches a mouse, yet to show displeasure if he catches a bird.He doesn’t know that although most people dislike mice, they admire birds.Even well fed cats have the hunting instinct.It’s Nature’s way of ensuring the survival of the fittest.A cat needs food and water in a regular place, a warm bed and the love and understanding of his human family.He likes attention and fun and games but he also likes to sleep in peace and should be allowed to do so.Children need to learn to handle a kitten gently and to respect when he wants to sleep that they should leave him alone.A cat needs privacy for his toileting needs, his litter tray should be placed in a quiet corner and nowhere near the place he is normally fed.Cats hate to be laughed at but they love it if you laugh with them and soon learn how to create a happy atmosphere in the home.


Dec 05, 2011
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My contribution
by: Barbara

From the moment you decide to take a kitten or cat into your family the way you think must change. Even deciding if you should choose a kitten or a grown cat is huge, for example do you have the time and patience to care for a kitten who doesn’t sleep the appx 16 hrs a day that adult cats do? Kittens have bursts of energy and play quite violently and then fall asleep instantly only to awake shortly after and do it all over again, and this is day and night, so if you think that maybe you couldn’t cope with behavior that compares with the terrible two’s in human babies then you should consider adopting an older cat past this stage. Another important issue to think about is do you have the patience to teach your cat right from wrong in a gentle and tolerant way? By this I mean that although cats are extremely intelligent they may not readily accept your house rules, so if you decide for example that there will be no scratching of furniture and your cat decides that in fact the sofa is ideal for the purpose of stretching muscles in the paws, legs and back and shedding claw shards have you the patience to repeatedly show your cat where he should be performing these exercises without resorting to surgically amputating his toe ends as a short cut to training? Having made your decision and brought into the family your new feline member you now have to forever “think cat” and that is to look at every aspect of your home and decide if it is cat safe. This includes open windows, can they be guarded in some way so that your cat cannot accidentally fall out while trying to catch a housefly or a bird outside the window. Are wires to electrical appliances safely tucked away from tiny paws and mouths that know nothing of electrical shocks? Can you train yourself and your family not to step backwards without checking for a furry figure sitting behind you? Do you know which house and garden plants are safe and which are poisonous to cats? This knowledge could mean life or death to your cat.You should also decide if your cat will be a member of the family with full rights to enjoy home comforts. Will he be allowed access to the lounge and bedroom? Some people think allowing cats onto beds is unclean, my opinion is I am honoured when my cat chooses to crawl into bed and into my arms, such moments are beautiful and show perfectly how much trust he has in me to allow me to hold him in the vulnerability of his sleep.I guess the true cat lover realises that most of the adapting will be done by the humans, we are the ones that choose to adopt the cat, we know that cats are animals with instincts for different behavior to us, we know that cats have claws and teeth, we know they need regular grooming, play, a bed, access to clean water, litter, quality food and veterinary attention, in fact in the UK our Animal Welfare law quite rightly demands this so in the end the most important thing to consider is can you provide the cat with everything he needs, wants and deserves?


Dec 04, 2011
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Cat Behavior Article
by: Kay Zirkel@ Serenity Farm, Benton City, WA.USA

Hi Michael, I would like to give this a try. I only have one house cat. ( Hershey Coco ) But I do have about 20 ” out door Farm cats” Their numbers change as moms are spayed and dads are neutered and kittens are placed in new homes and drop offs and dumps arrive. Some are tame and some are very feral. But all are welcome. From this group I have gleaned quite an education on several layers of behavior. If any of this is of any help let me know, Thanks Kay


Dec 03, 2011
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I’ll have a try
by: Ruth

I would like to have a try at this but I don’t know if it would be suitable as I think you (and everyone else) know that in my eyes cats can do no wrong. So I wouldn’t be at all offended if it’s not what you want.
I’ve loved cats all my life but even having worked with them as a vet nurse, volunteered with them since I was around 15 years old and lived with them for 37 years now, I’m still learning about them and loving them more and more.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Dec 02, 2011
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Important point about correct expectations
by: Valley Girl

Hi Michael, I don’t have enough experience with many cats to write such an article. But, I do think you are absolutely correct about this:

~For example, I think that correct expectations from us are important as people with the correct expectations do not see normal cat behavior as problem behavior which is how it is sometimes described.~

Clawing of furniture would be one example– especially for an indoor cat. One of the ways that cats remove the older layers of claws is to claw on things. All of my collection of shed cat claws comes from Tootsie’s cat claw towers, or nearby.

A cat’s gotta do what a cat’s gotta do. Like take care of their claws.

A very few times Tootsie tried clawing furniture, or the bed springs. I’d just remove her, and say “no, you don’t want to do that”, and take her to the cat tower, where she got ample reinforcement for clawing. Oh, good kitty! What a good girl! etc.

No more attempts to claw furniture.

The cat tower (surrounded with carpet) worked because it suited Tootsie. Other cats seem to like corrugated cardboard claw pads. Or sisal rope. So, it’s also a matter of figuring out what suits the cat.


Dec 02, 2011
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Au contraire, it is human behavioural problems…
by: Grahame

It’s really too bad that we cannot get articles from the cats themselves on the topic of human behavioural problems as experienced by domestic cat companion animals.

You know by now that my take on these things, on long experience with many cat companions, is that human behaviour influences the cat behaviour and sets the tone. In over 65 years of living with cats, I have yet to experience what might be called a feline behavioural problem.


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